Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Painting

Painting Pumpkins With Kids Is The Perfect Halloween Sensory Activity

Painting Pumpkins With Kids Is The Perfect Halloween Sensory Activity

We’ve been painting pumpkins with kids every year, beginning when Maia was a year old and I had just started the first toddler art group. So it seemed right that we paint pumpkins again this year with the current group of little one.

It’s something little kids can totally get into—using paint and brushes (or hands) on 3-dimensional orange objects with ridges and stems. How fun!

And older kids enjoy it as well.

Plus the painted pumpkins don’t decay the way carved pumpkins do, so you can decorate your pumpkins earlier for Halloween decorations.

Painting Pumpkins With Kids

Painting pumpkins with toddlers

This photo of Daphne and Joe painting their pumpkins was taken before Daphne painted her hands black and began making handprints over her pumpkin and before Joe dumped a bowl of paint over his and used his hands to paint his.

Perhaps we should have just made it a fingerpainting activity… :)

By the way, we had a large turn-out for the toddler art group yesterday, but somehow I mostly just managed to take about fifty photos of Daphne and Joe. I’ll try to do better next time.

Pumpkin with paint on it

Best Paints for Pumpkin Painting with Kids This post contains affiliate links.

The paint we used is activity paint from Discount School Supply. We’ve used tempera paint for painting pumpkins in the past and it works fine, but does tend to crack and peel a bit after it dries. I chose the activity paint this time because it adheres to most surfaces without any cracking (it’s also great for spin art!). BioColor paint would work great, too.

If you have tempera paint though, go ahead and use it! Try mixing in a few drops of liquid dish soap to the tempera paint first to help it stick to the smooth surface.

pumpkins on trunk with Halloween decorations

I only put out black and white paints for the kiddos to make the painted pumpkins extra halloweeny.

Halloween Pumpkin Painting for Little Kids

They are rather modern-looking, too, don’t you think?

Have you tried painting pumpkins with kids yet?

More Halloween Art Ideas for Kids

Autumn Arts & Crafts Ideas & Supplies

The Artful Parent Amazon shop for Fall Crafts & Play Ideas.

See our FALL family fun list on my Amazon storefront!

It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts (including the best paper leaves for painting!), autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn.

Plus, we have lists of the best kids art supplies, open-ended toys, children’s games, and more!

Get our new Halloween Arts & Crafts for Kids workshop! 

This is an online workshop with 10 fun Halloween arts and crafts activities that your family can enjoy all October long. Use coupon code KASHALFOFF for $9.99!

Plus a bonus of 10 Halloween-themed drawing prompts!

31 Halloween Activities for Kids Free Printable Graphic

Download our FREE printable idea list of 31 Halloween activities for kids & families!

Or just check out the blog post with the links… So many fun ideas for Halloween!

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Painting Pumpkins With Kids Is The Perfect Halloween Sensory Activity


  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Clearly I need to get some activity paint!
    We’ve done this every year since my daughter (4 1/2) was one too. I think we’ll even let baby brother (6 months) try his hand at it this year. It’s one of my favorite art activities of the year.
    I like your choice of black and white because my natural inclination is to use bright and/or primary colors with toddlers, and I have to remind myself to branch out.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    This looks awesome!
    Is the activity paint washable at all? I would imagine not but you never know!
    Thanks for the great inspiration :)

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Kids might enjoy…stamping end of paper towel tube in paint and stamping on paper…pumpkins!!! Rip pieces of green and stick on to wet paint or glue for stems and leaves…pumpkin patch…wahlah!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Jean,
    Have you recently changed your feed? I’m pretty sure that you had the full text of each post in the feed, but today I only got a very short excerpt. I’d love to have the full-text feed back, if possible.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    We did this recently with glitter glue and it was a HUGE hit (and the pumpkins looked kind of awesome and golden). Also, adding a bit of glue to tempera helps it to be less cracky (that is certainly not a word), but I’ll have to try activity paint also — we haven’t used it before.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I don’t think it’s really washable out of fabric (the bottle says not to get it on fabric). But it washes off skin just fine. And it takes longer than most paints to dry so you can wash it off tables etc pretty easily.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Sounds fun! Maybe I’ll set that up as our after-school activity today…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I know. I’m the same way. I always get out the red, blue, and yellow for the toddlers.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Ooh! Glitter glue would be fun! And adding glue to tempera paint sounds like a great way to keep it from cracking and peeling. Good idea!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I’ve been playing around with the website a bit, trying to make the posts on the homepage shorter so it has a cleaner feel. I guess I changed the blog feed as well. Hmm. I’ll see what I can do.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Just fixed it (I think). Hopefully the feed will be back to normal for the next post.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Last year we did this with washable paint and put the pumpkins outside. After the first big rain all the hard work washed away =( Now when we use the washable paint I let it dry then spray paint it with a clear coat of permanent paint. Seems to work like a charm. I love the black and white paint idea. Maybe we will do that tomorrow!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    On a side note, we made the bat garland and love it! Thanks for that one also.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I used watercolors last year for my then almost 2 year old daughter to paint a white pumpkin. she loved it, but the colors were too “watery”. This year I used tempra and she had a great time. We went to the pumpkin patch and got somemore so I think I’ll try the tempra with a little dish soap to see how that works because the first pumpkin paint is already starting to crack a bit (two weeks old now).

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    This is so sweet and I really enjoy reading about how the toddlers painting experience. So often I get nervous energy around paint when it tends to get messy and find myself hovering about with a wet rag instructing my son to be careful. This is SUCH an excellent reminder to allow more freedom during creation and worry about the messy clean-up later.

  • Reply
    Jael Point
    October 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    It just takes plenty of newspaper and an adults old button up shirt to use as a paint smock That way their clothes won’t get ruined and when you are done you just have to throw away the paper and put the pumpkins out to dry and wash their faces and hands a little maybe. It’s all about making the mess easy to handle, not about eliminating the mess. This is a reminder to me too though cause the thought of giving me 3 year old any kind of paint makes me so anxious!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    October 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Jael! Another idea is to take the messy projects outside if you’re too worried about it.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for fixing it! I really like being able to save the full posts in my rss reader.

  • Reply
    home painting in chennai
    November 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

    cute pumpkins
    good color shattered!.
    good post and good content, i personally feel very good reading this post.keep it up and keep going.

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