Carving a pumpkin with kids is a fun project that both you and the children are sure to enjoy! Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes time to carve your pumpkins this year.
If possible, take the kids to the pumpkin patch (or wherever pumpkins are available in your area) and let them choose their own pumpkins. Letting them pick out their own pumpkins will make the project all the more enjoyable for the kids!
Have your children draw out a sketch of their design on paper first. Drawing it directly on the pumpkin will not allow for design changes and alterations, so make sure they are happy with their ideas before moving on to actually putting them on the pumpkin.
Avoid designs that are extremely detailed. Designs with small cuts or intricate patterns will probably be too difficult for your children, requiring a lot of patience and motor skills.
Rather than drawing your own designs, you can also opt to use a pre-made template for your pumpkin design. These can be bought at most stores that sell Halloween merchandise, and many great templates can also be found for free online that you can print out.
Once your child is happy with their design, help them transfer it onto the pumpkin. A permanent marker such as a Sharpie works best for this, so you may want to have an adult do this part!
Before you can cut your design out of the pumpkin, you will need to cut off the top of the pumpkin and remove its guts. Cut the top off by removing a circular shaped piece of pumpkin, working around the stem. This is another adult job!
To make sure your top won’t fall down inside the pumpkin, cut at an angle. Cut the opening so that it is wider at the top than at the bottom and the “lid” will stay in place without slipping through!
Once you have the top off, scoop out all of the insides of the pumpkin with a large spoon. This is a great job for the kids, who will have fun playing with the slimy seeds and flesh!
When it comes time for the actual cutting, use a knife that is specifically designed for pumpkin carving. You will want a serrated blade for the best results. If you don’t have a pumpkin knife, a steak knife or something similar will work. Make sure your knife is sharpened before you begin – a dull knife is actually more dangerous to use and you are less likely to cut yourself with a sharp knife!
Older children will probably be able to do the carving themselves, though they should still be supervised closely. Remind them to take their time, especially with more detailed areas.
Younger children can “help” with the cutting by placing their hand on top of yours as you cut. (Alternately, you could also put your hand over top to guide them.) Young children should never be allowed to touch sharp knives on their own!
Above all, remember to have fun!