No more wondering what you’re going to do all day! This mix-it-up popsicle stick pumpkin that Hillary shares below is a fantastic Halloween themed activity to keep the fun going for hours and hours.
A pumpkin craft that fun to make, cute to display and provides fine motor strengthening and coordination along with playtime? That’s exactly what Hillary needed as a new stay at home mom after moving.
As a former high school teacher, Hillary was used to having lesson plans and an organized plan. So, becoming a new stay at home mom to a 4 year old daughter… she was stressed.
Hillary spent lots of time pinning to Pinterest boards and downloading free activities and printing them. However, they always seemed to just stay in a folder on her desk and never get used.
Hillary was just so overwhelmed by the thought of having things to do with her daughter all day long.
How do you lesson plan for a 4 year old?
That was her question.
And she didn’t have the answer.
Like many moms who choose to quit work and become full time stay at home moms, Hillary had hopes for this time with her daughter to make it valuable for everyone.
“I talked to my husband about what it would mean for me and my daughter and our relationship. I wanted it to be stronger, and not necessarily a constant battle with each other all day long.”
“I wanted some quality time while also allowing for there to be times when she can just play by herself. And I don’t want to feel like I’m just leaving her all day to play by herself.”
She came across a FREE Activity Challenge with The Activity Room®.
“So we did that week long challenge. And I loved it. My daughter loved it.”
“We started ROOM in October. And I started being a stay at home mom the month before in September. Luckily, we were moving into our house. So that was kind of an activity in itself. But then, after that I kind of started to panic, like… what are we gonna do?”
Many of us moms can relate to that feeling.
What are we going to do all day?
And how do I keep my kids learning and developing before school age?
I encourage you to check out the popsicle stick pumpkin craft Hillary shared below, it’s cute and fun, plus fine motor built in. You’ll have fun all day!
Hillary was so happy to discover that behind that challenge was an entire membership option (The Activity Room) with monthly plans for activities, detailed and simple instructions every day, and even a monthly supply list so you can always have everything you need on hand!
“We’re spending all this time looking at Pinterest. So I Googled activities to do with preschoolers. The Activity Room Activity Challenge came up and I was like… well, that sounds like a good idea. I’ll just use this short little snippet and then kind of go from there. Little did I know there was a whole big thing behind it. Which was fabulous. I was like… Oh good! Now I don’t have to move on to something else.”
It didn’t take any convincing with her husband after that free activity challenge week.
Not only was he on board, but he was excited that he could get in on these activities too (like the craft stick or popsicle craft she shares below).
“He was like, wait, this is going to mean that our daughter is not only going to learn and grow, but you two are going to learn and grow [together]. And I can get involved in these? Okay, that sounds perfect. He was immediately on board, because he knew how it had worked for the seven days before that. And he knew how excited I was to finally find something that wasn’t a set curriculum, but would still be able to help our daughter, learn and grow and kind of build our family relationship even more since we’d be spending like 24 seven together.”
Hillary discovers the incredible community in the Members Only Facebook group!
“Once I realized that there was this whole Facebook community, I literally thought it was a godsend. Not only do you create these activities, but there’s this community. Everybody’s just like, Yeah, let’s do it! Let’s do activities with our kids! It’s just the really joyful, fun environment that I was looking for. And I really didn’t think it existed. I thought I would have to create something myself. And that I was on this island of like, I am the only stay at home mom in the world who has the same issue.”
She shares with us how she has made connections in the group with other kids and moms and that even her daughter has been making friends in the group through looking at the pictures and doing the same activities.
Hillary tells us how much she loves that there are plans for you and mini challenges too.
But, everything is about helping you make it work for you. Not about a rigid schedule but cultivating a habit of doing activities with your kids whenever you can make it fit your life.
“It’s not like we’re held to some sort of standard or lesson where we have to follow exactly what Jamie says, or even do that activity that day. And even with a challenge, it’s so open ended. So it kind of fits whoever’s lifestyle. Now I’m a stay at home mom, but I feel like if I had found The Activity Room two years ago, it also would have been beneficial for me to just kind of squeeze in those little moments of time, where we needed something.”
Why Does She Want to Do Activities at Home?
Originally, Hillary tells us, she wanted to “create an environment in my home where my daughter felt like learning and playing were the same. And that it wasn’t a structured school time.”
“I want to do activities with my daughter to help her, as cliché as it sounds, to learn and grow to be her. To find out what she enjoys. And what brings her joy because that may be different than what brings me joy or what brings me joy with her.”
The bonus was just how much Hillary actually learned about her daughter through doing activities together.
“I also have found that I’ve learned a lot through The Activity Room and not just from activities, but what my daughter’s personality is. And how I can interact with her based on her personality through how she engages in activities. And so that was my main drive to do activities and want to join The Activity Room to do even more activities together.”
“Kids grow and develop their own personalities. You can learn a lot about them from doing activities, even the same activity from two years ago, may get a different reaction two years later.”
Almost a Year After Joining, Room has Changed Their Lives
The Activity Room has done more for Hillary and her home than simply having an activity to do every day.
“The Activity Room has helped me. One, let go of kind of expectations that I have for myself and my daughter. Two, that I don’t have to do an activity every day, but that we want to do it. And my daughter willingly in the morning asks, what are we doing today? And then when we’re done the activity, it’s not like, okay, we’re done. Now, can I go play? It’s like, what are we doing next?”
