Magnetic pumpkin play for preschoolers

This is an idea that started with the DIY – magnetic can play set I shared earlier this year. I wasn’t sure if the magnets would stick once I painted my cans but I decided to give it a go.

I spray painted the cans with black and orange paint and I added magnets to orange and black pom-poms for the children to stick to the cans…

Most of the children didn’t seem too interested in making pumpkin faces which is what I thought they would do – instead they just liked decorating the cans in all sorts of ways…

I heard comments like “I am making a pretty dress” and “This is a present for my boy friend.”

The pan you see the magnetic pom-poms and cans on is also magnetic.  I got the idea of using a large metal “grease pan” from Brick by Brick some time ago.  But I got tired of looking at the boring metal color and painted the pan with spray paint too. It is now bright white on one side and bright red on the back side.  It didn’t lose the magnetic quality and now it makes a much prettier magnetic surface to play on…

I set the magnetic pumpkin set and surface all out on our tinker table for play.

By |2011-10-15T06:00:57+00:00October 15th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Little Wonders' Days October 15, 2011 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Clever idea. I was just thinking about doing a magnetic/nonmagnetic tray for my little ones and this would be a fun addition.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      This works out very well for a large magnetic play space!

  2. kristin @preschool daze October 15, 2011 at 9:21 am - Reply

    of course!

    (again, i say)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 15, 2011 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      Haha – You make me smile Kristin!

  3. andiejaye October 15, 2011 at 11:03 am - Reply

    for a boyfriend? ahaha! that’s really a fun idea. i think my bear might like something like that! and i like the name “tinker table.”

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 15, 2011 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      We interchange the tinker table to a sand table but I like to add things the children can tinker with too at times so we call it a tinker table too!

  4. Scott October 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    I love the white surface of the magnet board. I’ll bet the red is cool, too. I may have to spruce up my magnet board, too. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      I love the white so it shows up all the colors on the board but the red side is very pretty:)

  5. Vicki Blacken October 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    I wonder if you could glue magnets to the back of some colorful, foam feather, head, beak, shapes and use the orange cans again next month for the children to create some turkey cans! I think I’ll give this a try. I really like the idea of using a metal base for more exploration too. Thanks again for all your terrific ideas and ways to recycle!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Oooh, great way to use the cans again and I am sure you could use the magnets on the back of foam cut outs!! Ingenious!!

  6. Rachelle | TinkerLab October 16, 2011 at 3:11 am - Reply

    You’re so clever!! We’ll definitely give this a try soon.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 10:25 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Rachelle!

  7. Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree October 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    What a Great idea! Love that you always extend all the activities! You could make lots of play sets with different themes.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Yes – You really could!

  8. Sabina October 18, 2011 at 8:03 am - Reply

    love, love the idea.
    I am going to use this idea for my sensory bin at the childcare centre.
    Thank you.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      That’s wonderful Sabina! Have fun!

  9. Kristina October 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    You have so many ideas, but this has to be one of my favorites! (although I feel like I say that every time I stop by… but you’re always finding something new and fun)

    Would love you to come link up your favorite October post on my linky today.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      I am linked up!

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