Sunday, October 27, 2013

Decorating Pumpkins with Young Children

Young children like to decorate pumpkins too. Carving a pumpkin however can be very dangerous for young children. Here is my rule of thumb, if the child can use scissor correctly and cut some of their own foods, then they can carve a pumpkin. If the child is too young for scissors then they are too young to carve the pumpkin BUT this doesn't mean the child can't have fun with the pumpkin.

Depending on what your child likes to do should tailor how to decorate the pumpkin. Generally the child helps to clean the pumpkin out and draws the face with a marker or crayon. The parent does all the cutting on the pumpkin.

My youngest child however never liked to clean the pumpkin out. Drawing on the pumpkin was never much fun for him either; he just wanted it to be funny or scary looking. For him getting some glow in the dark paints was the answer. With a lot of newspaper or plastic to cover everything including the child's clothes, paint the pumpkin with glow in the dark paints. If the child want a certain design. Draw the design on the pumpkin with a bold permanent marker. Then have the child paint the design.

Another great deign is to allow the kids to completely cover the pumpkin in glow in the dark paint. Let them go crazy and cover the pumpkin any way they want. Then you can carve the face out of the pumpkin. This way the outside shell will glow in the dark. Place a different color light inside the pumpkin to make the eyes glow a different color.

There are knives made for children for cutting pumpkins. The knives are not as sharp as the kitchen knives and they often have a thinker handle. The thinker handle give the child more to grip on. Parents may need to help start the knife into the pumpkin but the child can then cut out their own shape. This can be safely done with adult supervision.

Children can also do the tracing of the pattern and let the parents do the cutting. Many pattern books with have a wheel with teeth. The wheel is used to make little hole in the pumpkin while tracing the pattern. This is a safe step the child can do. Depending on how detailed the design is, there may be too much for a young child to do all alone. Just take turn tracing out different parts of the pattern.

All children can have fun decorating pumpkins and making Jack-O-Lanterns. They will need the help and guidance of a parent but this will make a lifelong memory for both. So don’t skip that pumpkin patch this year. Even if you do truck or treating the pumpkins can be decorated around the car and bring joy to the children as they get to show off their designs.