One simple but super-fun fall craft you can do with your kids is pumpkin painting! This isn't something that takes a lot of prep or clean-up, but it's super-fun and will give you dcorations to use all month. Unlike carved pumpkins which will rot pretty quickly, painted pumpkins “keep” for a long time.
You can use big pumpkins or little ones, of course. We used the tiny ones and put them on our table afterward as a centerpiece. Anneliese loves to look at her pumpkin as we eat our meals, and talk about how she painted it and how it's her very own pumpkin.
Our dining room floor was being replaced, so I had cleared out all of the furniture and we had the whole floor to ourselves. But if we didn't have a big area inside, we could have gone outside to paint, or put a shower curtain or tarp down somewhere else in the house (the rest is carpeted).
Joseph (my 7 month old) played with some toys on a blanket nearby while Anneliese and I painted. I squeezed black, white, and yellow paint into cups with a paintbrush in each one.
We had practiced for several days beforehand, using a paintbrush with only water to gently “paint” the pumpkins. Anneliese practiced dipping, brushing, making dots, and so forth. So she was ready to go with the paint!

I painted mine beside her, and narrated some of what I was doing. “I think I'll use this white paint to make some lines like this…. and then I'll put the paintbrush back in that cup. Now I'm taking this black paint, and making little tiny dots. Dot! Dot! Dot!” and so forth.

I know it sounds like it would be annoying to listen to, but Anneliese learns so much from this type of thing. She watched me and painted her own pumpkin, telling me about choices she was making too. “A yittle squiggle. Yellow paint. And a dot!”

In hindsight, the only thing I would have changed about the way I did this activity with my toddler is to choose different paint colors. I tried to choose ones that would look “halloweeny” since we did it a little while ago… but I forgot to think about how the colors would all look swirled TOGETHER. And black and white swirled together look a little like bird poop. Not that my daughter noticed or cared.

A lot of times when adults organize crafts to do with children, they think of the final product. What will be a “cute thing” to make with the kids? (Maybe a monster paper bag puppet, or a turkey from a hand print, or paper plate jack-o-lantern)

But the problem with so many of those “cute things” is that there's often a few “right” ways to do it, and many more “wrong” ways…*

With pumpkin painting, the pumpkin is literally the child's canvas, and the child can do whatever he or she wants to with the paint. The result will always be a unique piece the child can take pride in.

I hope you liked this Crafterday Saturday post! Please check out my other crafts and tutorials by clicking the button, and be sure to pin/share/tweet this post so you remember to do this activity with your little ones!

Crafterday Saturday @ Joyful Abode

*These “cute” things still have value, as sequencing exercises, direction-following practice, hand-eye coordination practice, learning skills/techniques like glueing/tracing/cutting… but they're usually not very open ended and have the potential to result in frustration, especially for the younger set, because kids may feel their end product isn't “good enough” compared with the example or template.


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  1. I love this idea! I’ll try this next year with my two littles. I especially appreciate the reminder to narrate as you go… Sometimes I feel as though I am talking soooooo much of my day with them, that I forget to do this. However, I agree with you that this is a super-important part of their learning process.

  2. We also painted pumpkins although we used a bit of a “fizzy” method where I mixed the paint with baking soda and then we poured vinegar on the pumpkins after painting to watch them fizz. The nice thing about our pumpkin painting is that it allowed my nephew who is a little developmentally delayed to shine and sometimes with the other more physical activities that we do he is a bit behind. He really went to down painting his pumpkin!

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