I realize that Five Little Pumpkins has become such a classic rhyme to share with children as October 31st approaches, but it does possess certain magical qualities, which is why grown ups share it with young children each year. It holds so much possibility for musical expression, dramatic play, creative art and the development of early literacy, understanding of number concepts and curiosity about nature. In my class, we first explored the musical and dramatic aspects while reciting the rhyme, giving each pumpkin its own distinctive voice, saying “Wooooooo!” in high voices to represent the wind blowing, clapping loudly to put out the lights, and rolling our arms to show the pumpkins rolling out of sight. Throughtout the week, we painted paper plates and made pumpkin “pillows” by stapling together two pumpkins and stuffing them with crumpled paper. Doing these things filled the classroom with joyful sounds and the bright colour of Hallowe’en!
Creative experiences beautifully complement and support activities designed to stimulate children’s interest in written words, number concepts and the natural world. It is important for children to learn to connect spoken and written words by looking at print, to understand the order of numbers (e.g., first, second, third) by manipulating and counting objects (such as as pumpkin puppets), and to develop their questions about nature by having hands-on experiences with real things like gourds. When the children saw the chart paper with the rhyme written out, they were very excited to point to and recite each word, proudly demonstrating their emerging reading skills. They placed pumpkin puppets into pockets labelled from one to five, exploring counting, and ordinality. Touching gourds and looking at them using magnifying glasses raised all kinds of interesting questions and allowed the children to be scientists. For me it was great to see how the integration of the arts into the daily curriculum could ignite children’s excitement about reading, numeracy and nature!
I hope you’ll enjoy our artful rendition of the Five Little Pumpkins Rhyme and try it with your children! It begins like this:
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate…..
Then wooooooooooo went the wind and out went the lights……
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!