More than one way to carve a Pumpkin

by Therapro

It is October and it’s time to harvest not only pumpkins and apples, but also the sensory experience this time brings. Have you ever broken down all the sensory input that the simple task of carving a pumpkin can provide? If you have the opportunity to go to a farm to pick your own pumpkin, take advantage of it. The experiences that you and your child will share stay with you forever.

Read on for all the ways a trip to pick your own pumpkin is sensational fun.  


Sensory Experiences


At the Farm

At Home


  • The leaves changing colors
  • The bright orange pumpkins
  • The roots and vines through the pumpkin patch
  • The blue sky
  • The animals at the farm
  • Browsing through different designs for the pumpkin
  • Tracing the design unto the pumpkin


  • Feeling the breeze
  • Touching the Leaves


  • Feeling the grooves on the pumpkin
  • Scooping the pulp
  • Sifting through the pulp to separate the seeds

Auditory (hearing)

  • Shoes crunching the dead leaves and dry ground
  • Tractor on the farm
  • Hearing other people talking
  • The animals making noises
  • Singing Songs as you prepare to carve the pumpkin
  • Listening as the carving tool cuts through the pumpkin


Olfactory (smell)

  • The smell of the hay
  • The smell of the grass
  • Baked goods at the farm
  • The smell of the pumpkin pulp
  • The smell as you bake the pumpkin seeds or other desserts


  • Carrying the pumpkin from the patch to the car
  • Climbing up the ladder to go on the hay ride
  • Carry the pumpkin to the table
  • The feeling of carving the pumpkin (this must be done with adult supervision and using the appropriate tools)


  • Going on a hay ride
  • Sitting on a rocking chair while enjoying some of the baked goods

Gustatory (Taste)

  • If the farm has a bakery, get some of their delicious baked goods
  • Bake pumpkin seeds (see recipe below)


Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

  1. Separate the seeds from the pulp.
  2. Rinse and dry the seeds (sometimes they have to dry overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
  4. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle to taste with the seasonings of your choice. For sweet seeds use Cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, for salty seeds use garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer.

For more seasonal activities get Therapro’s Hats Off and On to Scissors Skills- you get to practice scissor skills and make hats for every season. Below are pictures of a Pumpkin Time Hat.

Also see our seasonal writing readiness workbooks and our Pre-writing curriculum enrichment series!

Please share other ideas and ways you can have sensational fun this fall.



Therapro’s Free Activity of the Month: Straws Galore

by Therapro

If you are looking for cost effective and easy to make fine motor activities, you need Therapro’s Second Hand Therapies cards. This set of 40 activity cards features stunning images of activities made from recyclable materials. What we love most about the activity cards is that they are easy to use and show you the difficulty level, the hand function used, and the materials needed. They are perfect for home use or for a classroom group activity.

Below is a sample of Straws Galore, one of the activities in Second Hand Therapies.

When using straws to make jewelry, not only are the kids using fine motor skills, they are practicing their scissor skills, eye hand coordination, color recognition, size differentiation, counting, learning patterns, and so many more skills. 


  • Straws of varying sizes and colors
  • Yarn, pipe cleaners, or embroidery thread
  • Tweezers
  • Medium-Sized Bowls


  1. Hold the straw with your non-dominant hand. Use your dominant hand to cut the straws into small to medium sized pieces. Collect the pieces in a bowl.
  2. String the straw pieces onto yarn or pipe cleaner as though they were beads.
  3. Practice removing the straw pieces using tweezers for pinch strength development.


  1. Instead of jewelry make letters with the straws. Have the child spell his name.
  2. Get creative and make animal silhouettes.
  3. Give the child a challenge. What can you make with 3 pieces of straw?
  4. Sprinkle glitter on the bowl containing the straw pieces for an added color fest!
  5. Use different scissors, such as scrapbooking scissors for different edging on your straw pieces.

What did you make with your straws?

Clinical Music Therapy with Children Diagnosed with Special Needs - September 20th Seminar

by Therapro

“Music is a universal language,” explained Kayla Daly, MA, MT-BC, LMHC at Therapro’s recent Saturday seminar entitled: Clinical Music Therapy with Children Diagnosed with Special Needs.In addition to being a board certified music therapist, Kayla, like many other graduate-level trained therapists in her profession, is a licensed mental health counselor. Kayla provided a glimpse into the practice of music therapy, described as a “multi-modal approach.” She utilizes a goal-oriented, developmental approach to treatment. In her presentation, she dismissed a common myth that many may associate with providing music therapy, namely that it is purely aesthetic. It is a “process oriented” therapeutic modality rather than being “product oriented.”  The video clips she showed of treatment sessions, as well as live use of her guitar and voice during her presentation were both enlightening and fun.



Music therapy is IDEA regulated. Since the passage of Public Law 94-142, 35 years ago, credentialed music therapists have been providing services to children with disabilities. In 2010, the US Department of education clarified the recognition of music therapy as a “related service” under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).  Music therapy can be an integral component in helping a child achieve educational goals that have been identified on his/her IEP.



Music therapy is a service that can work closely and cooperatively with other more traditional therapies to benefit a child. Kayla discussed the value of co-treating with therapists of other disciplines to ensure teamwork and the best outcome for each child.




Music therapy can make a difference for young children with special needs!




Those who attended this seminar were primarily OTs and educators from a variety of school settings. Attendees echoed a common positive response to Kayla’s presentation:

“Excellent speaker - excellent presentation, interesting”

“Excellent material, fun & well presented”

“I would recommend this seminar because it benefits everyone and so we can all be on the same page - knowledge is power, which creates success.”

Thank you, Kayla!

Filomena Connor, MS, OTR/L

September 20, 2014