Crafting with…Pumpkins

Hello Readers!  Today’s topic is one that I could talk about for ages!  As I’ve mentioned in the last few posts, Fall is my favorite season.  And when I think of Fall, I think of the color-changing leaves and of pumpkins.  Now, pumpkins are extremely versatile for the average home.  Not only are they great for carving and for crafts, they are wonderful for eating and fantastic for learning.

And today, I’m going to touch on all of these rather than just on the decorating possibilities of pumpkins.  It’s all crafting with pumpkins because pumpkins are used in different ways, and their versatility is key here.  So, let’s start with the most obvious: the decorations.

Of course, we all know about jack ‘o lanterns, which is the most common use of pumpkins in October.  But, what if you have little kids, like my Sean, who just hit the 13 month mark?  It can be tricky to have carving tools like knives and saws around little kids, and you may be opening yourself up to injury.  But, there is a fantastic alternative: miniature pumpkins.  With some paint, such as Tempera paint or finger paint, you can let your little ones decorate a pumpkin as they please.

Of course, there may be some of you out there that don’t believe in celebrating Halloween or in highlighting the holiday, or you may want to avoid the scarier parts of the holiday, and that’s fine.  Instead of the typical face on the pumpkin, you can craft a nature scene, or a pattern like swirls and whatnot, or you can craft your kids’ favorite cartoon character with the pumpkin.  And, instead of using it in the typical way or just for Halloween, you can use it as a teaching tool to educate kids on the shadow effect or on light or fire.  It’s great for letting your kids see how light works or for letting your kids see their air come to life under light.

You can also use miniature pumpkins and gourds as name car holders at your Thanksgiving table in November, or you can paint or carve names into them for your settings.  These can be inexpensive yet festive ways to bring the season to your table, and your guests will love the ingenuity of the gourds at your table.

Which brings me to my next idea for pumpkins: the kitchen.  We all know about the modern day pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and we all love pumpkin seeds.  But, did you know that the original pumpkin pie more resembled the butternut squash soup than our favorite Thanksgiving dessert?  It’s true.  The original Colonial pumpkin pie was actually more of a pumpkin soup or stew served in the gourd itself, as Alton Brown described in his “American Classics: Pumpkin Pie” episode of Good Eats.  This savory dish is the perfect one to prepare and serve to your family this month in honor of the season.  You can check it out here at the Food Network’s website.

Finally, the last area to look into is the educational area for kids.  The pumpkin is a wonderful subject when it comes to teaching kids about science. You can grow a pumpkin within a pumpkin, explore the rotting process of a pumpkin, or create pumpkin slime.  In their blog post about Fall Science Activities, Growing a Jeweled Rose offers several fantastic suggestions on how to use pumpkins for education purposes in your own home, as well as other Fall-related educational activities to try out. There are several activities offered that are perfect for all kids at any age, and your kiddos are bound to appreciate the learning lesson while having fun with pumpkins.

So, these are just a few ideas to try out in your own home while crafting with pumpkins.  I hope they inspire you to pick up a few at your local pumpkin patch this week and teach your kids about this versatile squash.

Until next time,

-BBM

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