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It's so hard to know how to help young kids take a hands-on approach to carving pumpkins. But, we know that they enjoy and benefit most when they are in the lead. You can certainly hand them a marker to draw, then let you do the cutting. Or, grab some golf tees and a mallet, and let them hammer out their own designs. Plus the lanterns can be gorgeous!
For older kids (3 and up) it can be exciting to know that they are working on making a lantern. For younger kids, just diving into the doing is often the perfect hook!
It is super satisfying for kids to make an impact or "transform" objects through their own actions, especially when what they are doing can create something beautiful to behold. Manipulating golf tees and mallets in this way also provides marvelous support for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Finally, the sensory stimulation kids get from the color, smell, texture, muscle use and head movements involved in this activity is marvelous for their sensory systems.