Pumpkin activity Archives | Play It Forward Therapy
Jack O’ Lantern Cookie

Jack O’ Lantern Cookie

These cute Jack O’ Lantern Cookies are SO easy to make it’s scary!

Use ready made ingredients to assemble this Halloween cookie craft.  There are several skills that your child will practice to make these adorable cookies, whether it’s a single treat or a platter of pumpkins to bring to your next party.

Your child will improve fine motor skills while using a spoon to mix, a knife to spread and scissors to snip!   Mixing requires strength and the use of two hands (one to hold the container and the other to stir with a spoon).  Learning to hold a knife properly to spread the frosting and snipping with scissors are fun ways to improve utensil use.

And did you know that chocolate chips can be therapeutic?  You don’t ever have to convince me to eat chocolate!  However, picking up these tiny chocolate morsels is excellent for developing hand dexterity, especially pincer grasp (pinch between thumb and index finger). You can get several repetitions in if you decorate lots of little pumpkins.

Add to the challenge by placing the chocolate chips on the face with the pointy sides up.  This will make the face look like a classically carved pattern with a triangle-shaped nose and eyes.  Decide whether your Jack o’ Lantern’s mouth will be happy, sad or scary!  However, no matter how scary these Jack O’ Lantern Cookies try to be… they’ll always be cute, little pumpkins that’ll get gobbled up faster than you can say “goblin”.

Jack O’Lantern Cookie

Ingredients

  • Oreos or other round cookies
  • Mini Chocolate chips
  • Orange frosting OR Vanilla frosting and red and yellow food coloring
  • Green Sour Punch Straws

Supplies

  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Scissors
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Pumpkin Bash

Pumpkin Bash

There’s something so satisfying about pounding pegs into a pumpkin!  Channel your child’s desire to hit or pound something with this Pumpkin Bash activity.  Using a wooden mallet to pound push-pins or golf tees into a pumpkin provides practice for fine motor skills and eye hand coordination. Picking up the push-pins or golf tees promotes a pincer grasp and overall hand and finger dexterity.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to how your child grasping the push-pins by making sure that thumb and index finger OR thumb/index/middle finger are “pinching”  and the other fingers are tucked into the palm (ring and pinky fingers should not be flaring out).  Check out the video below to see examples of a proper grasp.

Another perk to this pumpkin activity is the fact that it takes some strength and resistance to pound the items in.  The rhythmical, repetitive nature of pounding with the mallet provides proprioceptive input which is “deep pressure input” to the arm and shoulder muscles.  This type of sensory input is helpful for body awareness and can be a calming activity to help keep your child focused and entertained.

Get out your aggression and get creative!   Enrich this activity by make designs or a face on your pumpkin, sort and talk about the colors, count the number of push-pins or golf tees.

Pro Tip:  Be sure to keep the push-pins and golf tees organized in a container and check the area afterwards to avoid stepping on any!

Pumpkin Bash 

Supplies

  • Pumpkins
  • Wooden seafood mallet
  • Colored push pins
  • Colored golf tees

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Spooktacular Halloween Snacks

Spooktacular Halloween Snacks

This is probably the only time I don’t mind hearing “Boos” from my kids at the kitchen table!  Your kids will surely think these Ghost Quesadillas are a spooktacular snack.

Classic quesadillas are kids favorite and they can be customized in so many ways. These cheesy bites of deliciousness in a toasted tortilla are sure to please, especially when your kids can gobble up the ghost or monster (instead of the other way around)!  Or perhaps a cute-quesadilla such as a jack o’lantern made from an orange sun-dried tomato wrap?  Get creative and have fun!

Use your kid’s favorite cheese and experiment with different types of tortillas or colored wraps.  Use scissors to cut out ghost and monster shapes.  Add colorful toppings to make the faces.  Talk about the colors and the different types of faces (scary, happy, sad) that you can make with various veggie ingredients!

If your child tends to be “afraid” to try new foods, enlist his or her help to make the quesadilla for you or someone else.  Interacting with the food, different textures, colors and shapes is an excellent opportunity to improve a picky eater’s tolerance for various textures of foods.

Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • Tortillas (flour, corn, flavored)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Colorful sweet peppers (green, red, yellow, orange)
  • Carrot coins

Supplies

  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Griddle or frying pan
  • Non-stick spray
  • Spatula

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Pumpkin Fidget

Pumpkin Fidget

Is your child constantly touching things?  Does your student have trouble sitting still while listening or while waiting?   Do you ever find yourself saying, “Keep your hands to yourself!”  If the answer is yes, then this Pumpkin Balloon Fidget is a super sensory solution for fidgety kids (and grown ups too)!   Whether your child is feeling anxious or seeking touch input, this little Pumpkin Fidget helps keep busy hands busy.

Sometimes kids really can’t help these extra movements they make with their hands.  Or they can’t seem to stop the need to keep touching things or fidget when required to sit still.  When it comes to sensory processing, it’s their nervous system responding to stress, overwhelm or excitement, or in some cases, even boredom.

You can help by understanding the nervous system’s drive to move, while redirecting it to a quiet, movement activity such as a fidget. In occupational therapy, we use fidgets to 1.)  Help kids maintain their focus  2.)  Help satisfy the need to constantly touch things  3.)  Strengthen hands and fingers by providing a repetitive resistance exercise (squeezing and pinching).

This fidget is Halloween themed, however you can make fidgets all year round!  Check out the video tutorial for this adorable Halloween Pumpkin Balloon Fidget at the end of this post.

Pumpkin Balloon Fidget

You will need

  • 1 yellow 12″ balloon
  • 1 orange 12″ balloon
  • Straw
  • Flour
  • Spoon
  • Funnel
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors

Directions

  1.  Attach the yellow balloon to the end of the funnel.
  2. Scoop flour into the funnel.
  3. Poke the flour into the balloon using the straw.
  4. Carefully squeeze out the excess air and tie a knot.
  5. Trim the neck of both balloons.
  6. Cut a small 1cm snip on the bottom third of the orange balloon.  You can make it curved and cut out a small bit for a smile shape.
  7. Stretch the orange balloon wide and place the yellow balloon inside (knot side down).
  8. Tie the orange balloon into a knot.
  9. Cut green ribbon and tie 2 knots around the orange balloon knot.
  10. Curl the ribbon using the edge of the scissors for curly vines.

CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO

You may also like this adorable Jack O Lantern Cookie

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