Leaf Pumpkin Craft

Leaf Pumpkin Craft is the perfect Halloween craft for Fall. A cute craft for toddlers & preschoolers that can be combined with a nature walk! The post Leaf Pumpkin Craft appeared first on HAPPY TODDLER PLAYTIME.

Leaf Pumpkin Craft

INSIDE: Leaf Pumpkin Craft is the perfect Halloween craft for Fall. An easy and cute craft for toddlers and preschoolers that can be combined with a nature walk in Fall!

Perfect Halloween Craft for Fall

This is the perfect halloween craft for fall! It uses the most abundant material that we have outside (if you are lucky enough to live in an region that has trees that change colour. So to start this activity you need to take a walk outside and check out all the colours of fall! Grab a few leaves that are as orange as you can find. When we did this craft the leaves hadn’t changed that much so we couldn’t find really orange leaves but I think did pretty good!

Ok ready to check out the craft!

Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon.

Toilet Paper Tube Halloween Crafts

Engage your child in hours of play with my colorful collection of sensory bin activities that aid with memory formation, language development, problem-solving skills and more. Perfect for toddlers from eighteen months to three years old and beyond, each bin makes use of materials you already have at home and helps reignite your kids’ interest in toys long forgotten.

Toilet Paper Tube Halloween Crafts

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Leaf Pumpkin Craft

Leaf Pumpkin Craft

  1. Grab your orange leaves from outside and glue them to a sheet of construction paper or cardstock.
  2. Out of black construction paper cut out faces for the pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns.
  3. Glue them down on the leaves.
  4. Cut out stems out of green construction paper and glue it down to the top of the pumpkin jack-o-lanterns.

Age Suitability

This activity is good for kids 2 years and up. My kids are 3.5, 3.5, and 7 year old.

Supplies Leaf Pumpkin Craft

(This post and list contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a commission. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.)

  • Orange leaves
  • Black and green construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Craft Glue

Looking for more Halloween Activities? Check out these fun ideas:

  • 50+ Halloween Activities for Kids
  • 40+ Halloween Sensory Bins
  • 20+ Halloween Sticky Walls
  • 30 Adorable Pumpkin Activities & Crafts
  • 25+ Pumpkin Painting Ideas for Kids
  • 31 Adorable Toddler Halloween Costumes
  • 19 Halloween Sticker Activities
  • 20 Cool Ghost Activities & Crafts
  • 20 Witch Crafts & Activities for Kids
  • 40+ Spider Crafts & Activities for Kids
  • 20 Haunted House Crafts for Kids
  • 24+ Skeleton Crafts & Activities for Kids
  • 20+ Bat Activities & Crafts for Kids

STEAM Activity Book

Looking for a fun activity book for your preschooler this summer? Check out my new book Super STEAM Activity Book: Launch Learning with Fun Mazes, Dot-to-Dots, Search-the-Page Puzzles, and More! ! Click here to learn more or order it now!

Toilet Paper Tube Halloween Crafts

WILL YOU MAKE THIS LEAF PUMPKIN CRAFT WITH YOUR CHILD THIS HALLOWEEN? PIN IT FOR LATER!

Leaf Pumpkin Craft

The post Leaf Pumpkin Craft appeared first on HAPPY TODDLER PLAYTIME.

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Malaria Vaccination: Will it Be Available to Pregnant Women?

For a year, we have been discussing vaccines against SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19, which people from many walks of life have poo pooed whenever reports have come out putting the efficacy of one vaccine or another below let’s say 90 percent. Throughout the pandemic, we have discussed why such a perspective is wrong. As the expression goes, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The approved COVID-19 vaccines vary in terms of the efficacy against developing any symptoms at all, including mild disease, and against whether or not you may, if exposed to the virus, The post Malaria Vaccination: Will it Be Available to Pregnant Women? appeared first on The Pulse.

Malaria Vaccination: Will it Be Available to Pregnant Women?

