Pumpkin sensory play for fall! Fall is a great time to explore pumpkins and this easy pumpkin activity is a great way to learn and play simultaneously. Sensory play, art, science, and fine motor practice all with one pumpkin. This will keep the kids busy all afternoon. We love pumpkin science experiments!


Pumpkin Sensory Play


We bought a small $2 pumpkin from Trader Joe’s and used it inside and outside for fun play and exploration! We created a pumpkin-cano, a sensory bag (for those who don’t like squishy), and we painted with the top and stem! Now that’s using the pumpkin. We will keep on exploring this week! Each pumpkin activity was so simple to do too!


Our first pumpkin activity of course was the grand pumpkin-cano! There is no way I could have gotten through the afternoon if we did not start with this one first! I will let you click-through the link to read all about it {here}.  This pumpkin activity was a really easy and messy fun science and sensory play. I will have to say that learning how to clean out the inside of a pumpkin is in activity in itself. This year we tried mini pumpkin volcanos which are quicker and easier to clean out!

pumpkin cano cleaning out quad

We also chatted a little bit about how a pumpkin grows!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Learning About Pumpkins 

whole pumpkin play volcano


Our second pumpkin activity included playing with the insides and a bit of cut up pumpkin, the seeds and (ok so I cheated a bit) a few scoops of canned pumpkin.  I always keep zip lock bags on hand so in everything went for some hands on (mess free style) exploration of the inside of the pumpkin! Check out our new pumpkin squish bag!

whole pumpkin play sensory bag

mmmmm looks squishy and delightful to mush around!

ALSO TRY: Pumpkin Cloud Dough for A Pumpkin Sensory Activity

whole pumpkin play sensory bag testing


Finally, I brought some orange paint outside. We had been going at this pumpkin for quite a while now, so I had to be quick on my feet with getting projects set up fast. I trimmed up the top and stem a bit more and let him go at it making pumpkins on the white paper. Pretty simple and fun process art for kids.

whole pumpkin play painting


This pumpkin activity is perfect for strengthening hand muscles and working on those fine motor skills!

whole pumpkin sensory play cleaning out pumpkin insides

MAKE A PUMPKIN INVESTIGATION TRAY! Learn about parts of a pumpkin and grab a free printable!

Pumpkin Investigation Science

I enjoyed showing him how we could explore the entire pumpkin with various types of hands-on play! There are so many fantastic play ideas you can do with a simple small pumpkin other than carving it.


Pumpkin Science Experiments for Fall Science and Fall STEM Projects Preschool Kindergarten Toddler Pumpkin Activities

Pumpkin Jack Book Science Activity Rotting and Life Cycle Science


  1. Awesome activities! Pumpkin-cano! Hilarious in a good way! Love it! Looks like you had fun and I like that you used all the parts of the pumpkin! Pinned to my Halloween board!

  2. Thank you! We had a lot of fun using all the parts. So great to show him all the fun you can have with a simple pumpkin!

  3. With the pumpkin patch trip coming up this is a great resource for me. These are bunch of hands on activities to use with fresh pumpkins. Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

  4. great ideas. i also have a couple more things we do. before we empty it, we use Mr. Potohead pieces on the pumpkin. then we open it up and empty it (love the pumpkin-cano. will do that this year for sure) then the kids will separate the seeds from the mush. we wash them and dry and add some to our playdough and some we bake for tasting. and then of course – carving. sometimes we paint the pumpkin too. one year the kids wanted glitter and all i had was glitter-glue so we glitter-glued it -we still carved it after.

  5. I did this with my daycare class today (mostly 4- and 5-year-olds), and before we did our “explosion,” we carved a jack-o’-lantern so that the fizz spilled out through its face. They loved all of it! Due to the number of kids, I had to do all the guts-scooping myself to head off a huge fight and many tears from the one or two who inevitably will refuse to wait their turn. I was planning to go outside with the pumpkin guts tub, but it rained, so I was going to do plastic baggies like you did… But I was out. So we just went for it, and I was surprised by how little mess they made on the table. I didn’t add canned pumpkin, though.

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