Growing pumpkins from seed is great project for kids. Big seeds and sturdy seedlings produce fruit in time for Halloween, with very little maintenance along the way…

Sowing pumpkins

How to sow pumpkins with small children

Pumpkin seeds like to be sown on their sides, so my 3-year-old needed a bit of help to do this. Our seeds were sown in February – March and within a week, we had enormous seedlings to pot on. Their final place in the garden should have at least 5 hours of sunshine a day and will welcome the addition of some farmyard manure.

Pumpkin care

Spells of hot weather can reduce the ratio of female to male flowers, so we hand-pollinated some flowers with a paintbrush. We only allowed 2-3 pumpkins to develop per plant, removing the small ones should promote larger fruits. We were hoping for a good specimen for Halloween!

Pumpkin growing and carving - great autumn projects for kids

We made a bed of straw for our pumpkins to prevent them from rotting, but with little rain and an extended summer, they were ready by mid-September.


Pumpkin carving

Pumpkin growing and carving - great autumn projects for kids

The children drew faces on them with a white board marker, which they rubbed out and corrected until they were happy. I carved the pumpkins when the boys were not around so that nobody tried to copy me!

Pumpkin growing and carving - great autumn projects for kids

I  bought some battery operated tea lights, so that I could allow the children to assemble their pumpkin lanterns safely on their own. It’s worth noting that if you display a pumpkin in your window, or in your front garden, then you can expect trick-or-treaters at your door.