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Friday, October 26, 2012


This summer a local farmer gave us some squash plants.  We weren't sure what type of squash it was until we had about 16 of these little decorative squash hanging from a vine.  They are also sometimes considered a gourd.  I do not know their name, but they are very pretty and plentiful!
So, what were we going to do with all these gems?  Last year we had carved out little pumpkins and made them into candle holders, and talking with a parent one day, she suggested we do that with these little ones.  A perfect plan.
My assistant cut the tops, and the kids got to scooping.

It actually was a great lesson for hand coordination, because although there was not a lot of pulp or seeds, because they were small, the children really had to dig at them to get them clean.
This is my group of three year olds, and while some could only do half their little gourd, others really cleaned out the whole gourd smooth enough to put the candle right in.

The children with their candle holders lit in front of them awaiting their snack.
You can tell some of these little ones are pining away for their bread baking in the oven.
The timing of this project couldn't have been better because this week we were discussing fire safety, and yes I let them have a candle lit before them, but for me, it shows that they are capable and that we could have a real discussion of what to do around candles, matches, and fire.  I believe that talking about these things is very important, but also having them experience things they come in contact with, and teaching them how to be around it, and how to be careful and respectful of different dangers.
In addition to the candle holders I wanted to do a project for my four year olds.
We had all the tops left over from the gourds, and after doing the felted acorns this group really enjoys playing with felt, so I thought it would be cute to make felted pumpkins and use the stems from the gourds.

We started with wool roven which the children rolled into a ball.

Then lots of dunking and wringing out in warm soapy water.
The trick is to keep rolling it in your hands, but also as we discovered that day, rolling the ball on a dish rags also really helps firm the ball up. 

One of our difficulties was that we had two different qualities of felt, so the balls were separating a little.  When we hot glued the stems on, we had to hot glue the pumpkins a little as well to keep them together, but the children had fun making them and I think they came out adorable.

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