Preschoolers love painting. They love gluing. They also love decorating pumpkins! I combined all three of these favorite things into one activity for the perfect pumpkin art activity.
Try adding this pumpkin process art to in any autumn, Halloween, or farm theme in preschool. The students were so happy to make painted tissue paper mini pumpkins during our harvest party.
Tissue Painted Mini Pumpkins: A Pumpkin Art Activity for Preschoolers
Any great set of preschool lesson plans is going to include some sort of process art or a thematic craft project. It’s not different for a fall preschool theme, pumpkin preschool theme, or even a Halloween preschool theme.
These tissue painted mini pumpkins make the perfect pumpkin art activity to add to your seasonal and holiday activities in preschool.
Try painting pumpkins instead of carving them!
Let’s face it: adding a real pumpkin to your pumpkin art activities in preschool makes the craft extra special.
But…I do not like carving pumpkins. At all. Not even a little bit.
And of course you can’t carve pumpkins very easily in a preschool classroom, either.
So instead, we paint pumpkins in preschool! But not just any kind of painting. We’re talking tissue painting! And they turn out so very beautifully every year.
What kind of pumpkins to use for tissue painting pumpkins
You can really use any kind of pumpkin. Carving pumpkins will be big for a preschooler to tissue paint completely, so I like to use mini pumpkins. Plus, mini pumpkins are cheap, comparatively.
But imagine your own front porch decorated with full sized tissue painted pumpkins!
I would not recommend using plastic pumpkins. The liquid school glue will peal away from the plastic once it dries. To use plastic pumpkins, you would need to use a specialty glue that will adhere to plastic.
Why should you try this pumpkin art activity for preschoolers?
The answer is simple.
Tissue painted pumpkins are a fun way to decorate pumpkins in the preschool classroom. But process art activities like this one also have loads of other benefits, such as:
- fine motor skill work
- creativity development
- social-emotional development (preschoolers are more likely to feel relaxed and expressive during process art)
- prolonged focus in a single activity
- decision making skills
- developing the ability to plan, predict, and problem solve
Painted Tissue Paper Mini Pumpkins for Preschoolers
If you’re not already hooked on this art activity, let me take you through the steps. These pumpkins turn out so pretty and they can be made by both preschoolers and toddlers!
- mini pumpkins
- liquid glue
- paint brushes
- paper plates
- tissue paper in small squares (no bigger than 2 inch squares)
How to make these colorful pumpkins
To prepare, cut the tissue paper into small squares. If you’re using mini pumpkins, the squares should be between one and two inches (but the measurements don’t need to be exact).
If you’re doing a larger pumpkin, then cut larger tissue squares. (You can save even more time by using these precut tissue paper squares.)
Place the tissue squares on a paper plate and make sure each preschooler can easily reach the plate.
*** Note >>> I tore the paper myself as I have found that three-year-olds tend to do more crumpling than tearing. The action of twisting the wrists in opposite directions in an effort to tear a piece of paper is still very difficult for most preschoolers–especially young preschoolers–and tissue paper makes tearing even more challenging.
Pour some liquid glue onto a paper plate or in a shallow bowl. Give each preschooler a paintbrush and a mini pumpkin and invite them to join you in a pumpkin art activity!
Start by painting a layer of glue all over the pumpkin. You want the layer to be fairly thick, but not dripping.
And don’t worry about using a paintbrush to do this. If you use liquid school glue (which is a pva glue), it easily washes out of the brushes. See the fine motor work that went into brushing the pumpkins with glue; it takes a steady hand and attention to detail!
Once the pumpkins are covered in a nice layer of glue, start adding the pieces of tissue paper.
Now, here is an important detail.
Your preschooler’s fingers are going to touch the glue on their pumpkins and then the tissue paper is going to stick to their fingers.
And this is going to be awkward and frustrating to some preschoolers. That’s ok. I just tell my preschoolers that they can wash their hands when they are all done with their pumpkins.
As a result, the preschoolers may not completely press down the tissue paper. The pumpkins might end up looking like this:
If the pumpkins end up looking like the above photo, just go back and use some liquid glue and paint over the tissue paper. This is a necessary step anyway.
Allow the pumpkins to dry completely. It will take at least 12 hours, sometimes even overnight or an entire 24 hours. When they are dry, they will look like this:
I think these pumpkins turned out gorgeous! My preschoolers are always so surprised at the finished result and are so proud when they are displayed. They look lovely on the fireplace mantel along with other fall decorations.
Don’t forget to pair this art activity with your favorite pumpkin picture books!
Just about any preschool activity can be elevated when you add some well-written picture books to the activity. These are some of our favorite picture books about pumpkins:
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.