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Pumpkin Carving With Young Kids

Fall is such a fun time to be a kid. The changing leaves, apple picking, pumpkin patches, fun treats and traditions . . . it all amounts to endless memories for your children. Halloween goes hand-in-hand with fall, and that means pumpkin carving! But brandishing a knife and a detailed design may be a bit much when it comes to carving pumpkins in your home if you have little ones around, so here are some tips to keep things fun and simple for those with small children.

pumpkin carving with young children

Involve them.

This may sound obvious, but remember to give your kiddo a voice when it comes to fall traditions. Let him come to the grocery store, pumpkin patch, or wherever you go to get your pumpkin. I think my kids enjoy picking out their pumpkins more than actually carving them! Besides just picking out a pumpkin to carve, I also let my kids pick out a tiny gourd or two each to display on our dining room table.

Give them choices.

Does he want to get his pumpkin from the grocery store? Or maybe he’d like to pick out his own pumpkin at a pumpkin patch. They may need some guidance when it comes to pumpkin carving decisions, but let them have a few options to pick from. Pick out 3-4 appropriate sized pumpkins, then let him have the final choice. When it comes to picking a design to carve on the pumpkin, again, give him options to choose from.

pumpkin carving with young kids

Pick a design that suits his style.

What is your kid really into right now? Thomas the Train? Trolls? Silly faces? Let him decide what he wants on his pumpkin because it will be so much more memorable for him that way. You may have to help steer some of his choices, but thankfully kids are easily distracted! And remember, sometimes less is more when it comes to pumpkin carving.

Think out of the box.

If carving isn’t your thing, consider other options. Your child could paint the pumpkin. Cover the pumpkin in stamps. Color the pumpkin with permanent markers. Cover the pumpkin in glue and tissue paper or glitter. Pull out all those random stickers that you’ve collected and let your kiddo have at it! The options are endless, but let your child dream up how he wants to decorate his pumpkin.

pumpkin carving with the kids

Keep it hands-on.

You may not want your three-year-old digging a knife into the pumpkin, but he can scoop out the guts with his hands! Or let him paint the pumpkin entirely by himself. Figure out ways to let your kiddo have more hands-on time with his project.

Let the pumpkin stick around.

Once November 1st rolls around, I want to throw our carved pumpkins in the trash and set out Thanksgiving decorations. My kids were heartbroken to discover that I had pitched their gourd friends the first year we carved pumpkins. Since then, I let the pumpkins hang out on our porch a little longer. (Don’t miss this tip for keeping them fresh longer!) They love seeing their designs (no matter how mushy they get), and I love seeing their delighted little faces.

pumpkin carving jack o lantern kids

Those are just a few helpful tips to get you started with creating some fun holiday traditions this fall with your littles. And remember, the basic goal here is to make memories, so don’t let the stress of traditions or projects overwhelm you. Just have fun!

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