Hammering Nails in Pumpkins


We were blessed with an abundance of pumpkins in the garden this year.  So far we’ve had fun making colorful crayon-drip pumpkins and even turning one into a pumpkin volcano.  This week we got out hammers and nails and had fun hammering nails into pumpkins! 


Hammering nails in pumpkins -- great for eye-hand coordination and proprioceptive input!


We have had fun with hammering nails into Styrofoam in the past.  With so many pumpkins on our porch, I thought it would be a fun to decorate our pumpkins in a new way.  Plus, hammering nails is a great activity for hand-eye coordination, and it provides procieptive sensory input, too!

My kids were both super excited when they saw my invitation to play (a few pumpkins, small hammers, and container of nails).

fall proprioceptive activity for kids -- hammering nails in pumpkins


Originally I had out a small, metal hammer and a toy wood mallet, but we soon discovered that the plastic hammer from my son’s toy workbench worked wonderfully when it came to hammering nails into the pumpkins.  (And, because the head on the toy hammer is a bit wider than the little metal hammer, it was easier for my son to hit the nails.)

They had fun hammering until every nail was used, and when they finished we had a pretty funky-looking pumpkin to display.

fun way to decorate pumpkin with nails



  • It helps to have a hammer for each child.  Who wants to wait to have a turn with the hammer?  Toy hammers will work if you don’t want them to use the real one.
  • Don’t have a bunch of pumpkins on hand?  Let the kids paint them now, and then once the holiday is past, bring out the hammers and nails and let them go to town!
  • Plan on carving the pumpkins?  You can always do a bit of hammering once the pumpkins start to get a bit moldy.
  • Want to turn it into an even more educational activity?  Check back for my next post to see what we did!


Other fun pumpkin ideas from this site:

Do pumpkins float?

make a pumpkin volcano!

colorful crayon drip pumpkins

Paper Plate Monsters


Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping…  Moms are always busy!  Wondering how to squeeze in a bit of craft time this week and still get all those chores done?  This Paper Plate Monster Craft is easy enough for the kids to work on by themselves while you get dinner ready or fold that basket of laundry. 

Paper Plate Monsters: simple kids monster craft


Materials Needed for Paper Plate Monsters:

  • Paper Plates
  • Construction Paper
  • Crayons/Markers
  • Glue Sticks
  • Other fun additions:  yarn, google eyes, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, craft foam  (Tweak this list to fit your needs.)


If you want to create monsters with big, round mouths, like ours, simply cut the centers out of the paper plates before giving them to the kids.

For very young children you may want to have construction paper ears, horns, noses, etc. cut out ahead of time that they can then glue on wherever they’d like.   Preschool-aged children and older can get creative and cut out their own pieces. This can be great scissor practice for preschoolers!


kids monster craft


Some kids will jump right into this craft, knowing exactly what they’d like to add to their paper plate monster.

If your child is struggling, you can brainstorm ideas together.

  • “Do you think your monster needs horns?”
  • “You can cut triangles out to glue on for teeth.”
  • “How many eyes will he have?”


Sometimes kids just need a bit of help at the beginning before their creativity really kicks into gear on a craft.


paper plate craft -- fun kids monster craft


These fun monsters make great Halloween decorations.  You could also easily glue craft sticks to the plates to turn them into masks for the kids to use in pretend play.


We used our paper plate monsters to inspire a writing activity.

fun paper plate monster craft


We worked on writing strong paragraphs, starting with a topic sentence, adding at least 3 details and a closing sentence.  “This is my monster.  It has 4 eyes.  It has sharp teeth.  It has a big mouth.  I like my monster.”

For older kids you could have them write a short story about their paper plate monster.


So, when the kids ask to do a craft this week, grab the paper plates and let the kids get creative with these paper plate monsters while you work on cooking dinner or getting those dishes done.


Other paper plate crafts you may like:






Leaf Creatures: A Fun Fall Leaf Craft


Fall is the perfect time to take the kids for a walk and collect leaves.  But what do you do with all those leaves once you get home?  There really is only so many times kids want to do leaf rubbings.  And, if your kids are like mine, they don’t want to just throw the leaves away.  Why not use some of those leaves in this simple leaf craft?


Leaf Creatures: a fun fall leaf craft for kids


Leaf creatures are fun to make and really let kids use their imaginations.  It’s fun to see how each leaf will be used.  Turned one way that maple leaf might be an alien’s head; flip it over and it could become a butterfly.  The possibilities are endless!

