Saturday, October 27, 2012

Toddler Activity: Painting Pumpkins

While I have fond childhood memories of carving pumpkins at Halloween, the thought of attempting to carve a pumpkin with Kat makes me shudder!  She's 21-months, so she has an attention span that's about 21 seconds, follows about 21% of any instructions I give her, and would probably end up needing 21 stitches.  But I didn't want to skip all pumpkin activities.

So last weekend, during our family trip to the grocery store, I let Kat pick out a small pie pumpkin by herself.  Surprisingly, she picked one of the smallest ones; I thought kids always went for the biggest is best philosophy.  I also picked out a pie pumpkin for myself with the intention of making my own pumpkin puree - more on that soon! (Update 11/4/12: See how to make pumpkin puree.)

Sunday afternoon, Kat and I set up a painting station at the kitchen table.  I taped a couple broken down cereal boxes to the table to create a work surface and to hopefully make clean-up easier.  I put a bib on Kat and sat her in her booster chair. 

I let her pick five colors from my collection of acrylic paints.  I like acrylic paints because they wash off with water, are available at most craft stores, and are pretty cheap (less than $2/bottle).  I have a whole shoebox of paint bottles from my time in college when I was still trying to be "artsy".  I also pulled out one paintbrush for each color to minimize the need to rinse brushes mid-project.

I squirted a bit of paint on the cardboard, handed over the paintbrush, and let her go!

I tried to avoid "helping" (a.k.a. taking over), and stuck to just turning the pumpkin whenever one side was mostly covered.  I let Kat decide when she was ready for a new color and then swapped brushes with her.  Amazingly, the paint was contained to the cardboard and just a bit on her fingers (yea for no paint in her hair!!).  


This project kept her attention for about 15 minutes.  From set-up to clean-up was slightly longer than a football game halftime.  ;-)  And since it wasn't overly messy, I think we'll have to try more painting projects for future holidays.   Any ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Little miss Kat did an excellent job! Can she make one for me?

    Maybe for Christmas, you could paint an ornament of some sort :)