It’s pumpkin season and a great time to do fun pumpkin activities with your little pumpkin. Halloween may be a bit over your baby’s head this year and exposing babies to some of the frightful scenes and sounds of the holiday may be too scary for her, but there are still plenty of fun ways to celebrate the holiday with the gourd of the season: pumpkins!
Babies learn by using their senses and having the opportunity to explore the world around them. This Halloween season, incorporate pumpkins into playtime for a festive and exciting time. Here are 7 ideas of sensory activities that can engage your pumpkin with pumpkins:
Play with Pumpkins: You may see a decorative gourd, but to your baby, pumpkins can be fun toys and musical instruments. Collect a few small pumpkins and use them as a sort of ball. Roll them around on the floor and let your baby try to chase after them. If she’s not crawling yet, put them in front of her during tummy time and try to get her to reach for them. The bright orange color will be an enticing way for her to stretch towards a goal. You can also set up several larger pumpkins like a drum set and let baby tap them with her hands or rhythm sticks. Rock on, little pumpkin!
Hunt for Pumpkins: If your baby is mobile, hide miniature pumpkins (or even plastic, cardboard or cut-out pumpkins) around your playroom or back yard and let baby try to find them. Collect them in a basket and when she’s done finding them all, count them together. Counting objects that your baby proudly found is a good introduction to numbers and counting.
Decorate a Pumpkin: Carving with sharp knives around babies – probably not a great idea. But letting a baby decorate her own pumpkin – brilliant! If your little one enjoys your help while coloring, use markers to decorate a pumpkin together. You can also decorate pumpkins with stickers. Peeling stickers is a great fine motor skill exercise for babies to practice. If she’s not quite able to peel them herself, hand her the stickers and help her place them on the pumpkin. The stickiness will feel interesting on her fingers and she can make decisions about where to place each one.
Dress Up Like Pumpkins: What’s cuter than a pumpkin as a pumpkin? Not much! This time of year, pumpkin onesies or costumes are easy to come by. Or you can make your own using an orange shirt, black felt and a green hat for a stem. Better yet, hollow out a pumpkin and set your baby inside for an adorable holiday photo. You can also cut out leg holes for larger babies. Your baby may get a kick out of seeing mom and dad in their pumpkin costumes too!
Dig into a Pumpkin: You have surely experienced by now your baby’s longing to touch everything in site. The slimy, stringy inside of a pumpkin is a pretty cool sensation. Cut off the top and let your baby dig right in with her hands. We bet she’ll love making a mess and you’ll get some hysterical pictures along the way.
Taste a Pumpkin: What better way for baby to learn about pumpkins than tasting them? If you have introduced solids, let your baby feast on scrumptious pumpkin foods throughout the month. They can be as simple as pumpkin purée or pumpkin and apple purée, if you’ve just begun with blended solids. If your baby is older and has a more adventurous pallet, try roasted pumpkin chunks, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin pudding. Not only is pumpkin delicious, it also has great nutrients and fiber for your baby.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch: Use pumpkin season as an excuse for a fun family outing to a pumpkin patch. You can stroll your baby through vineyards to see how pumpkins grow and pick out your own pumpkin to take home for all the fun activities you have planned. Many pumpkin patches designed for families also have hay rides, games, petting zoos and other exciting new things for your baby to see and do.
We hope you enjoy all of these pumpkin activities. Have a wonderful Halloween with your little pumpkin!