With our upcoming book, Lou Knows What To Do: Special Diet being released, it seems like a great time to talk about the Teal Pumpkin Project. It may be a little early to discuss Halloween, but we wanted our followers to be informed about this initiative before making their fall preparations. Halloween is about FUN for kiddos and not just candy. Yet it can seem restrictive to children with allergies who are on special diets. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps to raise awareness about food allergies and make Halloween more inclusive by encouraging people to give away non-food items. Then children with restrictive diets are not left out! Giving away small toys or stickers is a great alternative. By leaving a teal pumpkin on your porch, you are letting people know you have allergy friendly items for those trick-or-treating. We will have some additional posts on this topic as we get closer to Halloween, but today we will discuss the craft we made yesterday. It should take about 30 minutes from start to finish and includes many opportunities for requesting! Of course we made our pumpkin teal, so that we had one ready for Halloween, but any color can be used.
Materials: Glue, water, tissue paper or streamers, artificial or real pumpkin, paper towels, brush or sponge, bowl.
Nouns: glue, paper, pumpkin, brush, bowl,
Verbs: cover, mix, brush, put, push, help, need
Adjectives: more, teal (or whatever colors you use), nice, sticky, messy, smooth, fun
Prepositions: in, on
Questions: where, what
1. Gather your materials and arrange your work space. Since this project can be messy, you may want to cover the area with paper towels. Cut your tissue paper or streamers into tiny squares. Mix some water into your glue so that you can make it easier to "paint" onto the pumpkin.
2. Model what you want your child to do first. Brush a tiny bit of the glue mixture onto the pumpkin. Then take a square of paper or two and cover the area. Repeat a few times so your child sees how you expect to cover the surface area of the pumpkin. Verbally tell them the directions as you complete the process. "First, we will brush some glue on the pumpkin. Then I need some paper to put on. We have to push the paper on the sticky area."
3. Leave the paper or glue slightly out of reach so that your child has to request "more paper" and "more glue" on a consistent basis. This activity has tons of opportunities for requesting based on how many applications of paper and glue are needed.
4. Remember to model adjectives for your child. (i.e. "Wow, nice pumpkin!" "My hands are so sticky!")
5. You can also model the asking and answering of questions. (i.e. "What do we need? More paper!" or "Where should I put this piece? Oh I see an empty spot!")
6. If your child has difficulty with prepositions (positional words) you can model the contrast between IN and ON, while emphasizing the words. (i.e. "We dip the brush IN the glue." "We push the paper ON the pumpkin."
7. As always, remember to provide lots of positive reinforcement so that your child enjoys the task and wants to do others!