Gourd Painting Activity

5.0 based on 6 ratings
Updated on Oct 22, 2013

Gourd painting is a fun fall activity that makes for colorful Thanksgiving decorations! Perfect for kids that are feeling nostalgic about the loss of last month's Jack-o'-lanterns, gourd painting is a traditional pastime with origins in Asia, Africa, and America. Have your child make his very own gourd painting to celebrate the autumn harvest and Thanksgiving. Make one gourd painting or a cluster of painted gourds to use as Thanksgiving decorations or unique dinner table centerpieces.

What You Need:


  • Vegetable gourds in various shapes, colors, and sizes
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Newspaper
  • Tablecloth for display

What You Do:

  1. Take your child to the grocery store so the two of you can pick out your gourd "canvases" together. This is a good autumn-time craft since many colorful and uniquely shaped gourds are available during this season.
  2. When you're home and ready to paint, place newspapers under each of the gourds.
  3. Tell your child to think of some autumn scenes or sayings to paint on the gourds (e.g. autumn leaves, pumpkins, corn fields, a pilgrim hat, "Happy Thanksgiving", etc.).
  4. Have your aspiring painter use autumn colored acrylic paints (red, orange, brown, green, and black) to paint the scenes and sayings on the gourds.
  5. After the paint has dried on the gourds, let your child arrange them as he wishes on a Thanksgiving or harvest-themed tablecloth.

The gourds will not keep forever! Have your child paint them just before Thanksgiving. Also, remember that since you cannot eat your painted gourds, you may want to buy others just for eating—your appetite for gourds is sure to increase after this activity!

Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

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