Hammering Pumpkins! A fun and easy fine motor activity for Autumn

Have you ever tried hammering pumpkins? Whilst it might sound like a rather bizarre activity, it’s such a fun one to do during the Autumn months. Bookmark this post and add to your ‘must do’ list for the Fall season.

Whilst hammering pumpkins is predominately an activity intended for toddlers and preschoolers, I have to say it’s rather therapeutic for adults too. You can do this activity with a school group, playgroup, at home or as part of an Autumn themed celebration.

When we initially did this hammering pumpkins activity years ago, we simply used golf tees and a wooden hammer. But as my children have got older, we’ve turned the pumpkins into an artistic sculpture using paints, eco-glitter and flowers.

This is fun for all ages. At the very base level, it is a fantastic activity for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, but it’s also allows children of all ages to have fun and get creative with pumpkin decoration without the added stress of attempting to carve one.

But I know what you must be thinking – hammers and preschoolers, really?! Handing a hammer to a preschooler doesn’t sound like the best idea. However, I’m talking about using a child-sized wooden hammer here – something that will allow your child to get used to the motion needed.

Hammering pumpkins really appealed to my youngest son (3 at the time) who was exploring the trajectory schema with gusto. If your child is currently in a phase of wanting to hit, throw, run and jump, this might just be the activity for you.

a toddler enjoys hammering pumpkins by using a wooden hammer and golf tees



The task is simple: children use a wooden hammer to tap golf tees into pumpkins. This seemingly straightforward activity is actually a goldmine for developing important skills, such as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of hammering pumpkins and provide a step-by-step guide to get you started.


Materials Needed:

In order to recreate this hammering pumpkins activity, you will need a few everyday resources from your home as well as

  • medium-sized pumpkins
  • Golf tees
  • Wooden hammer or mallet
  • Safety goggles
  • Optional: paint, markers, eco glitter  for decoration

As an alternative activity, you can also use styrofoam from packaging instead of a pumpkin:

instead of hammering pumpkins you can also use styrofoam as demonstrated in this photo


Step 1: Safety First

Before starting, you may wish to protect your child’s eyes from any flying debris with the use of safety googles – these can often be found it science kits for children.

Step 2: Set Up

Place a small pumpkin on a stable surface. You can do this activity outdoors or lay down a sheet for easier cleanup indoors.

Step 3: Demonstrate

Show your child how to hold the golf tee against the pumpkin and gently tap it using the wooden hammer.

Step 4: Let Them Try

Encourage your child to try hammering a few golf tees into the pumpkin. It may take a few attempts to get the hang of it, and that’s okay.

Step 5: Get Creative

Once they have mastered the basic hammering technique, allow them to get creative. They can try creating patterns or even letters with the golf tees.

Step 6: Optional Decoration

If you like, use paint or markers to add more decorations to your pumpkin.

Step 7: Cleanup

Don’t forget to clean up after you’re done. Dispose of or store all materials properly.


Benefits of Hammering Pumpkins

  1. Fine Motor Skills: The act of holding the golf tee and hammering it into the pumpkin helps in the development of fine motor skills.
  2. Hand-Eye Coordination: Precisely tapping the golf tee into the pumpkin enhances hand-eye coordination.
  3. Sensory Exploration: The textures and colours of the pumpkin provide a rich sensory experience.
  4. Creativity and Imagination: Children can get creative with their hammering patterns or designs, helping to cultivate their artistic sides.
  5. Focus and Concentration: The activity requires a good deal of attention, helping to improve your child’s focus and concentration.
  6. Safety Awareness: Wearing safety goggles introduces the concept of taking safety precautions while performing certain tasks.
  7. Following Instructions: Learning to follow a sequence of actions helps children understand the importance of following instructions.
  8. Emotional Regulation: The repetitive action can be calming and offer a way for children to manage their emotions.
  9. Independence: Children gain a sense of independence and accomplishment from completing the activity on their own.
  10. Social Skills: This can be turned into a group activity, helping children develop social skills like sharing and cooperation.


Hammering pumpkins is not just a fun activity; it’s also educational. From developing fine motor skills to enhance focus and creativity, the benefits are extensive. Whether you’re a parent looking for an enriching activity or a preschool teacher interested in Montessori methods, hammering pumpkins offers a valuable learning experience for children.

as an extension to the hammering pumpkins activity, try adding paint, eco glitter, flowers and craft supplies

Autumn Blog posts to read next:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Are you currently planning all things Autumn?

If you enjoyed this hammering pumpkins activity idea, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Autumn at Home Art and Sensory Camp

Family Rhythms for Autumn

Autumn Break with Kids 

Halloween with little kids? 

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.