For a year, we have been discussing vaccines against SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19, which people from many walks of life have poo pooed whenever reports have come out putting the efficacy of one vaccine or another below let’s say 90 percent. Throughout the pandemic, we have discussed why such a perspective is wrong. As the expression goes, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The approved COVID-19 vaccines vary in terms of the efficacy against developing any symptoms at all, including mild disease, and against whether or not you may, if exposed to the virus, test positive, despite being fully vaccinated several months before the exposure. But over all, for those who are not immunocompromised (such as organ transplant recipients, certain cancer patients), even many months after full vaccination efficacy remains close to 100 percent when it comes to the main purpose for which the vaccines were created, namely protection against severe COVID-19, disability, and death. This means that whether you received the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), the AstraZeneca/Oxford, the Pfizer/BioNTech or the current media favorite, Moderna, you are extremely well protected, including if you are pregnant, when being unvaccinated puts you at particularly elevated risk of having a severe case of COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization, ICU admission, invasive ventilation, or of dying. In very real sense, society has held COVID-19 vaccination to a much higher standard than it has held vaccination against any other disease, complaining, not only about less-than-perfect efficacy, rare adverse effects, but also about possible emerging needs for a booster dose, meaning a third dose of one of the mRNA vaccines or of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or a second dose of Janssen. It’s as if people have forgotten that immunization regimens for most of the infectious diseases for which we vaccinate require multiple initiating doses and/or booster shots, because of the nature of how immunity works.

So how then might you react to news about a newly approved vaccine that requires 4 shots that if administered on the proper schedule give an efficacy of about 40 percent? What with the criticism that we have been hearing about the COVID-19 vaccines or for that matter vaccines against seasonal influenza, we might expect harsh remarks from the average person on the street, and, sadly, various politicians and media personalities. But that’s the efficacy range of the vaccine called RTS,S (trade name Mosquirix) that the World Health Organization (WHO) approved recently to confront malaria. And WHO approved it, because it is expected to make an enormous impact in malaria endemic countries, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives annually, mostly children. Children, you see, are particularly vulnerable to the causative agents malaria, a group of parasites within the biological genus called Plasmodium, but pregnant women constitute another group that is particularly vulnerable to developing severe malarial disease and dying from it.

Up until now, all vaccines approved for clinical use have been for protection against either viruses or bacteria, or, in the special setting of immunotherapy, human cancer cells. We’ll leave the cancer immunotherapy for another day, and consider malaria vaccination in comparison with vaccination against viral and bacterial agents. Although malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, scientists have been working on malaria vaccines for decades, but only now have reached the point at which several vaccine candidates are nearly ready for clinical use, RTS, S being the first one to win WHO approval.

Currently, the most common species of Plasmodium causing malaria in pregnant women is one called Plasmodium falciparum, which resists many of the drugs used to treat malaria, including the anti-malaria drugs that can be given safely during pregnancy. Another species that is fairly common in malaria in pregnancy is Plasmodium vivax. People become infected with Plasmodium parasites when they are bitten by a female Anopheles mosquito, which lives in hot, humid climates, making sub-Saharan Africa the epicenter of malaria, but the disease is also endemic on other tropical places. Malaria presents itself with severe fever —so high that the fever itself is life threatening— and chills, along with sweating, fatigue, headache, muscle pains, and nausea and vomiting. It also causes anemia –low numbers of red blood cells– which if severe can lead to heart failure. The fact that pregnancy also causes anemia is one reason why malaria hits pregnant women worse than it hits their non-pregnant counterparts, but pregnancy also makes women more vulnerable because of issues involving the immune system. On top of this, malaria puts the fetus at risk of low birth weight and spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).

