Pumpkin playdough decorating in preschool

This is a very easy idea that I set out for my class this week in our play dough center…

I set out two large, real pumpkins and several small pumpkin (gourds) and some play dough.  The children used the play dough to decorate the pumpkins…

At first, the children didn’t quite get the idea of what to do when they came to the table. So I sat down with a few of the children and demonstrated how you can make play dough shapes and press them against the pumpkin to make them stick…

By the second day of having this center set up, the children rocked at making all kinds of pumpkin faces and other features like hats. The pumpkins progressively got more and more 3 dimensional in playdough design work…

Some children spent lots of time at this center exploring the play dough and creating on the pumpkin.  I set out a small can of green, yellow, and red play dough but by day two – most of the playdough is either brown or green. The children do not care that it is green and brown – they just keep on creating…

An interesting observation was that the younger children tended to like decorating the small pumpkins. They just wanted to cover the pumpkin with as much playdough as they could.  The fours preferred the big pumpkins and quickly advanced in their creative ideas and approach…

I wasn’t sure if the playdough would stick to the pumpkins all that well but it seems that the more the children played with the dough and pumpkins, the better the dough would stick…

Here is the playdough center all set up before the children went to work decorating pumpkins…

Links to Grow On…

No-Carve Pumpkin by Tinkerlab

Pumpkin Cups by Teach Preschool

Pumpkin Suncatcher by Happy Hooligans

Paper Pumpkins by Come Together Kids


  1. says

    Thanks for the reminder! I didn’t even think about this, this year…been quite awhile, actually, since they normally are asking for Mr. Potato Head pieces for their pumpkin. :-)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I haven’t tried Potato Head pieces on a pumpkin:) I will have to give that a try too:)

  2. says

    isn’t play-doh an amazing invention! we just used it the other day as a glue of sorts… i love that this allows the kiddos so many opportunities!

  3. says

    Such a fun idea! I am all about the “no-carve” pumpkin decorating. I’m adding this to our activity list and sharing it on our Facebook page right now.


  4. Andrea says

    I love it – I think I like it even better than using Mr. Potato Head parts to decorate the pumpkins. This way the kids can really manipulate the dough and use their creativity!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. says

      I haven’t tried Mr. Potato Head parts but I bet my students would love that too.

  5. says

    I am completely in love with this idea for preschool kids! My sister is a preschool teacher so I’ll have to give her this idea for a fall activity. It is definitely a good replacement for actually going out into a pumpkin patch :)