I love the holidays, and Halloween is no exception! Teaching, celebrating, and decorating for each holiday is one of the best parts of being a nanny. I just live for the squeals of delight and the excited looks on my charges’ faces when they complete a festive, themed art project. Here is a fun Halloween-inspired project that is great for kids of all ages!
Jack-O-Lantern Paper PlateSupplies:
-Brown paper bag, newspaper, or something else to cover your work surface area for easy clean-up
-Simple white paper plate
-Green and black Construction Paper
-Orange Paint (you can also substitute orange marker or crayon)
-Glue: either liquid or a glue stick
Cover your surface area with an opened paper bag, newspaper, or plastic lining (such as shower curtain) to easily contain and clean up after the project.
If you are working with younger children, as I am, I would suggest cutting out the face shapes of the Jack-O-Lantern ahead of time. If this project is for older children, they can draw and cut out the shapes of their own choosing.
Shapes that you, or older children, can cut out:
-A Green rectangle for the stem
-Several black triangles, circles, and squares for the face. An assortment of shapes is best!
* Remember that art with children is about the process, not the product. So try to allow and encourage your little ones to create their Jack-O-Lantern face however they would like. The Halloween activity might not be how you would do it, but it will be how the child wants it. That means circles for eyes are okay!
- Begin by having the child use the paint, marker, or crayon to color the paper plate orange. They can do as little or as much coloring as they want; after all this is their pumpkin. Younger children might only color a small area, while older children will cover the plate in orange shades. As your child colors, be sure to ask them what color they are using, and talk about how many pumpkins are bright orange, just like theirs.
- While the plate dries, show your child the various shapes you have cut out for the face. Lay the shapes out and have your child identify the shapes, giving prompts when needed.
- When the plate is dry, ask your child to find some eyes, and ask them what shape they chose. Then move on to a nose and finally, have your child pick out several (I think about 5 is good) shapes for the mouth. As each piece is glued on, again point out the shape chosen. Don’t forget to add the green “stem”!
- Allow the glue to dry before hanging or displaying the pumpkin. It’s done!
At the end of our day, when parents return home, I love to have the kids show off their artwork. They are so proud of their work, and this is a great time to review the project as well. Ask your nanny child to show Mommy or Daddy what shapes they used for their Jack-O-Lantern. You can also take this time to review the colors used. Colors and shapes make up our world, and this Halloween activity helps to bring an awareness of the fun and learning that can be incorporated into the holiday celebration.
Britney Fredrickson is a nanny of six years with a B.A. in Child Development. She lives in the Napa Valley with her husband, Great Dane/Border Collie mix, and orange tabby. Having begun as a preschool/infant teacher, Britney now uses her experience and education to specialize in nanny shares, predominantly working with toddlers under age three. When she isn’t wrangling kids, she can be found reading, sewing, and noshing on goat cheese. For real time tips and anecdotes follow her on Twitter @sisternannies.