We provided our kids with an open ended pumpkin process art invitation. The sensory opportunity of painting with the pumpkins allowed for artistic exploration which was perfect for a fall preschool theme!
Pumpkin Process Art
Process art focuses on the experience of creating instead of the end result. Children learn about artistic materials, tools, and techniques instead of following step-by-step directions to copy a specific end result.
How can we adapt any preschool theme to allow for process focused art opportunities for kids? Let’s start with pumpkins in autumn!
Pumpkin Process Art Materials:
You will need:
- Trays or paper plates
- Card Stock or paper
An adult should cut the pumpkins prior to this activity. You can include kids in this step, too, by allowing them to watch you work. Think aloud as you plan and execute the task. “I have a knife to cut these pumpkins. I always have to be careful using a knife even when I’m a grown up! What shapes could I cut into the tops of the pumpkins?” Cut around the pumpkin stem to allow this to become a handle for painting and stamping. Once the top of the pumpkin is pried loose, trim away the excess seeds and debris.
Pumpkin Art Exploration
Put paint into trays. We used paper plates. Again, allow the children to have input into every step of this creative process by asking them to choose the colors available for painting. Our kids picked orange, yellow, and red as we’ve been identifying fall colors!
We like to protect our art area with cardboard on the floor. We taped card stock to the cardboard (which is a recycled box disassembled) so the children wouldn’t have to worry about their papers sliding around as they worked. Alternatively, kids could paint outside on the ground, at an easel, or at tables.
Invite the children to choose their pumpkin top and paint colors. We had some kids stamping, some painting with a sliding motion using the pumpkin as a paintbrush of sorts, and even finger painting! The beauty of process art is saying “Yes!” when the children hesitate to ask, “Can I paint with my hands?”
Encourage exploration and experimentation. This type of experience has no “right” way. Children can explore the materials and different ways to use them. Enjoy the results!
BIO: Devany LeDrew is a former kindergarten teacher who writes at Still Playing School where she shares play based learning activities. She specializes in fine motor activities and has co-authored the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas! Follow Still Playing School for more engaging educational ideas on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!
More Pumpkin Activity Ideas
- Easy Pumpkin Decorating Exploration- Pumpkins are a great learning tool for the fall. Touching them, measuring them, cutting them, exploring them. In my classroom, we sang about pumpkins and decorated them as part of our exploration. Use this activity as you explore pumpkin, fall, harvest, Thanksgiving, or related themes. This activity is easy to do with minimal supplies – and your kids will love it.
- 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! Check out these crayon dripped pumpkins made by Miranda Hamilton’s Pre-K class.
- Paper Plate Pumpkin Pie Craft- What goes best with Thanksgiving dinner? Pie, of course, and the old lady, who has an out of this world appetite, starts off her night with just that in the book, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson. Your kids will love making this fun paper plate pumpkin pie craft to go along with the book.