Celebrate the fruits (and vegetables) of fall

Give your decorative gourds and pumpkins a little more flavor by getting the kids to put a personal spin on their favorite fall fruits and vegetables.

Instead of sticking a cornucopia filled with seasonal squashes and Indian corn in the middle of the dining room table, lay out paint, buttons and fabric and let your children get creative.

Encourage them to make new friends by painting funny faces on pumpkins. They might also use Indian corn husks for hair or pieces of other vegetables as facial features to make organic playmates.

When they've finished, have them introduce their new acquaintances to everyone. Foster their imaginations by asking them to write and illustrate mini-biographies of each character in a handmade book using markers and construction paper.

After the meet-and-greet, hold a dinner party in honor of your new family members. Use the same seasonal vegetables as those the kids decorated to show them how yummy healthy dishes can be. You might make pumpkin soup to warm everyone up or serve squash with butter and brown sugar. Just make sure you don't accidentally dice up one of your guests!

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