Five Little Pumpkins, sitting on a gate…
Five Little Pumpkins is a classic elementary music song/poem and so much fun! If you haven’t heard or used this poem you can find resources here. I use this with my K-1 kids and add a few extra things to reinforce some concepts. Here’s my process:
1) The kids learn the poem with me as an echo activity. We take a while to learn this since so many of my little ones are ESL folks and need the extra repetition. We talk about it and make it a story. Why are they saying those things? Are witches real? Should they be worried? Then we add little, simple motions to go with each pumpkin’s words.
2) We learn this with five pumpkin icons on my magnet/white board so that the kids can visualize the five little pumpkins. Once they get the order and rhythm I move the pumpkins when they say their line so that the kids visualize one pumpkin with a little action for each. This is really fun because it’s next to my orange pumpkin lamp (a normal paper lamp that I put orange light bulbs in for October). When we get to “WWWWWWHHHHH went the wind and OUT went the lights” I click the lightswitch with my foot and the kids freak about the light going out when we said “out went the lights.” It’s fun and they usually get the trick, but it’s a lot of fun for me to introduce that mystery.
3) When the students are ready for the next variation of this poem I pull out some foam pumpkin cut-outs that I got at Target a few years back. I pull out five pumpkins and give them out “to students who are sitting correctly, speaking the poem, following along…” (basically to reinforce behavior while we do the activity). Then those students go and sit on the “gate” which is really just a piece of rope, but I tell the students to pretend that it’s a gate.
4) When we get to each little pumpkin’s words I pull out the hand-held microphone that’s connected with my classroom’s audio system (though I’ve done this quite a few times before with a blow up, fake microphone) and each student gets to say their words as a SOLO! It’s super fun for each kid to get to hear their voice and helps us cement that singing/speaking by ourselves is fun and not scary. Then when we get to the last line “five little pumpkins rolled out of sight,” the kid actually roll from one rope to another, which they get a real kick out of.
It’s a fun activity and easy to teach, add on, manipulate, and extend.