This post on how to dye pumpkin seeds was one we originally created back in 2014. The thing is that colored pumpkin seeds is still just as much fun for fine motor and sensory play as it was years ago! We make these dyed pumpkin seeds each year and always play with them a TON in fine motor activities and sensory trays. This year, we made rainbow pumpkin seeds after Halloween. Use this recipe on how to dye pumpkin seeds to create a Fall activity for play activities of your own this year! We’ve been playing with them in all kinds of sensory play activities, fine motor fun, and learning activities.
Use these instructions on how to dye pumpkin seeds to make colored pumpkin seeds for fine motor and sensory play with kids.

Dye pumpkin seeds for kids to play with:

Pumpkins are all around us these days! If you have carved a pumpkin with the kids and have the seeds sitting in a bowl ready for roasting, you are in luck. Before you mix up a batch of your favorite roasted pumpkin seeds recipe, save a few handfuls for dying for sensory play!
Dying pumpkin seeds isn’t hard. In fact, the kids will love to get in on the mixing action. They will love to use those dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory bins, for fine motor pumpkin seeds activities, or even Fall crafts like this pumpkin seed craft.
Pumpkin seeds are a great addition to sensory play experiences. Allowing kids to scoop the seeds directly from the pumpkin is such a tactile sensory experience! But for some kids, that pumpkin goop is just too much tactile input. Using dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory play is a first step in the tactile experience.
Use this recipe for how to dye pumpkin seeds with kids.

How to Color Pumpkin Seeds the Easy Way

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This year we made them a bit differently than last year.  I tried to roast the seeds after coloring them with the food coloring.  To make our seeds this year, we used liquid food coloring dye and gel food coloring.  Each type of food coloring worked really well.  The problem with roasting the seeds after coloring them is that the colors don’t “stick” as well to the seed, making less vivid colors.  I would suggest first roasting your seeds and THEN dying them like we did here.

Colored pumpkin seeds are great for kids to use in sensory play.

Whether you use liquid food coloring dye or gel food coloring, add the seeds to plastic baggies and add the food coloring.  Seal up the baggies, mix the seeds around, (or hand them over to the kids and let them go crazy), and get the seeds coated in coloring.  
Spread the seeds out on aluminum foil spread on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.  Be sure to check on the seeds often to make sure they are not burning.  If you roast them first, the colors will cover any brown spots.
How to dye pumpkin seeds to use in kids crafts this Fall.

Colored Pumpkin Seeds for Fine Motor Play

We used our dyed seeds in art projects first.  Manipulating those seeds is a great way to work on fine motor skills.  Little Sister was SO excited to make art!

Add additional fine motor work by using a squeezable glue bottle to create a pumpkin seeds craft and pumpkin seed art. Squeezing that glue bottle adds a gross hand grasp and fine motor warm-up before performing fine motor tasks.

How to dye pumpkin seeds to use in a Fall mandala craft.

Use dyed pumpkin seeds to make a colorful mandala craft with fine motor benefits. Picking up the pumpkin seeds uses fine motor skills such as in-hand manipulation, separation of the sides of the hand, pincer grasp, open thumb web space, and distal mobility.

Placing the colored pumpkin seeds into a symmetrical pattern of colors promotes eye-hand coordination and visual perceptual skills such as visual discrimination, figure ground, and other skills.

Dying pumpkin seeds is a fun Fall activity for kids.

Little Guy made a gingerbread man.  Because why not??! 😉

Squeezing the glue bottle into a shape and placing the colored pumpkin seeds along the line is another exercise in visual perception and eye-hand coordination.

Colored pumpkin seeds can be used in Fall sensory play and fine motor crafts.
Little Sister made a rainbow with her seeds.
Use colored pumpkin seeds to make a fine motor craft with kids.

How to dye pumpkin seeds for sensory play for kids.

How to Dye Pumpkin Seeds for Sensory Play

Use the directions listed above to create a set of colored pumpkin seeds. Use the colorful pumpkin seeds in a big pumpkin sensory bin to create a tactile sensory experience. Kids can draw letters in the seeds to work on letter formation. Add this idea to your toolbox of sensory writing tray ideas.

Add a few Fall themed items such as small pumpkins, acorns, pinecones, scoops, and small bowls to the sensory bin activity. Dyed pumpkin seeds are a great sensory bin medium this time of year when making an easy sensory bin.

Kids will love using dyed pumpkin seeds in sensory play.

This sensory play activity was very fun.  We couldn’t keep our hands out of the tray as we played and created.
Use dyed pumpkin seeds for sensory play with kids.

Colored pumpkin seeds are fun for Fall crafts.


Wondering how to dye pumpkin seeds and use in sensory play?

More Colored Pumpkin Seed Activities:

Be sure to use your dyed pumpkin seeds for a few fun ideas like these:

Pumpkin activity kit
Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit

Grab the Pumpkin Fine Motor Kit for more coloring, cutting, and eye-hand coordination activities with a Pumpkin theme! It includes:

  • 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

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

You can grab this Pumpkin Fine Motor kit for just $6!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to