The Mess-Free Way to Explore Pumpkin Guts with Toddlers

During the Fall season it is always fun to carve jack-o-lanterns! But before you toss the guts and roast the seeds kids may enjoy digging into a gooey sensory experience! If your child isn’t into slimy sensory play or you have a toddler, you can allow them to freely and safely explore pumpkin guts with a mess-free pumpkin guts sensory bag! (Updated 9-17-2016)

Allow your toddler to freely and safely explore pumpkin guts with this mess-free pumpkin guts sensory bag!

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Exploring Pumpkin Guts with Toddlers

Safety reminder: Toddlers and young children should never be left unattended with sharp knives and plastic bags. Please be extra careful when doing this activity. 


  • Table covering (a large paper bag opened up works great!)
  • Pumpkins
  • Bin
  • Spoons
  • Plastic Sandwich or Gallon sized bags
  • Knife (for adults)

How to Set Up:

To set up this activity, cover your table with an opened up large paper bag or other table covering. Using painters tape will help hold the brown paper in place without damaging your table. Then set out a plastic bin and some spoons for scooping. Finally carefully cut open the pumpkin, place it in the bin and allow your child to explore the pumpkin inside and out.

Toddler exploring pumpkin

Toddlers Learn through Exploration

We did this activity when my son was a young toddler as part of our tot school Halloween week. Caden, then age 22 months, loved exploring the pumpkin and learning through his senses. He helped to scoop out the pumpkin guts and seeds.  He enjoyed banging on the hollow pumpkin with the spoons and listening to the sounds it made. He also spent a good amount of time playing with the pumpkin top, taking it off and fitting it back on just right.

Making a Pumpkin Guts Sensory Bag

Caden wasn’t too fond of the sticky, slimy guts so I put them into a resealable sandwich bag. I wasn’t too worried about the bag opening, but if you are you can tape over the resealable edge with clear packing tape.

Pumpkin Guts Sensory Bag

My son really enjoyed squishing the seeds and pulp around in the bag. He kept repeating “squishy, squishy”. Then he decided to put the guts back in the pumpkin and take them back out. He repeated this action a few times.

Caden enjoyed the squishy bag of pumpkin guts so much, I am sure if I let him he would have played with it all day!

Toddler exploring pumkin guts sensory bag

Overall, we had a good time exploring the pumpkin guts! Caden and I spent a good half hour playing with the pumpkin, which if you know toddlers they don’t spend much time doing anything!

And my favorite part, we surprisingly didn’t make too much of a mess! Happy Halloween!



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16 thoughts on “The Mess-Free Way to Explore Pumpkin Guts with Toddlers”

  1. Laura M. says:

    This is great…I’m pretty sure my 3 year old shares my aversion to “icky stuff” and that both of us would much prefer to play with this stuff in a baggie! Even the baby would be able to play along! Saw this posted on Discover and Explore and had to see it! Looks great!

  2. I love the idea of adding the sticky, slimey guts to a bag for sensory play! Thanks for sharing on the Discover & Explore linky!

  3. Putting the ‘guts’ in a bag is such a great idea! Controls the mess and gently eases wee ones into different sensory experiences. Fantastic! This would be great for my babe – who still puts everything in his mouth – he will love being a part of pumpkin carving!

  4. Alyssa says:

    What a fun idea! I just wanted to let you know that I am showcasing this with a link back on my Fall Activity Roundup at Simply Creative Kids if you don’t mind.

  5. Ashley Moore says:

    Uggg….I hate pumpkin guts! I would have to leave them in the bag too; I’m sure my kids would be happy stringing them all over the place though!

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