Pumpkin hammer art! A creative take on a classic activity

We’re always looking for a new and creative twist on an old activity – this season we combined two to make pumpkin hammer art! We’ve been doing ‘pumpkin hammering’ activities for years now along with  process art paintings of the pumpkins so this activity simply puts the two together!

In the early years, we tend to avoid carving pumpkins. This is because the fine motor skills needed to do intricate carvings typically aren’t something that children under 5 have yet. However, with that being said, there are still plenty of options for creative pumpkin play.


an image of pumpkin hammer art. The pumpkin has been painted pink, gold and silver. It is decorated with golf tees, pipe cleaners and marigolds from the garden

Suggested Materials for Pumpkin Hammer Art

The beauty of any process art activity is that you can really just choose your own materials and this pumpkin hammer art is no different. I always recommend that you use items already in your store cupboard, especially when doing art that is essentially temporary in nature.

  • large pumpkin
  • 2-3 liquid paints
  • plastic container
  • wooden hammer / child-sized hammer
  • golf tees
  • beads
  • flowers
  • chenille sticks / pipe cleaners
  • eco glitter
  • tray or messy mat / picnic blanket

How to set up the Pumpkin Hammer Art Activity

  • Decide on your location – try to go outside where possible especially with very young children who might make more mess.
  • Set up the pumpkins on a tray with all of the materials needed.

To place flowers / chenille sticks into the pumpkin: Hammer a golf tee into the pumpkin, then remove it. Push the flower stem or chenille stick into the hole.

a close up of the marigolds and paints on the pumpkin hammer art


A simpler version of Pumpkin Hammer Art

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. Read  this blog post to find out more.

a simpler version of pumpkin hammer art where a blonde toddler boy is hammering golf tees into a pumpkin.

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.

At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

This pumpkin hammer art originally appeared as part of an At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp for 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 pumpkin hammer art activity, 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 

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 enjoyed this pumpkin hammer art activity and 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.