Easy NO MESS Pumpkin Carving

no mess pumpkin carving for kids It takes a lot of skill to carve a pumpkin, it also takes a very sharp knife. Two things that young children don’t often have. I am all for giving children tools they can use to create what they want to create and in a few days I will be carving two HUGE pumpkins with my children’s help but neither of them are ready to do it solo yet. They were ready to help me design and cut out the foam pieces, and pop them on to the pumpkins. Not only does this easy no mess pumpkin carving craft let kids decorate them themselves, they also get to make something that would be very tricky even for me to do with a knife. Like a Minecraft creeper or princess. A huge bonus for us is that these pumpkins won’t mold before Halloween!

Gather your materials. You will need some sticky back foam, scissors, and pumpkins. You may also want a tray to pop all the face pieces in. We decided what we wanted to make ( classic Jack-O-Lantern, princess, ghost, and creeper) before we picked out our pumpkins but you can do it anyway you want.no mess pumpkin carving for kids

Cut out the shapes you need for the faces and pop them in a tray.no mess pumpkin carving for kids and toddlers

Start creating.no mess pumpkin carving for children In a classroom I would have all sorts of face pieces available with zero pre-planned designs. no mess pumpkinsMy kids and I thought this activity up together so they had ideas set before we made the shapes. Have a mix of everything if you are doing this with a group.no mess creeper pumpkin

Peeling the backing off and placing the sticky foam is not without worth, it uses fine motor skills and takes concentration to place it properly.no mess ghost pumpkins

My son was thrilled to find a green pumpkin to make his creeper.no mess creeper jack-o-lantern

And look NO MESS!no mess pumpkin carving for kids & toddlers

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links to items used ( or very similar items) in the tutorial above.
Sticky-Back Glitter Foam
Sticky Back Foam Sheets

Easy Painting Activities For Toddlers

art ideas for toddlers I was digging through my own archives the other night as I was lesson planning for my preschool class and found a bunch of posts I’d forgotten about. I found exactly what I needed for my lesson plans and decided to share some of what I found with you as well. These easy painting activities for toddlers are all great for children who are just starting to explore with art. They are open ended, easy to do with one or 10 kids, and let children explore. For more art ideas for toddlers ( and big kids) make sure you are following us on Pinterest and Facebook! 

Do you have a favorite art activity to do with toddlers? Link it up or tell me about it in comments. My children aren’t toddlers anymore but I am always looking for new ideas for my classroom.

art activities for toddlers

Cork Printing
Fly Swatter Painting
Baby Block Painting
Painting with Bugs

toddler painting activities for daycare
Sponge Painting
Pumpkin Printing
Letter Cookie Cutter Printing
Bath Poof Painting

easy painting ideas for toddlers
Splat Painting
Toy Track Painting
Cookie Cutter Prints
Garden Vegetable Printing

toddler printing and painting ideas for preschool
Pot Scrubber Painting
Rubber Duckie Printing
Feather Painting
Painting With Water

painting ideas for young toddlers
Animal Track Paintings
Glass Sponge Painting 
Potato Masher Painting
Painting With Sound

Fall Art For Kids – Pom Pom Tree

autumn leaves art I love using contact paper for murals. I did zero instruction during this fall art for kids activity. My daughter counted pom poms, called out colors, and even noticed the size difference of the pom poms. Your child may not label all this learning and verbally clue you into what they are learning but trust me they aren’t just mindlessly adding them. They notice the different textures, they connect the colors to the changing colors outside ( our maple tree is already home to many red leaves), and they create! They are learning even when we don’t say a word.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape, pom poms in fall leaf colors in various sizes if possible, and something to pop them in.

fall mural pom pom tree

Start by attaching the contact paper to a wall or window. pom pom sticky wall fall tree

Draw a bare tree on it with a permanent marker. fall pom pom tree for preschool mural

Place the pom poms where your child can reach them and invite them to create.

pom pom fall tree for preschool

She invited her dad to play too.  fall pom pom tree family activityThey played a game where he’d give her a number and she’d add that many pom poms. fall pom pom tree for kids

After  while I was cooking dinner she took them all off noting that the pom poms left “fuzz prints” but only if they were stuck on for ” a little bit of a long time”. She was right when I tried to make the fuzz prints just by placing and removing a pom pom right away it didn’t work. Loved these observations. pom pom tree deconstruction

 

Books About Fall Leaves

All our book lists include affiliate links.

leaf man lois elhert

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert  will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.

