Get creative with pumpkins this fall.

Pumpkin Crafts & Games for Kids

by Victoria Georgoff

Few things are more symbolic of fall than a pumpkin. While you may already have a yearly tradition of carving pumpkins, there is much more fun to be had with these bright orange beauties. Whether you are throwing a Halloween party or are just looking for some at-home pumpkin play, there is no shortage of pumpkin-themed activities for you and your little one to enjoy.

1. Outdoor Games

If the weather cooperates, why not take to the backyard or park for some pumpkin activities to get your little one moving? A family pumpkin race will keep everyone entertained. Mark a finish line and give everyone a pumpkin; the first one to roll it over the finish line wins -- be sure to give your tot a small pumpkin that is easy for her to roll. A variation for older preschoolers is a pumpkin broom push; instead of using hands to roll the pumpkin, use a broom or sturdy stick to race to the finish line. Create a pumpkin hunt by hiding several small gourds and pumpkins around the yard for your kiddos to find; older preschoolers may get a kick out of taking a turn hiding them for you to find. A rousing game of pumpkin bowling is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Arrange empty 2-liter soda bottles in a pin formation, wind up and roll a small pumpkin at the target. To make the bottles more sturdy, add a small amount of gravel or dirt to the bottom.

2. Indoor Games

There is plenty of pumpkin fun to be had indoors as well. Cut a large pumpkin out of construction paper -- making a separate green stem -- and play "pin the stem on the pumpkin," a variation on a party favorite. Kids will love designing a Mr. Pumpkin Head. Break out the craft supplies and watch the creativity blossom. Kids can glue plastic eyes, pom-poms and feathers to decorate their pumpkins; adults can also poke holes in the pumpkins for kids to insert plastic eyes, nose, ears, mouth and feet to create a goofy Mr. Pumpkin Head. Play “hot pumpkin” by passing a small, easy-to-handle pumpkin around in a circle while the music plays. When the music stops, the child holding the pumpkin is out. The last one remaining in the circle is the winner of the game.

3. Pumpkin Songs

Singing pumpkin-themed songs is a fun and silly way to get your tyke excited about pumpkins. Make up your own actions to go with the songs to add an active component to the musical fun. Mr. Pumpkin Song (Tune: Where is Thumbkin) Mr. Pumpkin, Mr. Pumpkin, Round and fat, Round and fat. Harvest time is coming, Harvest time is coming. Yum, yum, yum. That is that! I’m a Little Pumpkin Song (Tune: I’m a little Teapot) I'm a little pumpkin Orange and round. Here is my stem, There is the ground. When I get all cut up, Don't you shout! Just open me up And scoop me out! Pumpkin Song (Tune: Have you Ever Seen a Lassie?) Have you ever seen A pumpkin, a pumpkin, a pumpkin, Have you ever seen A pumpkin that grows on a vine? A round one, a tall one, A bumpy one, a squashed one. Have you ever seen a pumpkin That grows on a vine?

4. Pumpkin Crafts

Enjoy pumpkin painting with your little Picasso; provide various colors of non-toxic paint and paintbrushes of different sizes. Your tot can paint faces, make animals, decorate it in hand prints or make an abstract masterpiece on his pumpkin. Create stamp art using small pumpkins or gourds; cut the pumpkin in half and let your child dip the cut side in paint and stamp it to make interesting pictures. While the paints are already out, help your kiddo make a paper plate pumpkin. Paint the back side of a paper plate orange and allow to dry. On a separate sheet of white paper, have your tyke make a green hand print. Cut the dry paper plate to look like a jack-o-lantern, or cut eyes, a nose and mouth out of black construction paper and paste on the plate. Cut around the green hand print and glue to the top of the plate to complete the pumpkin stem.

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