Decorating Pumpkins

If your children, like mine, are too little to carve pumpkins then there are plenty of alternatives available to you. ***The art and craft products used in this post as linked below***

One of the best ways to get younger children involved is to get them to decorate a pumpkin instead. Again, there are many ways that this can be achieved, such as using paint, glitter or even stencils. Today, we kept things simple with foam shapes and googly eyes. We bought smaller pumpkins at the supermarket, as I knew my two wouldn’t need huge ones and I layed everything out on the table for them to choose. The set up was quick and easy.

My 3 year old went to town on his pumpkin. He absolutely adored slathering on the glue and then covering it with the craft materials. He spent a good 15 minutes carefully placing each shape on the orange surface and he was, quite rightly, very proud of the results. 

Even my 16 month old got involved and, although she wasn’t able to spread the glue in herself, she was able to practice her pincer grip to pick up the small objects before placing them carefully on the pumkin. She really enjoyed the task and, although she didn’t take as much pride in it as her brother, she seemed satisfied that she’d done something a little bit different to our normal are art craft activities. 

The finished results are very effective and I would highly recommend this activity for younger children. It gets them excited about Halloween without having the mess and dangerous tools that come with pumpkin carving. 


Obviously, as with all our activities, adult supervision is required at all times. Googly eyes can easily be swallowed and glue could find itself in a toddlers mouth. 

The resources we used were:

Wiggly eyes: http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/022-0233&ClassicView=1

Foam shapes: http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/022-0224

PVA glue: http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/023-0263

Glue spreaders: http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/023-0267

Enjoy x

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Fun With Dough

It is widely recognised that playing with dough helps to strengthen children’s hands. This can not only help build muscles in order to help with fine motor skills but it can, eventually, help with writing too.
**All products used in this blog post are linked below**

With the benefits of this activity in mind, I set my three year old boy off on a play mission with dough. We used a few colours out of the ‘Pots of Coloured Dough’ pack (link below). The great thing about these is that they are soft, easy to use and they don’t stain! Each colour is also provided in its own air tight tub, so you don’t necessarily have to use all colours all at once. You can pick and choose.


So my boy chose red and yellow before setting off on a series of manipulation and creating with the dough. 

After rolling the dough out flat and poking holes in it with his fingers, he used a wheel cutter to slice the dough into strips. I then helped him roll the strips into sausages to put into our dough guns. It took quite a lot of effort on his part to squeeze the dough through the gun, however, he persevered and just adored the results! I’d say that a little adult help is needed here if your child is very young, but allowing them to try themselves as much as they can will only help their hands strengthen in the long run. 


It was only at the end that I stepped in for him and he then enjoyed ‘catching’ the dough as it came out through the shaped holes. These dough guns are brilliant for exploring dough in a different and original way. They come in a pack of 5 and each gun has a different shaped hole at the end, meaning that the dough comes out a different shape. Children can have so much fun trying the different variations.

After initially playing fairly randomly, my little boy decided that he wanted to make the dough into a man. Luckily, we already had some dough accessory sets at home, so he chose the eyes and a moustache from that. He starting by squishing the dough together to make a head, then carefully pushed the facial features in.


All in all throughout his play he rolled, poked, squashed, pushed, pulled and pinched whilst creating and experimenting. He loved it!  It can be a bit of a challenge getting the dough out of the pot. Sometimes it needed a little bit of encouragement, however, this is a great problem solving skill and it all helps towards strengthening those fingers!

I would highly recommend Dough as an activity for children 3+ as, not only does it help eliminate boredom on rainy days or days at home, but it’s quick to set up, there’s little mess and the opportunities for play truly are endless! Not to mention the benefits of strengthening little hands and fingers through manipulation without even realising it! My 1.5 year old even wanted to get involved. However, a word of warning, adult supervision is always advised in such activities as Dough could easily be swallowed.




The products used in this post;

Pots of coloured dough (12 pack) http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/027-0327&ClassicView=1

Dough guns (5pack)

http://firsthandschoolresources.co.uk/epages/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0.mobile/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/197c9914-25e2-4a6c-936b-95a0d092bbc0/Products/027-0334