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Pumpkin patch, activities providing sense of normalcy

Staff Sgt. Megan Aycock, Colorado Springs Regional Command Post emergency actions controller, left, hands a pumpkin to her daughter Mabry, 1, as they prepare to leave the Child Development Center at Schriever Air Force Base Oct. 23, 2020. Parents picked up pumpkins to decorate for fun or to enter into the 50th Force Support Squadron’s pumpkin carving contest. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Staff Sgt. Megan Aycock, Colorado Springs Regional Command Post emergency actions controller, left, hands a pumpkin to her daughter Mabry, 1, as they prepare to leave the Child Development Center at Schriever Air Force Base Oct. 23, 2020. Parents picked up pumpkins to decorate for fun or to enter into the 50th Force Support Squadron’s pumpkin carving contest. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Phoenix, 3, left, and Axton, 5, carry a pumpkin during the 50th Force Support Squadron’s pumpkin patch event at the Child Development Center Oct. 23, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The CDC held the pumpkin patch indoors to accommodate for inclement weather. The children selected a pumpkin to take home and decorate. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Phoenix, 3, left, and Axton, 5, carry a pumpkin during the 50th Force Support Squadron’s pumpkin patch event at the Child Development Center Oct. 23, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The CDC held the pumpkin patch indoors to accommodate for inclement weather. The children selected a pumpkin to take home and decorate. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Tucker, 2, paints his pumpkin Oct. 23, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The 50th Force Support Squadron provided pumpkins to Team Schriever members as part of their planned activities for Halloween. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Tucker, 2, paints his pumpkin Oct. 23, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The 50th Force Support Squadron provided pumpkins to Team Schriever members as part of their planned activities for Halloween. (U.S. Space Force photo by Marcus Hill)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The Child Development Center’s pumpkin patch on Oct. 23 was the first family-involvement event since March.

The coronavirus pandemic stymied numerous events at the 50th Force Support Squadron’s Child Development Center and stifled many programs offered its children.   

Tara Archuleta, the CDC’s training and curriculum specialist, said the pumpkin patch provided a sense of normalcy for parents and kids.

“We had to do something to make the families feel more involved and to boost morale,” Archuleta said. “The [events] toward the end of the year – Fall Fest and our events in December – are our popular ones. We wanted a bit of normalcy for the start of fall.”

During the event, kids painted pumpkins and performed experiments with them such as filling them with baking soda and vinegar, which caused a chemical reaction that made the pumpkin fizz from the mixture. Parents also selected pumpkins to either take home to paint or carve.

Staff Sgt. Megan Aycock, Colorado Springs Regional Command Post emergency actions controller, had the opportunity to allow her daughter, Mabry, 1, to enjoy something outside of their home.

“Going out in town, I know I wouldn’t necessarily feel as safe as I did with an on-base event,” Aycock said. “My daughter is an only child, so it’s important for her to get out and have those interactions with younger people.”

Archuleta realizes the importance of the pumpkin patch, not just for adults, but for kids to have a sense of normal life.

Allowing kids to release their energy outdoors allows CDC caregivers to do their jobs efficiently. It also gives kids the chance to communicate with other children, Archuleta said.

“It was nice for kids to interact with their peers,” Archuleta said. “The [caregivers] are so passionate about taking care of those kids and treat the kids like they’re their own.”

The CDC continues to slowly implement more family involvement events as well as playground activities such as riding tricycles and scooters.   

The CDC will host a recyclable art day in November and will hold a gingerbread house building day in December.

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