Kids love play dough, and they love to decorate pumpkins. This activity combines these two activities for some fall sensory fine motor fun!
Sensory Play with Fine Motor Practice
In this activity children will roll play dough, use cookie cutters to make pumpkins (or form them by hand), and decorate their play dough pumpkins. It requires very little set-up, and can be used to build a number of different skills.
While decorating pumpkins, kids will develop
- The sensory systems in the body (tactile, visual, proprioceptive, etc).
- Fine motor muscles of the hand used for writing and hand work.
- Play dough (you can use store bought or make your own easy recipe –play dough recipe or make your own pumpkin play dough)
- Play dough rolling pins
- Pumpkin cookie cutter
- Play dough scissors and other dough tools
Place play dough, rolling pin, and cookie cutters on a work surface. Invite children to roll out the dough and make play dough pumpkins. Pumpkins can also be made by hand or using a circle cookie cutter, play dough scissors, play dough knives, or play dough pizza cutters.
Decorating Play Dough Pumpkins
Give the children beads and invite them to decorate the pumpkins however they wish. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Children can even choose to use scraps of play dough instead of the beads.
Some children may choose to use the beads to make impressions as opposed to leaving them in the dough. This is all perfectly fine. Allow children to express and explore their own creativity in whatever way works for them.
When commenting on their work, focus on effort and what you see. Make comments such as “You really worked hard to make this.” or “I notice you used the heart beads to make eyes.” Your comments could also encourage the child to explain their thinking or process. (“Tell me about this part.”)
Decorating play dough pumpkins is a great activity to develop the sensory systems in the body and fine motor skills. Sensory play is important for the full development of the child, while fine motor practice prepares the muscles in the hand for writing and hand work.
BIO: Nell believes in the magic of childhood, spending more time outdoors than indoors, and making this world a greener place to live. She is the creator of Rhythms of Play — where parents can find simple tips, crafts and activities to keep the kids busy all day. Check out her amazing All Season Hand and Fingerprint Tree. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
More Pumpkin And Halloween Ideas
- 5 Little Pumpkins Halloween Sensory Bin – Your little learners will have a blast retelling the rhyme Five Little Pumpkins with this Halloween themed sensory bin! They’ll be developing their fine motor and oral language skills as they retell the rhyme. Setting up this sensory bin experience at home or in your preschool classroom is super simple and loads of fun!
- Halloween Sensory Bin with Spaghetti – Need Halloween sensory play ideas for your preschool classroom? You can make this easy colored spaghetti for a super fun Halloween themed sensory bin. This squishy Halloween sensory spaghetti is sure to be a big hit with your kids!
- Halloween Sensory Bottle – Halloween can be loads of fun in the classroom with all the cute crafts and activities. Here’s a super quick and easy Halloween sensory bottle you can make to help kids who may become overstimulated by all the activity in the classroom during this time of year.
- 25 No Carve Preschool Pumpkin Decorating Ideas- Exploring pumpkins and decorating them can be a fun part of fall or Halloween activities. But decorating a pumpkin and using it to decorate your space does not require great carving skills (or any carving skills at all). You and your preschoolers can create fun decorated pumpkins with no carving at all. Check out these fun no carve pumpkin decorating ideas.
- Melted Crayon Pumpkin Decorating- Melted Crayon Pumpkin decorating is a fun experience for kids (and adults) of all ages. This no-carve crayon art pumpkin decorating project is gorgeous and it’s also lots of fun to make!