Malaria causes anemia, because special proteins on the outside of the Plasmodium parasite —which is a single cell, but a complex cell, like our cells— attach to particular particular molecules on the surface of red blood cells, causing the cells to break as the parasite transforms and multiples in the red blood cell. The surface molecules differ among the red blood cells of the human population, leading to varying vulnerabilities of different people to malaria, plus there is another thing that makes red blood cells particularly resistant to the parasite and that is the sickle cell gene. Children who have one sickle cell gene from each parent generally do not do well and without modern medical care do not survive. But people with a sickle cell gene from just one parent —we say that they have not sickle cell disease, but sickle cell trait— make some of what is called hemoglobin S, which messes up the shape of red blood cells, but also makes it harder for the Plasmodium to infect those cells. Similar protection results from other conditions that involve abnormal red blood cell shape. While the presence of the sickle cell gene causes some babies to be born with sickle cell disease and to die, many more babies are born with sickle cell trait and they benefit in places where malaria is endemic. Like doctors balancing the benefits and drawbacks of various treatments, evolution also makes such tradeoffs.

The notorious high fever of malaria also develops at the time that the parasite infects red blood cells, but the interaction with red blood cells does not happen right after the mosquito bite. Rather, the mosquito injects. As noted above, Plasmodium is a complex organism. As such, it has a complicated lifestyle, transitioning into different forms as it goes through its life cycle. Just as a human begins as an embryo, then a fetus, then an infant, a child, and so on, the Plasmodium goes through various phases. What enters the blood from a mosquito bite is a sporozoite, a form of Plasmodium parasite that likes to infect liver cells, where it thrives, and matures over about seven days, into thousands of merozoites, which leave the liver and travel in the blood to encounter red blood cells. During those days after the mosquito bite, while the parasite is only in the liver, the victim does not feel sick and the merozoites and sporozoites are different, as far as what the immune system sees. They have different proteins on their exteriors, as does yet another form of the parasite that leaves the victim in blood when yet another female Anopheles mosquito bites, thereby infecting her. For vaccine developers considering the issue since the middle of the last century, this has raised the question of which form of the parasite would make the best target for a vaccine to teach the immune system to recognize?

In some experimental vaccines, including the RTS,S that was just approved, the goal has been to immunize against the sporozoites that the victim receives from the mosquito, that go to the liver. Specifically, the vaccine utilizes a protein on the sporozoite surface called circumsporozoite protein, but this protein alone would not create good immunity and certainly not lasting immunity. One phenomenon that makes malaria a challenge to vaccine designers is that the parasite itself does not generate good immunity, which is why people can get malaria multiple time. To counter this problem, scientists used genetic engineering to create a combined protein that includes a region of the circumsporozoite protein that the immune system sees and also includes the protein that is used in the hepatitis B vaccine. The fact that the business end of the RTS,S vaccine is a protein, or a fusion of a few proteins, means that we can classify the vaccine into the same category as the Novavax vaccine for COVID-19 that may soon receive emergency use authorization, and for that matter the same category as the hepatitis vaccine. This means that there will be no reason for pregnant women to avoid the RTS,S vaccine for malaria, in contrast with another malaria vaccine that is in the works that requires more caution as it is made by irradiating Plasmodium parasites to make them into a live attenuated vaccine. Such live vaccines are avoided in pregnancy, because of a hypothetical risk to infect the fetus, although one cannot really know that any particular live vaccine will do this.

The RTS,S vaccine is most effective in young children, so we don’t know yet if this will be the vaccine for pregnant women in malaria endemic areas to get. Importantly, this vaccine, and the others that will follow, must be used in combination with other preventive measures, such as insecticide-treated netting (ITN), drainage or elimination of standing water sources, and insect repellent. One additional measure under development involves genetically modified male Anopheles mosquitos that can be introduced in to malaria-infested regions of the world. Only female mosquitos bite humans, but the modified male mosquitos mate with the females to produce either sterile baby mosquitos, or mosquitos that never hatch. The most advanced genetic modification project involves what is called a gene drive. In this method, experimental male mosquitos carry a gene that makes mosquitos immune to Plasmodium parasites, and that gene is transmitted through succeeding generations of mosquitos until the entire population of the insects is immune to the parasite.

The post Malaria Vaccination: Will it Be Available to Pregnant Women? appeared first on The Pulse.

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