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