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By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation
Fall is an excellent time for digging… into leaves and pumpkins! This fun sensory activity will give your littlest explorers a new experience.
Sensory bags offer a no-mess way to introduce wee ones to new textures and sensations. Just like trying foods with different tastes and textures is a normal part of development, getting to touch different textures helps build little brains.
– Gallon size zipper bag
– Knife (for pumpkin carving, optional)
– Ladder (for pumpkin dropping, optional)
1. Select a pumpkin (or a few) to use for this activity. I used a few from the Arboretum’s AppleHouse (7485 Rolling Acres Rd., Victoria).
2. Now it’s time to get the pumpkin guts out of the pumpkin.
a. Option 1: Use a knife to cut an opening in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the insides.
b. Option 2: Try a pumpkin drop! If you don’t care about keeping your pumpkin around, the fastest way to get to the pumpkin guts is to drop your pumpkin from up high! A grown-up or big kid could climb a ladder and throw a pumpkin to the ground. Now you can collect the splatter!
3. Add seeds, strings, and other parts of the pumpkins into your bag. You might want to squeeze them in the meantime, too.
4. Seal your bag. Now, it’s play time! Squish, squeeze, and enjoy (or practice getting comfortable with) the slimy texture.
Tip: If you want to save your bag for a few days, keep it in the refrigerator when you aren’t using it (otherwise you’ll have a smelly sensory experience on your hands)!