Let toddlers be a part of Halloween and Fall festivities with this easy sensory activity. Inviting children to a pumpkin washing station is the perfect play idea. Bonus: it doesn’t require you to buy any additional items. You have all the supplies you need.
Welcome fall with a pumpkin washing station
Hello Fall activities and all the pumpkins and joy that comes with it. Who doesn’t love a world with Octobers (right, Anne)?
A perfect way to kick off the fall season (or jump start a long day) is to let your child wash the pumpkins. That’s right: water, dirt, pumpkins, and toddlers. It’s a winning combination.
RELATED: Looking for more fall activities for toddlers? Check out my list!
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The activity set-up
This activity is just about as easy as they come. Here’s the quick step-by-step.
- Find a large storage container or use your kiddie pool or water table
- Add in some dirt from the yard (nothing fancy, just regular yard dirt)
- Get the dirt good and muddy with water.
- Add in the pumpkins and roll them around (we want dirty pumpkins)
- Set a bucket of clean soapy water next to the muddy bin (or in the muddy bin).
- Provide scrub brushes and sponges for your child to clean the pumpkins with.
RELATED: Fall memories don’t have to be expensive. Check out my Fall Bucket List for Toddlers and Preschoolers (it’s a free download).
Tips for a successful pumpkin washing station
My kids (ages 4 and 2 here) loved this activity. It’s just the perfect combination of fall fun, being outside, sensory magic, and washing things.
To make sure it was successful, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years:
- Make sure to have one scrubbing brush or sponge per child (sharing is hard in early childhood)
- Have extra towels on hands for little hands and little pumpkins
- Be prepared for kids to get wet and dirt during this activity (a dirty kids is a happy kids)
- Leave this activity outside as an option. Let kids bounce back to the activity as they please.
Other variations of the “washing station” activity
My kids are obsessed with washing stations (which is why a pumpkin washing station was an absolute must). Here are three other washing station activities if you find that your child likes this kind of activity too.
Kids learn so much from water play activities – so it’s a good thing to keep coming back to these set-ups.
How to clean-up
At the end, we dumped the mud and water back into our backyard dirt area, and gave the pumpkins a final hose off before adding them back to the porch.
Make sure to dry them off well.
There’s nothing my kids love more than washing these porch pumpkins all.season.long. This is a repeated activity until the pumpkins are finally no more.
Sometimes, we even paint the pumpkins BEFORE we wash them. It’s extra and next level fun.
Frequently asked questions
Think stages not ages. Instead of focusing on a child’s age, consider the stage of life they are in as well as their personality. Some children will love this before age 2. Some might never enjoy this activity. It’s up to you to decide when you think your child will be ready AND if they’d like it.
If you don’t have a storage container, try setting up this activity in the sink (just skip the mud part). Washing pumpkins in the sink is one of the first activities I ever did with my oldest.
Not all kids will! Activities are like food. We don’t expect all kids to like all foods…and we can’t expect all kids to like all activities. If your child doesn’t like an activity, remember that for next time. Set up other styles of activities.