Along with fall comes Halloween, dressing up and of course carving pumpkins! Every year we carve our jack o’lantern, scooping out those ooey gooey insides and tossing them in the trash (we do usually toast the seeds though). Even though I’d absolutely love to take those pumpkin parts and turn them into a pie, I’m not exactly skilled enough in the kitchen to whip up the fall favorite from scratch. So, this year I decided to use as much of the pumpkin as possible – turning pumpkin insides into paint for fun fall kids activities!
This autumn activity combines art and science in of-so-many ways. Let’s start with the pumpkin. Whether you pick your pumpkin from a patch or pick one up at the store, this is the perfect time to talk to your child about the growing cycle and where our produce actually comes from. When you get the pumpkin home and carve it, let your child explore with the insides. Have her help to scoop out the ‘guts’, and investigate them. If you’ve got a magnifying glass, take an up-close look!
Now, on to the art-making. The gooeyness of pumpkin insides makes it a total sensory experience. It’s slick, slimy and easily spreadable. With this is mind, I decided to tur it into a somewhat chunky paint. This isn’t a ‘forever’ art activity. You can’t frame your child’s autumn tree paint or hang it on the fridge. Because it’s made out of a pumpkin, it will eventually go bad. Snap a photo before this happens to keep the memory alive.
Pumpkin Painting Craft for Kids
- A pumpkin
- Food coloring
- Card stock paper
- School glue
- Optional: Vegetable oil
Here’s What to Do:
Carve the pumpkin. Separate the seeds out from the pulp. If you don’t have enough pulp (or want to make the paint extra chunky like I did), cut pieces of the carved parts off. This might include the discarded eye pieces or what is left over from carving the mouth.
Put the pumpkin pulp and pieces into a food processor. Don’t blend it until it’s juicy, keep it somewhat solid or make chunks.
If your child prefers a smoother texture, blend it until the chunks are out. Add a dollop of thawed whipped topping or plain yogurt to thicken it.
Spoon the pumpkin into cups or a cupcake tin (each section will make a different color).
Drip one or two drops of food coloring into each section. Use fall colors such as orange, yellow and red. If the pumpkin isn’t slimy enough to smooth on as finger paint, add a teaspoon of oil to each color.
Finger paint the pumpkin onto the paper, creating a fall tree top.
Cut the stem off of the pumpkin. If it won’t come off use a twig from outside.
Glue the stem/twig onto the paper as a tree trunk.
Fall Crafts for Kids
- 200 Fall Crafts & Kids Activities
- Free Fall Coloring Pages
- Fall Scavenger Hunts (free; K-3rd grade)
- 24 Books about Fall for Kids
- Fall Leaf Printing with Markers
Erica Loop is a mom, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. When she's not teaching, she's busy writing kids' activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram.