Pppppp is for pumpkin painting, pouring, pounding, and playdough play

We have been doing lots of pumpkin exploration and our latest exploration includes pumpkin painting, pouring, pounding and playdough play….

Pumpkin Painting

We used the same pumpkins over several days for all of our play. We started with painting pumpkins on the first day…

The children found pumpkins and paint sitting out on one of our tables in the outdoor classroom.  We had gathered plenty of pumpkins for the purpose of exploration rather than to be used as a “take-home” type deal so the children were given lots of latitude to paint the pumpkins any way they wished…

The children painted all sides of the pumpkins. Some of the children painted faces but others preferred to paint designs or to explore a little color mixing on the pumpkins…

Gradually, more and more pumpkins made their way over to the painting table until every pumpkin had been beautiful decorated with paint…

Pumpkin Pounding

We used the same pumpkins (but on a different day) to explore pumpkin pounding…

These kids were crazy over pumpkin pounding – I mean they loved it! Absolutely loved it…

The children had to wear goggles if they wanted to pound the golf tees in the pumpkins and they had to wait until there was an open spot in order to take a turn.  But we had many other things in the classroom going on so the children did very well waiting for a spot to open up. Well, we did have to do a little negotiating along the way, but it was all worthwhile and everyone had plenty of time to take a turn at pumpkin pounding…

So what do you do once you have all of those golf tees in a pumpkin?  Hmmm, we have yet to figure that out but if we can’t pull them out then we will figure out something..

Pumpkin Playdough

On another day, we decorated our pumpkins with playdough…

Almost all of our store bought playdough colors are all mixed together now so we used it for one last time adding eyes, nose, mouth, ears and any other feature the children liked to our pumpkins…

The children kept adding to the pumpkins or taking the playdough off and starting over…

Pumpkin Pouring

Our pumpkin water play didn’t include the use of real pumpkins but instead we used our water bottles and our pumpkin water (red and yellow water mixed together)….

It is getting pretty cold outside now so this will be one of our last days for outdoor water play…

So the children mixed up the yellow and orange water to make pumpkin water and then enjoyed a little pumpkin water pouring…

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By |2012-10-16T06:00:43+00:00October 16th, 2012|

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. Andrea October 16, 2012 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    Were the kids’ hands dyed by the colored water? I want to try an activity where the kids mix cold, cooked spaghetti with red and yellow food coloring and make prints. I’m concerned about their hands getting stained. What are your thoughts? My little bugs are two so whatever we use to color the noodles MUST be non-toxic. Thanks for your time.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 1:09 am - Reply

      Hi Andrea,
      I use food color for most food products I use in the classroom without any problem of dying the kids hands. If you let them handle the food color straight out of the bottle, then their hands will turn color but even that will wash away by the next day. But if you dilute the color – like you see in the water table, it will not stain hands. My suggestion is for you to try it yourself on your own hands and see what works. That is really the best way to help you decide. Use it as an excuse to play:)

  2. Mary October 16, 2012 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Thank you for Sharing this activity, which to me is like a Pumpkin Workshop. The photos show the children enjoyed and had a great time. It is worth sharing with others. Best, Mary@diligentnanny.webs.com

  3. cathie j October 16, 2012 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Do much to do this time of year. Is amazing how many wonderful ideas are available. Thanks for sharing.
    Come visit and see what’s happening at toddlersthroughpreschool.com.
    Cathie J

  4. Elizabeth Ashton October 16, 2012 at 11:43 am - Reply

    What type of paint was used for the pumpkin painting? I would like to know the kind that will STICK to the pumpkin! Thank you for all your wonderful ideas.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 1:11 am - Reply

      We used liquid tempera paint by Crayola. It will wash off with soap and water. But it paints a dry pumpkin nicely for our purpose!

  5. Julia October 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    I love pounding golf tees into pumpkins!!! I can’t believe how focused the very active little guys can be with this activity 🙂 Last year we gave our kiddos a pair of pliers and they got most of the tees out – lots of strength required! I think we are going to try out pumpkin water mixing & pouring too, I love it!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 1:13 am - Reply

      I found my pliers. We will see if we can pull some of them out tomorrow!

  6. Pat Noe October 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Loved all the pumpkin ideas! My class of 4-yr-olds do much of the same, too! Here is another idea: use some of the plastic “accessories” from a Mr. Potato Head game & push them into the holes already made in the pumpkins! Our kids LOVED giving the pumpkins funny eyes, noses, ears, etc!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 1:12 am - Reply

      Oh that is such a cute idea! Gonna grab my potato head pieces!

  7. Nadine October 23, 2012 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    as usual, great activities! A question though… How do you get the kids to not make too much of a mess? All these loose and tiny pieces. I teach in a nursery/preschool at the moment with 2’s and 3’s in one group. Whereas the big kids have grasped the concept of cleanliness and order, the littler ones love to play with blocks, yes. But they LOVE to also throw them all over the floor. I can’t even begin to imagine how your pea activity from the last post would have played out in my classroom! How do you keep a lid on things? Do you give kids an initial keep-things-tidy workshop? 😉

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Nadine,
      Well, if I had twos in my classroom, I would most likely have to adjust what I do with the children so that it would work well for children that age. My class is children ages 3 to 5 so they have a good grasp on what the boundaries are and although we do get things scattered all over the floor on some days, I don’t let it be my guide for the things I do rather we just sit down at the end of a day and work together to get our room back into order. My students are very involved not only in the play and exploration but in the care of our classroom. We spend just as much time teaching how to put a wet painting in the paint drying rack or how to put papers in your back pack or how to wash hands and use only one paper towel as we do teaching what would be considered the more “academic” concepts. In other words – we are always a work in progress and my students are always learning to become more responsible but along the way, we do have messes (or peas squashed all over the floor) at the end of a day. We just work together to put it all back up and then take time to notice how beautiful our classroom is when we get it all done 🙂

      I hope this helps!


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