Sep 30, 2012

Fine Motor Pumpkin Activity: Hammering Nails



Mastering fine motor skills as well as hand eye coordination is an integral component of every child's development. Therefore, when creating an environment that meets the needs of the whole child, providing opportunities for young children to use their fingers in fine motor movement is essential. Most early childhood curriculums will include many fine motor activities such as beading, lego, and coloring. The following article provides some different ideas for providing opportunities for children to master their skills with the use of some pumpkins.

Pumpkin Activity: Hammering Nails

Hammering nails into a pumpkin is an attractive activity for children of all ages. For preschool ages, the skin of the pumpkin provides enough strength to hold the nail, yet soft enough for the hammering to be easy for the little hands holding the hammer. This activity works well at a table set for two with one child on either side of the table. But, it can also be enjoyed in any household environment as the photo displayed illustrates.

The material required :
large pumpkin
large amount of small nails
two small hammers: metal OR plastic hammers
spoon or butter knife (to remove the nails)
plastic safety goggles(optional)


Once the items have been collected, a beneficial way of starting this fun activity is to demonstrate to the young children how the hammering will occur and discuss ways of being safe. For instance, the adult should show the child how to gently nail towards the pumpkin without flinging the hammer way into the air. One tactic would be to ask the children how to be safe with hammering. Many children will be eager to tell others what they may have already learnt about using a hammer. In a preschool or daycare setting, this activity may be providing young children their first opportunity to use a real hammer and real nails. In an early childhood environment, guidelines or "rules" should be thought through and established before the event.

Alternative Ideas for Pumpkin Hammering with Preschoolers

There are different ways to set up this activity for young children:
  • Draw a face on the pumpkin before hand for children to follow
  • Leave the nails in the pumpkin, and then take out the insides of the pumpkin and put in a candle
  • Use string tied to selected hammer to create a fun design on pumpkin
  • Use golf tees instead of nails


  • Pumpkins provide fun activities for preschoolers beyond the traditional carving into a Jack o Lantern for Halloween. Hammering nails into pumpkins will definetely be enjoyed by children of all ages!

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