Fun Pumpkin Activities that Build Skills

pumpkin activities

Are you looking for some super cute pumpkin ideas for the fall themed occupational therapy sessions this season?  Pumpkin activities are great for fall, for Halloween, and for Thanksgiving. Once the weather cranks down and turns a little crisper, you can look around and see pumpkins everywhere…big pumpkins, little pumpkins, orange pumpkins, white pumpkins, and even jack o’ lanterns. 

These pumpkin activities build fine motor skills, gross motor, sensory, visual, and learning skills. Add to a pumpkin lesson plan in therapy, the classroom, or home.

Pumpkin Activities that Build Skills

Pumpkin activities are great fun for young kiddos, preschoolers, and even the older kiddo gang.  If you’re looking for craft, motor, snack, emotions, sensory, or perceptual activities, this list will inspire you to get into the fall spirit with the kiddos in your world. Not only will you be having fun, but you’ll also be building some important skills too! 

The best thing about these pumpkin themed activities is that they develop many learning areas as well: math, literacy, science, STEM and more.

All of the ideas listed below can be added to pumpkin theme lesson plans in the school or therapy clinic, used in preschool pumpkin activities, and added to a toddler approved ideas to keep kids at home busy.

Let’s begin by saying this is the place for all things pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins, and as you explore the lists below in this activity round-up, think about which ones will not only be fun, but build important skills for your kids!  So, if you need something pumpkiny to jazz up your therapy sessions, classroom or at home theme this season, this post is right where you need to be! Proceed…

These are great for adding to your Halloween occupational therapy ideas!

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activities

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activities that work on fine motor skill development such as hand dominance, dexterity, in-hand manipulation, separation of the two sides of the hand, and strength.

Fine Motor Pumpkin Worksheets– This Pumpkin activities kit develops fine motor skills in a big way! Work on pinch, grip, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, and dexterity using a pumpkin theme. Just print and play to use the pumpkin lacing cards, pumpkin fine motor paths, pumpkin cutting activities, and the handwriting pages.

Pumpkin Craft– All you need is a couple of bottle caps, paper, and glue to make this bottle cap pumpkin craft that builds fine motor skills in a big way.

Scoop and Pour Pumpkin Seeds- After pumpkin seeds are removed from the pumpkin, they are a great fine motor tool for kids! Dye them and use them in to sort the seeds by color. Or, use them in scooping and pouring activities

Pumpkin Seed Mosaic Art– Use dyed pumpkin seeds to make mosaic art projects and really refine those fine motor skills. You’ll love to see a pumpkin seed mosaic AND the benefits of this craft: in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand, pincer grasp, and visual motor skills.

Pumpkin Seed Suncatcher– A pumpkin seed suncatcher is a pumpkin seed craft that builds fine motor skills in a big way: pincer grasp, eye-hand coordination, separation of the sides of the hand, dexterity, finger isolation, graded release, and more.

Pumpkin Finger Print Art– This pumpkin finger print art is a fun way to work on finger isolation, separation of the sides of the hand, and incorporate messy, sensory play.

More pumpkin fine motor activities:

Gross Motor Pumpkin Activities

Gross Motor Pumpkin Activities that work on gross motor skill development such as overall strength and endurance, coordination, eye-hand coordination balance, motor planning and control, body awareness, motor and postural control, and core strength.

Pumpkin Race- Grab a couple of mini pumpkins or small gourds. Kids can race to move the mini pumpkins from one side of the room to another.  

Pumpkin Balance Activity– Use some of the ideas in our indoor balance beam post with a pumpkin theme. Make pumpkin shapes from felt or paper and use them to work on balance, coordination, motor planning, stooping, bending, and other gross motor skills.

Pumpkin Emotions Activities

Pumpkin Emotions and Feelings Activities that work on overall emotional awareness such as the identification and recognition of emotions and feelings in others and in self. Social Emotional Learning using Pumpkins is a fun way to teach emotions, sharing, empathy, and other social emotional skills.

Pumpkin Emotions Activity- Toddlers and preschoolers love this Pumpkin Emotions Activity– This pumpkin emotions activity helps toddlers identify emotions, name feelings, and develop learning through playing with a fun pumpkin emotions game, all on a vertical surface, so gross motor skills and eye-hand coordination skills are developing, too.

Pumpkin Faces– Make toilet paper roll pumpkin prints and then draw faces onto the dry prints for an emotions pumpkin patch.

More Pumpkin Emotions Activities

Pumpkin Visual Perception Activities

Pumpkin Visual Motor and Visual Perceptual Activities that work on memory and perceptual skills which include game play, scanning, and letter formation and prewriting. 

Pumpkin I Spy– Use the materials in the Pumpkin Activity Kit to work on visual motor skills with mazes and motor activities. The kit includes I Spy pages, too, so working on visual perception with a pumpkin theme is fun!