Materials Needed to Make Leaf Creatures:

  • Leaves
  • Craft glue and/or double-sided tape
  • Markers
  • Craft paper
  • Google eyes


We started our artwork with some leaves we had picked up on an earlier walk.  We used double-sided tape to secure our leaves to the paper, but you could also use craft glue.

I got out markers and google eyes to help them add details to their leaf creatures.


My daughter was completely engaged in her artwork, spending over a half hour creating her first picture.


fun leaf craft for kids


I loved watching her carefully choose the leaves and arrange them on her paper.  That little brown leaf really does make the perfect owl!


Once she had created one picture with the leaves, I found her picking up more leaves outside.  This time she was thinking about what each leaf might become while she picked them up.

She mulled over the leaves, looking for two that looked alike to become fairy wings.  And a spiky, little leaf made a cute hedgehog.

leaf creatures fall leaf craft



  • You can press the finished artwork between 2 heavy books overnight to keep leaves from curling up.
  • You could also cover pictures with clear contact paper if you wish to preserve them.
  • Let your kids know what you plan to do with the leaves when you get home; you may be surprised by how picky they become when collecting those leaves!


We really enjoyed making our leaf creatures; it’s such a fun way to use some of those fall leaves we’ve collected on our walks.


If you are looking for more ways to use your fall leaves you may want to check out the following posts:

529 Plans: A Simple Way for Parents to Save for College


When I decided to leave the classroom to stay home with our then 9-month-old daughter, my husband was thrilled.  But he was also a little worried.   Mortgage payments, electric, water, and phone bills…  How would we make ends meet on just one salary?   And then there was college…

No, not his college, or mine.  Thankfully we had that all taken care of by then.   He was thinking of college for his little girl.   And before we knew it, she started kindergarten, and that question was still on his mind.  (I swear we blinked and she was five — time flies!)  By then we had two children who would need help with college.  That’s when he started doing some research, because, let’s face it, college is expensive!


What parents need to know about 529 plans -- a simple way to save for college

(This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are still 100% my own.)


Thankfully, we discovered CollegeAdvantage 529, a completely doable way for parents to save money for their child’s education.

So what makes a 529 plan better than just putting money in a savings account?

  • Your 529 account grows tax­-free, and qualified withdrawals are free from federal and state income tax.
  • For Ohio taxpayers, contributions to CollegeAdvantage 529 may qualify for a deduction from your taxable income.
  • It’s similar to a 401K in that 529 savings plans generally invest your contribution in mutual fund­-based investments where your account value is based on investment performance. CollegeAdvantage also offers FDIC­ insured banking options.


We started an Ohio 529 plan for both of our children when our daughter started kindergarten.   It seemed like the right thing to do, making sure there would be something to help her afford college once those school years she was beginning were over.  It wasn’t much at first, but knowing we started helped eased both our minds. (The awesome thing is, you can start one with as little as $25 and adjust it over time.)

For families with kids in daycare or preschool, the start of kindergarten is also a great time to start saving for college for the simple reason that the money no longer being paid towards daycare can be invested into your child’s future.

To make things even easier (because life with kids gets busy), we have our 529 plans both set up as an automatic deposit each month, which we can change at any time.


But what happens if your child chooses not to go to college?  (After all, none of us can look into the future and know what our kids will decide to do later in life.)  If that happens, the account can be transferred to a different beneficiary, if that person is an eligible family member of the original beneficiary.  There are no age restrictions on the beneficiary, either.  So, for instance, you could transfer it to a spouse to use to further their education.

I should also mention that there are also no income restrictions, which means everyone is eligible to invest in a 529 plan.


Want to know my favorite part?

Others can contribute to the 529 plan via a financial gift option.

So, if the grandparents have a habit of going a wee bit overboard on Christmas presents, you can suggest they contribute to the college savings plan instead of buying everything in the toy aisles this year.

A few new toys are nice, but at some point they just all can’t be played with. College on the other hand? That is a gift that will keep on giving!


Have you started saving for your child’s education? It’s never too late!


Check out the following sites for more information:


CollegeAdvantage is a 529 college savings plan offered and administered by the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, a state agency. To learn more about CollegeAdvantage, its investments, risks, costs, and other mportant information, read the Plan’s Offering Statement and Participation Agreement available at www.CollegeAdvantage.com.  If you are not an Ohio resident or taxpayer, learn if your home state offers state tax or other benefits for investing in its own 529 plan.