8 Reasons why you should Paint Pumpkins with Toddlers

It’s that time of year again when we all go a little crazy for pumpkins. But what exactly is the easiest way to paint pumpkins with toddlers? and why should you do it?

All you really need is a few pumpkins, some poster paints, a paint brush and water.

This activity is ideal for toddlers who are passed the ‘mouth everything in sight phase’ and is great for helping with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

In this blog post we will explore 8 reasons why you should paint pumpkins with toddlers and also introduce one of the easiest ways to do this.

an overhead image of three pumpkins that have been painted by a toddler

Why Paint Pumpkins with Toddlers?

Many activities in early childhood might come with the question, ‘Why?’ Why paint pumpkins with toddlers when a piece of paper or cardboard might do just as well? Whilst I definitely encourage you to do as much painting as possible, the primary reason to paint pumpkins with toddlers is to help them make connections to the season whilst being creative.

Here is a full list of reasons why you should paint pumpkins with toddlers:

Seasonal Awareness: Painting pumpkins is a wonderful way to introduce toddlers to the concept of seasons, specifically autumn and Halloween. You can discuss the changing weather, fall traditions, and the significance of pumpkins during this time of year.

Fine Motor Skills Development: Painting pumpkins involves using small brushes and handling paint, which helps toddlers refine their fine motor skills. This activity requires precision and control, encouraging the development of small muscle groups in their hands and fingers.

Hand-Eye Coordination: As toddlers use brushes to apply paint to the pumpkins, they enhance their hand-eye coordination. This skill is crucial for activities like writing, drawing, and even everyday tasks like eating with utensils.

Creativity and Expression: Painting pumpkins allows toddlers to express their creativity. They can choose colors, create patterns, and experiment with different designs, fostering their artistic expression and imagination.

Colour Recognition: This activity offers an opportunity for children to learn and identify various colors. You can engage them in discussions about the colors they’re using and help them name and differentiate between them.

Cognitive Development: Painting pumpkins encourages cognitive development as children make decisions about color choices, plan their designs, and solve problems, such as how to mix colors to get the desired shades.

Sensory Exploration: Toddlers explore different sensory experiences while painting pumpkins. They can feel the texture of the pumpkin’s surface, the smoothness of the paint, and the visual appeal of colors blending together.

Patience and Focus: This activity can teach toddlers patience as they wait for their pumpkin creations to dry and focus as they concentrate on their painting tasks. It’s an excellent opportunity to develop their attention span.


an image of a three year old boy painting pumpkins

What is the easiest way to paint pumpkins with toddlers?


  • Non-toxic, washable poster paints – ours is by a brand called Pelican
  • Chunky paint brushes
  • A selection of pumpkins
  • Water
  • towel or cloth for clean up time
  • A messy mat to catch spills
  • tuff spot tray / tray or Flisat table



Place a messy mat on the ground to catch any spills, then place a Flisat table, tuff spot tray or large tray on top.

Put the pumpkins onto the tray or table, along with the paints, water and brushes.

Invite your child to paint!

If you need help getting started with messier activities, you can read more here. 

And if you were thinking that the end result would be chaotic, just look how pretty they turned out!

3 pumpkins from the paint pumpkins with toddlers activity on display in the play space


At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

If you enjoyed this simple way to paint pumpkins with toddlers and wanted to find more fun Autumn themed activities, check out the At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp in my membership group. If you would like to access the content, you can check it out here. 

This image shows a timetable for an Autumn art & sensory camp. The pumpkin hammer art is one of the activities included

Autumn Blog posts to read next:

If you loved this blog post on why you should paint pumpkins with toddlers, you might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

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

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

Farm Playdough Ideas

Sunflower Sensory Play Activity 

Pumpkin Hammer Art 

Pumpkin Gloop 

Simple Autumn Sensory: Pumpkin soup

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you  want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, 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:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

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.