A great fine motor and sensory experience for kids is making pumpkin stamps. They can dip them in paint or like we did, an ink pad, and stamp the shapes onto paper. The pumpkin smells amazing as they are stamping, and they are learning to hold the pieces of pumpkin and manipulate them to stamp. This is great skill building for fine motor development.
Its pumpkin explore time at Little Sprouts and we are learning all kinds of things about pumpkins and the color orange. We even practiced making orange play dough from yellow and red play dough. Good times!
We had a little pie pumpkin on the porch that was rotten on the bottom, so I cut the bottom off and cut the rest of the flesh into different shapes. First I cut the pumpkin into wedges, then I cut the wedges into smaller pieces. Then I trimmed the sides off the shape to make it into a triangle, square, or rectangle. You could do any shape you want. Then I carefully sliced the pulp side off as straight as I could making it smooth and pulp free so it would make good contact for the stamping.
While I cut the pumpkin, we talked about the smell, the color, the gooey feel. The kids are learning all kinds of things from exploring the pumpkin. When you get ready to stamp with the pumpkin shapes, you can stick a fork in the back side of the pumpkin to make a handle, or you can let them use the pieces directly.
The kids talked about what shape they were using as they stamped and we talked about our ink being orange and the pumpkin being orange. We counted how many stamps we made and how many times we stamped them and after their papers dried, they talked about the shapes and colors of the prints they made with their parents when they picked them up. They spontaneously talked about color, shapes, and counting on their own.
This is what I mean when I tell people that we learn in an informal way. It’s called fun! Kids are spontaneous learners, it comes naturally. When kids are allowed to learn in this way, they learn better than when we try to force them to learn by quizzing them or using flash cards.
This is an open ended creative art project. The kids are not given an example or expectations of what their art is supposed to look like. It is their creation and it can become whatever they want it to be. Please keep in mind that when the focus is put on the product or perfect representation of something the adult expects, children’s self-esteem is damaged because their self image rests in what the adult expects of them. However, open ended art focuses on the process of what they are making instead of the product that results. Children are empowered by this type of experience. They are free to be in control of their own skills and they have fun as well. They are successful!
Next week we are going to make pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie out of our other pie pumpkins. I can’t wait! What is your favorite way to use pumpkin?