With Fall upon us, carving a pumpkin is a great way to work on occupational therapy skills of fine motor, visual motor, bilateral coordination, and sensory skills. Here is a quick list of activities to do with your child:
Choose a pumpkin: A child works on visually scanning to locate the perfect pumpkin. Holding and carrying a pumpkin provides heavy work and proprioceptive input to improve coordination and strength.
Clean out with a spoon: The scraping motion of cleaning out the insides allows a child to practice using utensils, which carry over to self-feeding and improved fine motor skills.
Clean out with hands: Using hands to clean out the insides provides sensory/tactile input, as the insides of the pumpkin are squishy, slimy, and cold. It also challenges bilateral hand skills, upper body strength, and coordination to hold the pumpkin steady with one hand and to scrape out the insides with the other hand.
as the insides of the pumpkin are squishy, slimy, and cold. It also challenges bilateral hand skills, upper body strength, and coordination to hold the pumpkin steady with one hand and to scrape out the insides with the other hand.
Separate seeds: Separating the seeds from the slimy stuff works on fine motor skills when isolating fingers to pick up individual seeds. Visual motor skills are used to search for and find all the seeds among the rest of the insides.
Decorating: While drawing and/or copying shapes (circle, squares, triangles, diamonds) to form the face, a child works on visual motor, fine motor, and pencil grasp. In addition, a fun project is to use a child’s hammer to make a decoration out of golf tees in the pumpkin. This uses bilateral hand skills, fine motor skills, and upper body strength. The website www.pumpkinmasters.com has a great decorating kit that includes a metal template for kids to poke holes into the pumpkin (similar to Lite Brite).
All of these activities enhance the sensory input gained from Pumpkin carving. The most important part is that you and your child have a great time!