We do pumpkin painting once a year as part of my monthly program for Grades K-2, Kidding Around. It is a fun program that takes relatively little preparation, so if you aren't already doing it at your library I highly recommend trying it.
Here are some tips and tricks:
1. Check out local vegetable stands to get deals on pumpkins. They are less expensive than stores and more likely to give you a discount for a good cause.
2. Give kids a pattern to plan out their pumpkin design before hand. Here is the one I used. It is a great way to encourage kids to think ahead.
3. Old adult sized t shirts make great paint smocks for kids. The donated stash we have at my library gets a great deal of use, and is definitely brought out at pumpkin painting time.
4. If possible, let kids keep their pumpkin at the library while it dries. I usually ask parents to come and pick up the next day. While pumpkins are waiting for pickup they make great decoration for the library.
5. I have kids draw a number to choose which order they pick their pumpkin. This seems to be a pretty fair way to determine who gets which one.
5. Sizewise, I usually limit this program to about 12 kids. This works for us, especially because I am the only librarian running the program. With more adult assistance you could definitely do it with a bigger group.
For your viewing pleasure, here are a few of the pictures I took at this program:
Our next Kidding Around will be an Elephant and Piggie Party! We will be celebrating the release of the latest book "Waiting Is Not Easy!" Any ideas you have for this or any other program are greatly appreciated.