Halloween is HAPPENING in a big way! We’ve been celebrating a very merry, not-so-scary All Hallows Eve with this grinning gourd shape sorter you can make from a couple cereal boxes! This is so wonderful for shape-learning, DIY fine motor skill practice and spatial recognition.
This adorable upcycled jack-o-lantern can ALSO be reused for a candy collector or bean-bag tossing game, after you’re done sorting shapes. Or put a flameless candle in it for a cute light-up tabletop jack-o-lantern!
For your own upcycled Jack-O-Lantern shape sorter you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- 2 Cereal Boxes (or Cardboard Boxes of any kind)
- Acrylic or tempera paints and brushes (I use Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint)
- Craft Glue, Mod Podge and/or a hot glue gun
- A Utility or X-Acto Knife
- Our Jack-O-Lantern Activity Printable Template Pack
- Your own shape blocks
Jack-O-Lantern Shape Sorter Instructions:
- Print and cut out our jack-o-lantern shape-sorter template
Download and print out our template – or freehand draw your own pumpkin! Our template is sized to take up 1 full sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper (landscape). Glue your pumpkin to a piece of cardboard using craft glue or mod podge and cut it out with good scissors or a utility knife.
- Trace and paint your jack-o-lantern’s face
Paint your jack-o-lantern with fun colors using an acrylic or tempera paint. Once your pumpkin has dried, cut out a face along our template lines, or using a combination of simple shapes. Our template has the jack-o-lantern face we’ve used, but also a blank pumpkin you can use to design your own face, expressions
andpersonality. Trace your face onto a cereal (or similar) box.
- Cut the traced face out of your box
Using a utility knife, cut the face out of your cereal box (or similar cardboard box). Now is also the time to cut out any additional elements you might want to add, like a stem or leaves.
- Glue your painted jack-o-lantern to the box, aligning the faces
Using a hot glue gun or craft glue, pop your pumpkin onto the front of the box, aligning the faces. Note: we glued a strip of green paper to the bottom of our box first to hide some space that wasn’t covered by our pumpkin.
Glue any other decorative pumpkin elements (we added a stem and leaves) to the inside of your box behind your pumpkin. You’re ready for shape sorting!
The dimensional sorting shapes don’t have to be anything fancy. You can size your cutouts to work with blocks you already have, or make 3-D shapes simply by folding strips of paper like I did. I cut 2″ strips of colorful cardstock, then folded into half-circles, triangles and square forms.
If Halloween and recycled cardboard go hand-in-hand for you too, you’ll love this DIY Lion King-inspired kids lion costume idea!
And we have so many more Halloween projects in store! For more seasonal DIYs visit:
- Our easy Feature Mix & Match Play Dough Jack-O-Lanterns
- Our DIY Wednesday Addams Softie Tutorial
- Our Free Printable Mini Halloween Doodle Books
- Our recipe for a healthier DIY Ecto-Cooler
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!
With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community.
When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.