Pumpkin Picking Fine Motor Activity

Pumpkin picking fine motor activity.

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Where we live, there aren’t many places where you can pick pumpkins straight from the patch. Instead, you’ll find roadside pumpkin stands or parking lots set up to look like pumpkin patches. So my five children have little experience picking pumpkins straight off the vine. 

I’ve always wanted to take my children to a farm where they could pick a fresh pumpkin. Perhaps this will be the year. Until then, I figured a little pretend play would get them excited for pumpkin season. 

Pretend play is a crucial part of the stages of play and beneficial to a child’s development. When pretend play is paired with fine motor skill practice, it makes an ideal preschooler and toddler activity. This pumpkin patch activity includes both important skills! 

To make this activity, you’ll need an empty egg carton, pumpkin candies, and a pair of tongs. Follow along to create a pumpkin picking game your child will love.

Pumpkin Picking Fine Motor Activity: What You’ll Need

Materials you'll need for your pumpkin picking activity.

When the grocery store aisles begin to showcase Halloween candy, it’s the perfect time to snag a bag of mini candy pumpkins. With only a few other supplies, you’ll have this activity created in no time. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Materials:

  • Pumpkin candies
  • Empty egg carton 
  • Green paint 
  • Tongs

Setup:

Paint the egg carton green.

To make this activity, start by preparing the egg carton. Cut the egg carton in half lengthwise. Throw away the top or save it for another use. 

Using green paint, paint the bottom of the carton all green. Allow to dry completely. 

Gather pumpkin candies in a bowl and a pair of tongs. Lay all items on a clean surface for your child to play with. 

Time to Play

There are quite a few ways your child can play with this set. Some of the ideas listed are perfect for independent play, while others require a little help. Parents can easily tailor these activities to their child’s age or developmental needs.  

Pumpkin Picking 

Pumpkin picking with tongs.

Start by placing one pumpkin candy in each dimple in the egg carton. For a fine motor challenge, have your child use the tongs to “pick” each pumpkin from the patch. After picking, they can place each pumpkin in a small bowl to collect them. 

If the tongs are too challenging, allow your child to remove the pumpkins with their fingers. This movement will still work the small hand muscles needed for fine motor activities. 

Pumpkin Counting

Pumpkin counting.

Parents can cut off two dimples at the end of the carton to make a perfect ten-frame for counting practice. Have your child place the pumpkins in the frame and count the spaces. You can also write the numbers on each dimple so your child recognizes the numerals as they count and practice one-to-one correspondence

Recognizing numerals is an important skill for preschoolers to learn. Providing preschool math activities like this or the Apple Seed Counting Game will speed up the rate at which they memorize numerals.  

Pumpkin Adding

Using the pumpkins, practice basic addition problems like 1+3, 2+2, etc. Little ones will grasp addition faster when they have visuals like these tiny candy pumpkins.  

Using the egg carton as a 10-frame also provides an opportunity to talk about ways to make 10. You might prompt your child with something like, “I see five pumpkins in the frame. How many more would I need to get to 10?” This is best for preschool age children that already have basic counting skills down. 

Pumpkin Sensory Play

Pumpkin sensory play.

Turn this activity into a fun sensory activity by adding different materials to each dimple. Much like the additions made to our Pumpkin Bowling game, this is one way you can adapt the activity for children who are blind. 

We used basic household items like cotton balls, coffee beans, oatmeal, salt, etc. My toddler loved removing each pumpkin from the dimple and feeling the textures underneath.

What else can we add to this pumpkin counting activity? 

Using the candy pumpkins, you can create your own accessible Halloween activities, such as a sensory bin. Consider adding orange-colored rice, pumpkin seeds, small bowls, and scooping tools. Cinnamon sticks would be a fun add to make the bin smell like fall. 

What can I use instead of pumpkin candies?

Pumpkin candies are cute and yummy, but they aren’t the only items you can use. If you can’t find the candies, or are avoiding them due to allergies, try orange pom-poms or pumpkins made from clay instead. If you’d like something more realistic, these miniature pumpkins would work.  

What other ways can I provide fine motor skill practice?

Believe it or not, you’re probably already providing fine motor skill practice for your child. Do you ever ask your child to pick up small pieces of food they dropped on the floor? Or do you let them color with crayons? 

Each time your child pinches, grasps, ties, writes, etc., they are gaining strength in their muscles needed for fine motor activities. Fine motor activities for infants and toddlers can be as simple as picking up toys or playing with playdough. To provide more practice, you might consider having some toys for fine motor development in your home. 

Can I teach other concepts using the pumpkin candies? 

When you’re done using the candy for fine motor skills and counting practice, reuse them for some of these creative activities! 

Letter Making

Pumpkin letters.

Draw large letters on a piece of paper. Have your child follow the lines by placing pumpkins on them. When they’re done, say the letter’s name and have your child repeat it.   

Shape Making

Pumpkin square.

Using the pumpkins to create lines and curves will allow your child to practice forming shapes. Try calling out the name of a shape and having your child race to create the outline of that shape. 

Subtraction 

Pumpkin math.

Teach your child basic subtraction skills by having them collect a pile of pumpkin candies. After they’ve counted up the pile, take a few away and ask them to find out how many are left. 

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • White, Linda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages – 01/01/1996 (Publication Date) – Holiday House (Publisher)

What other ways can I enrich this activity? 

To turn this activity into an all-out fall fest, consider including some of these activities:  

Pumpkin Picking Fine Motor Activity


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