While talented at needle point, I only can do a basic back stitch when it comes to real sewing. So, crafts I can make for my kids that are no-sew are highly appealing. A few years ago, Nick Jr ran an activity making a pillow of a character out of felt with matching facial features to make different expressions. It relies on the property of felt to easily stick to itself rather than the fancy sewing required for buttons and snaps often used in all those gorgeous quite time books on Pinterest. Not only is it easy to make and fun to play with, but it is a wonderful jumping off place to discuss emotions with children. While the jack o’lantern is a fall / Halloween theme, you can easily make the craft with a snowman or regular face to use different times of year.
What You Need:
Paper and pencil (optional)
What to Do:
A toddler could help glue and stuff the pumpkin; a Kindergartener supervised with sharp scissors could help cut out some shapes.
- Template your pumpkin shapes on paper. Cut out. Trace on orange felt. Cut out.
- Template any complex mouth shapes on paper. Cut out. Trace on black felt. Cut out.
- Cut out of black felt simple shapes like circles, triangles, squares, etc. for the eyes and nose choices.
- Glue two orange pumpkins around the outer edge 90% of the way around. Let dry.
- Once dry, stuff pumpkin with batting (or cotton balls).
- Glue the opening of the pumpkin shut. If necessary, you could use a clothespin or binder clip to help clamp it shut.
- Cut out stem from green felt. You can choose to glue it on or make adding and removing it part of the game.
- Make a face with you pumpkin and ask your child to copy it. Or, make an expression with your real face and ask your child copy it. Take turns back and forth.
- Ask your child how the pumpkin is feeling when he creates a face, or ask him to arrange the pieces for that particular emotion.
- Transcribe a story your child tells about the pumpkin. You could start by prompting, “Why is your pumpkin feeling …? What made him feel …?”
- Read some books about pumpkins. There are many out there. Try: Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz, It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills, Pumpkin Day Pumpkin Night by Anne F Rockwell, or Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas.
- Sing Five Little Pumpkins. If you have a group of five kids, you could even put on a mini play!
- Talk about shapes. You could deliberately make shapes you are studying for the eyes and nose.
- Talk about size. You can make many shapes ranging in size. You can ask your child to arrange them in sequence. Ask your child to make a nose with the smallest triangle, for example.
- Read a book about emotions. Check out: My Many Colored Days by Dr Suess , Duck and Goose: How Are You Feeling by Tad Hills, The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too by Mo Willems, or Feelings by Aliki (an old Reading Rainbow title).
- Find pictures of jack o’lanterns and try to mimic the expressions.
- Play with pumpkin seeds. You can make art with them, count them, cook them, or plant them.
- Eat some pumpkin flavored treats. Even better if your child can help you make them.
- Go pumpkin picking at a pumpkin patch, and then carve or otherwise decorate your real pumpkin!