“A lot of times, she’ll come up with her own games or activities, where she’s going to be the parent, and she teaches me or sets up an activity for me to do. And that’s just been incredible. Because, again, I thought, I’m gonna have to plan all this stuff for her to do and there’s so many hours in the day. I’m going to be exhausted by the end of the day. And really just one activity planned by me kind of sets off this domino effect of her either wanting to do more, or her creating her own way of doing activities.”
Hillary tells us Room changed her as a mom and added joy to their home.
“After joining The Activity Room, I would describe myself as much more laid back. I follow her lead. I can follow the lead of some of the other members. That my idea isn’t always the best idea of how to do something. I also find that I am much more joyful and more happy. And not to say that I wasn’t happy before, I obviously was happy. But I feel like this has brought a lot of joy into our house. And there’s always laughter and fun.”
A Few Final Thoughts from Hillary
Hillary left us with some final thoughts for those out there who are not sure if this is right for them.
“What’s the difference between me having a Pinterest board and just having this [ROOM membership]? There’s a huge difference. The community that I am so thankful to be a part of, is the difference. And these are activities you want to do, your kids want to do them. And it’s not just a PDF file with activities to do. It’s so much bigger than that. And it’s priceless. Because of the amount of joy that it has brought my family, my husband, me, and my daughter.”
And a few final thoughts for dads too.
“My husband’s New Year’s resolution was to be a part of one activity each week with our daughter, and he works a very busy schedule. So, even though that seems attainable to some dads, it is a challenge for him. And he’s surpassed it every single week. He’s done three, sometimes four activities at a time with her now because he’s realized how simple they are. They can just be a short little five minute moment before bed, doing something together. For me, that’s just priceless.”
Let’s Meet Hillary
How many kids do you have and how old are they?
One, she’s 5.
Why do you love doing activities with your kids?
I love doing activities with my daughter because it brings her so much joy! I love seeing her smiling face throughout the activity and then at the end when she has accomplished the task!
How long have you been in The Activity Room?
I joined in August 2020
What is your favorite activity you’ve done in The Activity Room?
Anything with painters tape!
What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids when you get a few moments?
Read stories and play board games!
What’s your best tip for doing activities with your kids?
Just do it! You don’t need a fancy Pinterest activity to make your kids happy! They are going to love the simplest things. Most of the time you only need one supply! Creating a painters tape obstacle course is our favorite. We like to use different colored tape for different activities (red for stop, blue for spin, yellow for jump, etc.)
If you were to tell a friend about The Activity Room, what would you say to them?
The Activity Room is a timesaver to me. Before The Activity Room, I spent hours on Pinterest trying to find fun and educational activities/crafts that were also a simple easy and go set up.
Well as I am sure many of you know, you get stuck in this hour-long (but most likely longer) search where you find plenty of things to do, that you save them but you never do them.
Or better yet, you do set out to actually do an activity and it ends up taking a ton of supplies or set up and your kiddo completes it in 5 minutes!
Now with The Activity Room, I know that activities don’t need much! You don’t need a fancy set up. One supply can really provide hours and hours of fun!
Share your favorite quote
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
Mix-it-Up Popsicle Stick Pumpkin Craft:
Here is a super simple and fun Halloween activity to try with your kids at home! A fun little popsicle stick craft with mix and match pumpkin faces.
Supplies Needed to Make Your Own Mix-it-Up Popsicle Stick Pumpkin Craft:
- Craft sticks (plain or green and orange)
- Paint (orange and green)
- Black craft paint or markers (sharpies work great) or crayons
- velcro stickers (or self adhesive magnets, or even sticky tack)
Directions for Popsicle Stick Pumpkin Face Craft:
First, we painted a bunch of craft sticks orange (or you could just buy colored craft sticks).
You need at least 7 orange craft of popsicle sticks to fill up the pumpkin (4 plain orange, 1 set with eyes, 1 craft stick with a nose, and 1 with a mouth painted or drawn on them).
However, you’ll want to paint a few more (we did 10 total) so you can design different facial features to swap in and out.
Next, we painted another craft stick green on one end to make the pumpkin stem.
Turn Your Popsicle Craft into a Pumpkin Face Mix-it-Up Activity
After all of our orange craft sticks dried, we used a sharpie (you could use black paint, black markers, crayons, or stickers) to create different sets of eyes, noses, and mouths.
You can make as many popsicle pumpkin face pieces as you like!
We made two of each set: 2 eye choices, 2 nose choices, 2 mouth choices.
If you choose to paint the facial features allow paint to dry completely before completing the next step.
Then we attached seven small pieces of Velcro to the rest of the green-stemmed craft stick to attached the pumpkin face pieces to as part of the Mix-It-Up part of this craft activity. You could also use magnets or sticky tack.
This is what makes this popsicle stick pumpkin more than just a craft but a fun fine motor activity too! (If you’d rather not do the fine motor, mix-it-up part, you can just use glue instead of Velcro.)
Leave the very top of the popsicle stick green with no velcro as this part will peek out the top of this popsicle stick pumpkin!
This is our pumpkin “stem” and it is where we will attach (with Velcro) all of our pumpkin face pieces.
Then, attach the opposite velcro (or magnets or nothing) to the back of each of your orange pieces, in the middle of each popsicle stick.
Now it’s time to play and make lots of funny pumpkin faces!
I am so glad to have found The Activity Room! The online Facebook member community is amazing.
As a stay at home mom, I love the supportive group of moms and caregivers that are always there to leave a thoughtful and heartfelt comment!
This past year I have made many friendships that I hope will last me a lifetime.