As a mom and former teacher, my favorite projects are the ones that are open ended and really celebrate the process over the final product. These too often require minimal prep. It’s an added bonus when they’re practically guaranteed to be beautiful as well. This is my favorite Autumn and Halloween project to do with preschoolers!

Examining Pumpkins

When pumpkins are starting to appear & become a topic of conversation, take the time to talk with your child about their textures, colors, shades & shapes. No two pumpkins are ever the same, but every one is special. You can even put pumpkins in the sensory table to explore the insides of them. This is also a fun time to read Spookley The Square Pumpkin.

Exploring Paint Textures

Set your children up with a large, thick piece of paper, cardboard or poster board. Put out an assortment of paintbrushes, sponges, corks, duplo legos, trucks with big wheels, mini pumpkins, and anything that could create interesting textures in paint. Give them about 3-5 materials to choose from.

Pour two puddles of washable paint, red and yellow, in the middle of the paper. Let the children experiment and see what they can create. They’ll love seeing the red & yellow turn different shades of orange. Ask open ended questions such as, “What color did you create?” or, “What does it look like when you roll the pumpkin in the paint?” Encourage imagination as they experiment with the texture. And remember, it’s okay to get a little messy. Keep it fun with only one rule, “Stay at the art table until you are all done with the project.”

Turn it into a Pumpkin Halloween Project

As the paint is drying have the children help you rip pieces of black construction paper for the next step. When he paint has dry, cut out freeform round shapes to resemble pumpkins. Along side the scraps of black construction paper, set out a few googly eyes and glue sticks (or glue & paint brushes). Again, let the children create their art however they wish. It doesn’t have to look like a jack-o-lantern and the eyes don’t have to be at the top. The result is a beautiful, festive, and unique masterpiece.

Parents and nannies, get creative and have fun this Halloween. You can also try making a puffy paint ghost, bat Halloween project, witch on a paper plate, or even offer a festive sensory bin! Remember that children learn through their senses and offering activities they can do with their hands gives them many ways to explore the world around them. And don’t forget to ask questions and join in on the fun!

About The Author

Claire S. Nanny Recruiter Claire Sherba is a nanny recruitment specialist. She finds and interviews highly qualified nanny candidates for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. Claire has worked with young children and their families for nearly two decades, both as a private nanny and as a classroom teacher. She studied early childhood education at City College of San Francisco, and holds an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, reading, cooking & photography.