Secondary Pumpkin Patch

This lesson is originally from Tricia Fugalstad on her Artsonia site. I want to make sure that she gets credit for the original idea! That being said, I have slightly adapted it for my own use.

I do these with my kinders each year to introduce the secondary colors. I have them watch a short video about the secondary colors and then we begin this project.
4 1/2" X 6" construction paper in various shades of orange (they will need 3 different pieces) for the pumpkins, 12" X 18" construction paper in various shades of violet for the sky, 12" X 18" construction paper in various shades of green for the grass (this will be torn in half vertically), glue, scissors, pencils, green tempera, orange tempera, purple tempera, paint brushes, scrap tag or paper for "palettes", thick black markers, artificial autumn leaves (I found these at the Dollar Store)

Day one:
1. Discuss the secondary colors and watch videos or read books, if available.
2. Hand out three pieces of orange paper and have students draw 3 large ovals and cut them out for pumpkins.

3. Students choose one paper for grass and one paper for a sky. (I have the grass paper already ripped. I have tried to let them do it and I end up with a DISASTER!!).

4. Have students glue the grass to the bottom edge of the sky paper with the jagged edge pointing up.

5. Begin gluing the pumpkins to the paper, starting on the far edge. This is a great time to introduce new vocabulary words: background, middle ground, and foreground. I tell the kids that the first pumpkin needs to be half on the ground and half on the sky. Continue gluing the pumpkins, overlapping them.

Day Two: Painting

1. I show them what a paint palette looks like and then they get their own paper "palette" upon which a place three blobs of paint; one of each of the secondary colors. I have them stand while painting, as I have found that there is less mess of them reaching across the table to their palette. Plus, they seem to love standing to paint for a change!

2. We begin with the sky. I hand them a paint brush and demonstrate using the violet paint to create stars, swirls, and wind. When they are finished, they place their brushes in the sink so they can "get a bath."

3. I hand out a larger brush and demonstrate adding the lines to the pumpkins. I show them how the lines disappear behind the pumpkins in front of them. Once finished, the brushes go to their bathtub again.

4. New brushes are handed out again and blades of grass are added with green paint to the green paper. This time, however, the students are instructed to keep their brushes.

5. I make sure all students have their eyes on me and I remind them that their brushes are already green with paint. They then dip them in to the purple paint on their palettes. Then, they mix their brushes with the leftover orange paint on their palettes and ask them what color they get. It is always fun to hear all their little voices yell out, "Brown!" This paint is used to paint the stems on to the pumpkins.

6. Palettes are thrown away and brushes are put in the sink for washing. Paintings go on the rack and sponges are thrown out for table washing!

Day Three: Finshing
1. Hand out papers and thick black markers. Have students trace around pumpkins, stems, and over orange painted lines.

2. I bought three bags of artificial leaves at the Dollar Store and ended up with a huge box full:

Hand out a few to each student and have them glue around the pumpkins. Gorgeous! Last year, we also added a sparkly purple moon to the sky. I haven't decided if we will do that this year or not. I guess it depends on the time! If so, here is the paper we use.

And, just for fun... I found this awesomely artsy video on Youtube by M. Ryan Tayler that fits perfectly with this lesson. Be sure to check out his other songs!


  1. Thank you for posting this. I just did this with my Kinders and it turned out AWESOME! I wish I had the faux leaves to add to them as that would be the perfect touch. They are beautiful with out as well!

  2. Thanks for the detailed lesson. I used this with my first graders. So many concepts and beautiful results. Thanks for sharing!


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