Pumpkin Worksheets for Visual Scanning- Working on visual closure, form constancy, or visual discrimination? Print off our pumpkin visual perception worksheets. It’s part of our free visual perception packet.

More Pumpkin Visual Motor Activities

Pumpkin Sensory Activities

Pumpkin Sensory Activities that include multiple sensory systems such as interoception, tactile, proprioceptive and olfactory tolerance and engagement in simple sensory play.

Pumpkin Egg Carton Craft– Use an egg carton to make a mini pumpkin craft. We used them in an Egg Carton Pumpkins Fall Sensory Bin for sensory play. In this sensory bin, we used mini egg carton pumpkin crafts to create a sensory play experience. Simply fill a sensory bin with dry materials and then add the pumpkin egg carton crafts for tactile sensory play.

Pumpkin Deep Breathing – Incorporating mindfulness into a pumpkin theme is easy with our pumpkin deep breathing exercise. Print it off and work on calming input to assist with self-regulation, focus, and attention.

Dye pumpkin seeds– Use food coloring or paint to Dye Pumpkin Seeds to use in sensory bins, tactile exploration, and more. Why not add them to a sensory bottle, too?

Pumpkin sensory play can include lifting pumpkins for heavy work. Lift a heavier pumpkin and move it to a different space to add calming proprioceptive input, motor planning skills, bilateral coordination, and more.

Toddler Pumpkin Activities- Toddlers and preschoolers can use a box or basket and mini pumpkins or small gourds. Taking time to inspect pumpkins is a fantastic sensory experience for toddlers and preschoolers. Toddlers and preschoolers also love sorting pumpkin seeds.

Carve a pumpkin with kids. This is a fantastic multi-step, messy, heavy work activity for kids. Children that resist messy activities or touching pumpkin guts can work on different aspects of carving a pumpkin, such as drawing on the outside, scraping a cleaned out pumpkin insides, or cleaning off pumpkin seeds.

More Pumpkin Sensory Activities

Pumpkin Themed Snacks

Cooking with kids is a valuable activity to develop executive functioning skills. It makes sense to incorporate cooking tasks into a pumpkin theme! These Pumpkin Snacks provide a fun themed alternative to regular snack time by incorporating a pumpkin and/or jack o’ lantern theme. Why wouldn’t a kiddo want to eat these fun snack time ideas?!

Pumpkin Recipe

This pumpkin recipe is kid-friendly so it has simple steps, but kids can develop so many skills like fine motor input, executive functioning skills, and sensory processing skills through olfactory (smell), visual, and gustatory (taste) senses.

Pumpkin Recipe for Kids

This recipe makes 3 pies (great for preschool!)

Pumpkin pie ingredients:

  • 4 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • .5 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 cans (12 oz each) evaporated milk
  • 3 pie shells

Combine the ingredients. Stir well. Fill the pie shells. Bake the pies at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. 

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe- Getting kids active in the kitchen is so helpful in building skills: executive functioning, fine motor work, bilateral coordination, motor planning, sensory exploration…Use this pumpkin cupcake recipe and to mix, stir, pour, and bake!

More pumpkin themed snacks

Pumpkin Learning Activities

Pumpkins can be used for so many learning activities:

  1. Sort pumpkins by size and weight
  2. Make a pumpkin volcano with baking soda and vinegar- Just carve a pumpkin and then add baking soda and vinegar for a science reaction.
  3. Have a pumpkin float experiment to see if pumpkins float- Use a bin of water and make predictions on whether the pumpkin with float or sink
  4. Make a pumpkin pie!

We hope that you enjoyed all of the goodies that you found here that are perfect for the fall season whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, or simply just to celebrate the season!  

Pumpkin Activities Kit

For more pumpkin fun this Fall, grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit!

Work on underlying fine motor and visual motor integration skills so you can help students excel in handwriting, learning, and motor skill development.

  • 7 digital products that can be used any time of year- has a “pumpkins” theme
  • 5 pumpkin scissor skills cutting strips
  • Pumpkin scissor skills shapes- use in sensory bins, math, sorting, pattern activities
  • 2 pumpkin visual perception mazes with writing activity
  • Pumpkin “I Spy” sheet – color in the outline shapes to build pencil control and fine motor strength
  • Pumpkin Lacing cards – print, color, and hole punch to build bilateral coordination skills
  • 2 Pumpkin theme handwriting pages – single and double rule bold lined paper for handwriting practice
Pumpkin activity kit
Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit– perfect for building skills with a pumpkin theme!
Regina Allen

Regina Parsons-Allen is a school-based certified occupational therapy assistant. She has a pediatrics practice area of emphasis from the NBCOT. She graduated from the OTA program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute in Hudson, North Carolina with an A.A.S degree in occupational therapy assistant. She has been practicing occupational therapy in the same school district for 20 years. She loves her children, husband, OT, working with children and teaching Sunday school. She is passionate about engaging, empowering, and enabling children to reach their maximum potential in ALL of their occupations as well assuring them that God loves them!