I think it's a pretty popular thing to let toddlers do. Carving is still a bit to old for them, so I know lots of pumpkin painters this year. Last week, to kill some time while Graham was napping, I pulled out Dylan's finger paints, painting shirt ( which he loves) and some pumpkins we had picked up at his school's patch. First, he wanted to just paint paper. He was very clean about it. I was impressed. I guess school has taught him that. I can't say that I have ever painted with Dylan, because well, it's a mess. After he painted about 15 sheets of paper, I pulled out the pumpkin.
He wanted to use his hands, but every two seconds would say " Wash hands mama, mess" Dylan is in no way particular about getting messy. He just likes to wash his hands. I think they do it a lot at school. It's a good habit he found.