Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Pumpkin Praise Party!

I love Pumpkins! And what better time of year to add a bit of Pumpkin Fun to your Children's Program. Many of these activities can be used for multiple ages and activities.

First of all, let me give just a quick "shout out" to Pinterest. I am a bit addicted. It is a perfect spot for an idea girl like myself. I even have a "Pumpkin Board." 

For those of you who are new to computer and blog navigation, just click on the blue links. They will take you to some pretty cool ideas.

The Message

First, let's start with the basics. You always need to include a Gospel message in any activity you provide. I have a copy of The Pumpkin Patch Parable.


Here is the book's description. 
This charming story for children illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. Liz Curtis Higgs weaves a beautiful parable as the farmer picks out a special pumpkin from his garden, and scoops out all the messy "goo" to make room for his light to shine from inside. In the same way, God's transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Cutis Higgs originally created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season. After 10 years, she has touched children everywhere! Recommended for ages 3 to 7.

This poem is a great object lesson to use while carving a pumpkin. 

"Pumpkin Prayer"

{cut off top of pumpkin}
Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.

{remove innards}
Remove the things in my life that don’t please you.
Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.

{cut open eyes}
Open my eyes to see the beauty you’ve made in the world around me.

{cut out nose}
I’m sorry for the times I’ve turned my nose at the good food you provide.

{cut out mouth}
Let everything I say please You.

{light the candle}
Lord, help me show your light to others through the things I do. Amen
By: Liz Curtis Higgs
 
Annie's Homepage has this pumpkin lesson here.
Carve a pumpkin or two using a Christian Theme. This site has all sorts of free resources.

Decorations

Think Orange! Use orange table cloths, balloons, streamers, etc. Put pumpkins everywhere.  

Here are some cute DIY ideas for Fall decorating. You could even use candy pumpkins instead of the candy corn in the large votives shown. 

Use white and orange twinkle lights to add extra fun to your space.

I love a mason jar. Here is an idea for a Canning Jar Pumpkin Light

Crafty Fun

Make this stand up pumpkin from Sundayschoolkids.com.

Here is a another pumpkin carving prayer with a printout from dltk-bible.com.

This little pumpkin book from daniellesplace.com is really cute. 

Set up a Pumpkin Decorating Center. Put small pumpkins and markers in a center and allow kids to decorate their own mini pumpkins.

The craftyclassroom.com has this cute garden pumpkin to make.

I found 3 great pumpkin crafts at christianpreschoolprintables.com Here is a paperbag pumpkin. Or use this pumpkin parable craft to go along with your lesson. This Pumpkin Prayer minibook is perfect to make and take. 

Famiyfun.com has this pumpkin hat to make. 

Games, Centers & More

I found this Pop Goes The Pumpkin Game at tipjunkie.com. I'm going to be using this one for sure this year. 

Ring the Pumpkin
Line up three large pumpkins to form a ring toss. Make sure they have stems! Use embroidery hoops. Mark a throwing line on the floor and take turns trying to ring a pumpkin stem. Smaller children can attempt to ring an entire large pumpkin with a hula hoop.

Pumpkin Race
You need two large pumpkins and two sticks. The racers, line up on the starting line with the pumpkins turned on their sides. The racers use the stick to roll the pumpkins to the finish line. Be sure to leave plenty of room. The pumpkins will roll in every direction! For added variety have them use hands instead of sticks or roll small pumpkins, instead.

Pumpkin Bowling
Select several small pumpkins about four to six inches in diameter. You need extras in case a few split or break. Place plastic (children's set) of bowling pins several feet away. You could also use small plastic decorator pumpkins.

Pumpkin Hot Potato
Play hot potato with a pumpkin instead of a potato!

Guess the Pumpkins
Fill a jar with those cute little candy pumpkins (usually found near the candy corn). Have the kids guess how many pumpkins are in the jar. Be sure to count the pumpkins ahead of time :<)

Pumpkin Over and Under
Divide the kids into two teams. Give the front child in the line a small pumpkin. The first child passes the pumpkin over his head to the child behind him. The second child passes it between his legs to the next child. The pumpkin continues to be passed over-under to the last child in line, who runs to the front of the line with the pumpkin. You can continue until every child has run to the front of the line with the pumpkin and the first child is back in front again.

Here is a tutorial on how to make your own Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss. 

Print out these Pumpkin Bingo Cards from learningtreasures.com. Bingo is always fun!

Make up a recipe or two for Pumpkin Pie playdough. Add pumpkin shaped cookie cutters to the other playdough toys. I have used this recipe for years, whether it be for teaching or at home.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough
This smells great, so remind small children that it is not for eating.

5 1/2 cups
flour
2 cups salt
8 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1 1/12 ounce) container pumpkin pie spice
Orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
4 cups water

Mix all of the ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in an
airtight container.

Have a pumpkin decorating contest. Before the event, advertise the contest and send home tips, rules and prize information. Allow one pumpkin per family.
Pumpkin Eats


Pumpkin Pizza
Here is a recipe from Pillsbury.com for little Pumpkin Pizzas. You could easily make this into a large pizza for a crowd.

Make a Pumpkin Shaped Veggie tray. You will just go crazy over these veggie tray designs from livinglocturto.com.
Individual Pumpkins
(10 servings)
3 cups miniature marshmallows
¼ cup margaring
red and yellow food coloring
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios
Vegetable oil cooking spray (Pam)
10 green gumdrops
Warm the margarine and the marshmallows in a large pan over low heat until the marshmallows melt. Use the food coloring to tint the mixture orange. Gradually fold in the Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Lightly coat each child’s fingers with  the cooking spray. When the mixture has cooled sufficiently, give each child ½ cup of the mixture to form into a pumpkin shape. Press the green gumdrop into the top for a stem. Set on waxed paper until firm.

Here is a recipe from teachingheart.com for Individual Pumpkin Pies to make right at the event. 

Make this Pumpkin Dip.

Rice Krispy Treats are for every occasion! Make these cute Krispy pumpkins. 

The Treat Bag

Send home a little treat bag. You can give this in lieu of handing out candy for prizes or just because. You can purchase treat bags or make your own. I usually design my own treat bag toppers. Here is a tutorial for one you can make yourself. It uses photoshop, but I don't have photoshop. I use my print shop program or even Microsoft word. One of these days I'll post my own tutorial. :<) You can always just your scrapbooking supplies to make your toppers.

Or these bags would make pretty great treat bags. 

This is an adorable fall treat holder idea. 

A easy idea is to stamp or stencil a pumpkin on a plain little lunch sack and then tie with raffia. 

You can include: 
  • The Pumpkin Prayer
  • candy
  • Pencils decorated with pumpkins
  • Make pencil toppers to send home from this tutorial from abcteach.com. 
  • small toys from the dollar tree 
  •   When all else fails orientaltrading.com has some great Christian pumpkin items to purchase. I just typed Christian Pumpkin in the search box. It brought up lots of products.
Have a great event!

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