Monday, October 13, 2014

Toddler Crafts: Halloween Pumpkin

So I had the great privilege of nannying a sweet and precocious 2.5-year-old last autumn. Blue-eyed and curly haired, she was the kind of 2-year-old all mothers dream of having: beautiful, energetic, and very smart. It quickly became apparent to me that Hannah wasn't going to be content playing with the same toys and following the very same routine every day; I needed to find new and interesting things for us to make and discover together.

Ergo, I starting coming up with crafts for us to do together. I'm all about frugality, so I loved using materials that I either already had on hand or that are cheap and convenient to buy. I also needed each project to be toddler-friendly, something that could be completed before an eager little girl lost interest and without the prospect of incidental injury. I also found it helpful to theme our crafts around the seasons or upcoming holidays. Kids love holidays, right? And so do I! So, without further ado...

Halloween Pumpkin Craft
(for Toddlers!) 

 What You'll Need:

  • A new roll of toilet paper
  • Orange tissue paper
  • Green and black construction paper
  • Glue (or tape, if you prefer)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

For the pumpkin: Smooth out your tissue paper on a flat surface (I found that my particular sheet was large enough to fold in half). Place the toilet paper roll upright in the center of the rectangle (or square) of tissue paper. Starting with the center of one side, pull the tissue paper up against the side of the toilet paper roll and tuck the excess into the hole at the top. Continue to smooth the paper up against the roll and tuck it in the top until the whole roll is covered in paper. For a smoother look, you can pleat the tissue paper as you go.

For the stem: There are lots of different approaches here. You can fill in the top hole with a tuft of green or brown tissue paper if you have any handy. I personally like a more solid stem, so Hannah and I cut a long rectangle of green construction paper approximately 4 inches wide. We rolled it into a cylinder and put it into the hole at the top of our pumpkin to judge how thick we should make our stem. Once we determined the right fit, we glued the stem to size and put it back in the top hole. With the tissue paper packed around it, the stem didn't really need anything else to keep it in place. However, if you want a sturdy pumpkin, you can glue the stem to the cardboard toilet paper roll; you just need your paper cylinder to reach past the tucked tissue paper.

For the vines: Cut long, half inch strips of green construction paper. Place the end of a strip against the flat side of one of the scissor blades. With the end in one hand and your thumb keeping the paper in place against the scissors, pull the scissors up the length of the strip of paper (like you're curling  wrapping-paper ribbon!) Did you know construction paper curled like that? I had no idea. I like the effect, though. Glue or tape the vines to the stem (or if

All that is left is to cut out the jack-o-lantern features and glue them to the front of your pumpkin (meaning the smoothest part you can find, probably.) I let Hannah pick the shapes for the eyes and nose as well as how many teeth our jack-o-lantern mouth would have. She did an excellent job, n'est pas?

That's it! Our pumpkin Jack sat proudly on the mantel all the way into November, and we were awfully proud of him. You and your little one will be, too.

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