Magnetic pumpkin play for preschoolers

This is an idea that started with the DIY – magnetic can play set I shared earlier this year. I wasn’t sure if the magnets would stick once I painted my cans but I decided to give it a go.

I spray painted the cans with black and orange paint and I added magnets to orange and black pom-poms for the children to stick to the cans…

Most of the children didn’t seem too interested in making pumpkin faces which is what I thought they would do – instead they just liked decorating the cans in all sorts of ways…

I heard comments like “I am making a pretty dress” and “This is a present for my boy friend.”

The pan you see the magnetic pom-poms and cans on is also magnetic.  I got the idea of using a large metal “grease pan” from Brick by Brick some time ago.  But I got tired of looking at the boring metal color and painted the pan with spray paint too. It is now bright white on one side and bright red on the back side.  It didn’t lose the magnetic quality and now it makes a much prettier magnetic surface to play on…

I set the magnetic pumpkin set and surface all out on our tinker table for play.


  1. says

    for a boyfriend? ahaha! that’s really a fun idea. i think my bear might like something like that! and i like the name “tinker table.”

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      We interchange the tinker table to a sand table but I like to add things the children can tinker with too at times so we call it a tinker table too!

  2. says

    I love the white surface of the magnet board. I’ll bet the red is cool, too. I may have to spruce up my magnet board, too. :)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I love the white so it shows up all the colors on the board but the red side is very pretty:)

  3. says

    I wonder if you could glue magnets to the back of some colorful, foam feather, head, beak, shapes and use the orange cans again next month for the children to create some turkey cans! I think I’ll give this a try. I really like the idea of using a metal base for more exploration too. Thanks again for all your terrific ideas and ways to recycle!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      Oooh, great way to use the cans again and I am sure you could use the magnets on the back of foam cut outs!! Ingenious!!