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October 25, 2012

Carving Pumpkins with Kids

Simple tips for carving pumpkins with kids...and enjoying it!

Tips and tricks for carving pumpkins with kids - ideas to make the whole process enjoyable.

Fall Activities for Kids - Carving Pumpkins

We FINALLY carved our pumpkins.  Of all our favorite fall activities for kids, this is a must do tradition.  I can't believe I put it off until the week before Halloween.  I was concerned about the mess and time involved.  I have no idea what I was worried about.  It was so EASY and so much FUN.  Now I know for the years to come!  In the past my husband was in charge of the pumpkin carving, and I never paid much attention.  This year I took charge and made it an event with all four boys.  Based on the fun we had, I wanted to share some tips and tricks for making it EASY and ENJOYABLE.

Tips for Carving Pumpkins with Kids

1.  Set the Stage
I carved the top before inviting the kids to join me outside.  This way the knife was out of sight and reach, and the pumpkins were ready to have their insides scooped out.  I put the pumpkins JZ (5) and J-Bug (3) chose from the pumpkin patch outside along with a few spoons (enough for each boy) and a bowl to collect the insides.

2.  Let the children take control
With the proper set up, the kids were free to get to work by themselves.  They grabbed the spoons and started digging out the inside of their pumpkins.

Tips and tricks for carving pumpkins with kids and how to make it enjoyable for the whole family.

3.  Encourage Working Together
In all we do I encourage sibling participation.  My older boys are accustomed to letting their baby brothers (15 months) "help" with their projects.  Having enough spoons for each kid eliminated fights and tears.  Peanut wanted to be right in the middle of it all.  He was so adorable trying to dig the pumpkin guts with JZ.

Siblings carving pumpkins together

4. Don't Rush
Enjoy the process, and let your little ones explore freely.  Tank played in the bowl of seeds the entire time.  He tasted one but spit it out.  He loved the gooey strings between his fingers and kept smiling at me with delight.  We carved our pumpkins on a day when we had no where else to be, so we could enjoy the whole process.

Exploring the insides of a pumpkin

5. Help When Asked
After awhile the boys got tired of scooping.  I didn't touch their pumpkins until asked, but once they requested my help I quickly took over and finished cleaning out the insides.  This helped them stay interested in the fun.  (The picture below isn't related to this tip.  It's just cute.)

Pumpkin sensory play for toddlers - how to carve pumpkins with young children

6. Expect a Mess
I specifically dressed all four boys in play clothes that morning, because I knew the chances of getting bits and pieces of orange goo all over them were great.  Here are tips and tricks for messy play as well as laundry tips for avoiding stains.

Carving pumpkins with toddlers - fall sensory play

7. Allow Children to Take Ownership of Their Designs
JZ drew his own with a sharpie.  J-Bug wanted me to do his.  Remind a child who draws his own to keep the design wide with straight angles for ease of cutting.

8. Carve in a Safe Space
Once the pumpkins were ready for carving I moved them to the dining room table.  I didn't want the little guys running around me while using the sharp knife.  I put the toddler duo in their high chairs with a snack.  The older two boys stood close and watched.

For more fall activities for kids follow me on Pinterest.

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More fall activities for kids:

The perfect playdough recipe in yummy fall scents and colors. How to make CANDY APPLE RICE for sensory play in yummy fall scents and colors:  no alcohol or vinegar needed! Homemade fall scented finger paints you can prepare in just two minutes!  These smell amazing and are so much fun for fall.  Omit the glitter, and they are baby and toddler safe.


  1. man, the one thing I do miss about not celebrating Halloween here is the pumpkin carving thing. Never done it and it looks so fun! Pumpkins are still pretty expensive here but I should try it some time! :)

  2. What a lovely shared experience for the children, each contributing at their level of understanding. Love it! :)

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head - expect mess!! I don't think there is really a way around it =-) But it's once a year, right!

    We are carving ours this weekend - I can't wait!
    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a GREAT weekend,
    Beth =-)

  4. I love the way you made this such a child-led and sensory experience for your kids! I featured your photo and post in my Montessori-Inspired Halloween Activities at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/10/16/montessori-inspired-halloween-activities/

  5. So much fun! I am jealous your kids would touch the pumpkins once the tops came off! Both of my 3.5 year old and 17 month old would not touch or help out in any way when we were scooping and carving. :(

  6. Aghh! Here we are two days before Hallowe'en and we still haven't carved ours! Your guys were really brave to get right into the ooey-gooey mess like that. Looks like they had a blast!

  7. This books sounds wonderful. I will have to look for it for JDaniel. It would be great to read just before we carve our pumpkin like you did.

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn. I am sharing this post on the Read.Explore.Learn. Facebook page tonight.

    1. I am going to feature this post on Read.Explore.Learn. tomorrow.

  8. Great tips! Love carving pumpkins with kids.. Thanks for linking to the Outdoor Play Party.

  9. Wonderful tips and reminders that when you sit back and enjoy the children enjoying themselves and forget about mess its so worthwhile!

  10. Hahaha I enjoyed browsing for these
    awesome Pumpkin
    Carving Ideas.
    I hope it’s fine with you that I could pin them on my Pinterest board. I’m so sure my followers would be happy to see these
    interesting photos. Keep sharing! :D


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