Leaf Jumpers

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a beautifully illustrated , informative book that all all about leaves in autumn. It’s not the most exciting book but is a good teaching resource and tool when you are teaching your child about the changing seasons.  I can’t say this is a must read, but it’s useful and worth a look at your local library and will probably make you and your children want to jump in a few giant piles of leaves!

When_Autumn_Falls

When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too.  Cute book for this time of year.

Homemade Bubble Solution and Whisk Bubble Wands

homemade bubble solutionThis was a completely kid directed activity. While I was finishing up a conference call my daughter was digging through the kitchen drawers and found her whisks. These were bought for her to play with and as I hung up she showed me that she had opened them up to make flowers. Immediately I said to her ” do you know what I think we could use those for?”

“Bubbles!” was her response and I was giddy to see that we were on the same page. I dug through my pantry to see if we had any corn syrup to make the bubble solution I used to make in day camps 400 years ago. It was hiding behind the cookies that I had hidden behind the pasta.

Here is my NOT AT ALL precise recipe for homemade bubble solution.

homemade bubble solution using stuff you have in your kitchen

1 tablespoon of corn syrup
1/4 cup of dish soap
fill the rest of the measuring up ( 2 cups) with warm water and stir.

homemade bubble potion

I made the first batch myself but she helped with the second.

whisk bubbles

She LOVED this. The bubbles weren’t great to blow out of the whisks but if you dipped them in and then waved your arms and they made huge big bubbles.bubbles collage

She practiced and sometimes they were little , but sometimes they were huge. What I adored about this incredibly simple activity is that she was attacking it like an experiment ( with zero input from me to suggest she should) and tried to recreate the big bubbles by following what worked and avoiding the actions that resulted in the little bubbles. big bubbles

Painting With Dolls

fun art for kids It was raining cats and dogs and we’d already read a stack of books and watched more PBS kids than I care to admit when I decided to steal this idea from my own preschool teachers Fran and Gumti. I loved it when they would roll out the paper and we could choose one of the plastic baby dolls to “walk” along it leaving prints. This painting with dolls activity is timeless because many decades later my daughter loved it. This is also a great adaptation for painting with kids feet if a child doesn’t want to use their own feet. Many kids hate the feeling of getting paint on their feet so having an option of doing it with a doll instead is a way to include everyone.

Gather your materials. You will need some dolls with plastic feet, a long roll of paper ( if you have extra wrapping paper you can use the inside of it), liquid tempra, some painter’s tape, a towel that can get paint on it, a paper plate or two, and a shallow bowl with soapy water. painting with dolls

Tape your paper down. Strip the dolls down and get the water and towel ready at the end of the paper.painting with dolls clean up

Dip the dolly’s feet in the paint.painting with doll feet in preschool

Walk the dolly across the paper.painting with dolls for preschool

Wash and dry and grab a new dolly. wiping dolly feet

She had to hold this dolly differently dolly paintingand it required much more concentration to keep her upright.baby doll painting for toddlers

She loved cleaning their feet and pretending to be a mama.dolly feet

After two dolls she asked for a brush and painted. That is what I love about doing planned activities, they almost always end in a new kid directed one as an add on. If I suggested painting to her she wouldn’t have done it but to just let her add on to this she did. Do what works for your kids but this always have for mine.painting with dolls extention activity

Books About Dolls

All book lists contain affiliate links.

corduroy

Corduroy by Don Freeman was a childhood favorite of mine and my son loves it too. The story is about a lonely bear at a department store who despite being a little disheveled finds a forever home with a kind little girl who needs him as much as he needs her. There are so many levels to this book, as a child I remember being awed by the thought of toys coming alive in stores when the doors are locked and the shoppers leave. As an adult I see this as a touching adoption story . My son loves the escalators Corduroy travels on in the store ! This is another book that has lasting power and can be read for years in your home.

the paper princess