Ten Little Pumpkins Poem and Math Lesson: Finger Play and Circle Time Activities for Kindergarten Kids

Circle time in Kindergarten is a great way for teachers to teach the concepts of music, movement, math, and memorization. Kids enjoy singing songs and performing finger plays and don’t realize how much learning is taking place.

Ten Little Pumpkins is counting poem and finger play that can be taught to Kindergarteners during circle time in the fall. The poem opens with ten pumpkins that get picked from the patch one by one until none remain. When students recite the poem they are counting backwards from ten to one and vocalizing the concept of subtraction.

Ten Little Pumpkins Counting Poem and Motions for Circle Time

After reviewing calendar skills with the students during circle time, the Kindergarten teacher teaches the class the Ten Little Pumpkins poem. The teacher also demonstrates motions to go along with the lines of the poem. The motions can include spreading out their arms like a vine, mimicking picking up a pumpkin, and smiling nice and big for looking great.

The teacher recites the poem again for the kids. This time she pauses at the end of the second line and asks the students to provide the answer. For example, the teacher will say, “One was picked and then there were ____.” The students’ first response is nine. The teacher finishes the poem continuing to pause for the students to fill in how many are left.

Once the students have listened to the poem a couple of times they will begin to join in saying and acting out picking one pumpkin. The teacher places a large copy of the poem near the classroom calendar. The class reads and acts out the poem daily during circle time.

Teach Addition and Subtraction with the Ten Little Pumpkins Poem

Once the kids have begun to memorize the Ten Little Pumpkins poem, the teacher can use the poem to teach Kindergarten math concepts. While reciting the poem the students are counting backwards from ten and subtracting by one. The kindergarten teacher can build on these math skills during circle time or in math class.

To teach the Kindergarten kids how to count backwards the teacher directs the students’ attention to the large written copy of the poem. She points out how as you go through the poem the numbers go down one by one until there are none left.

The teacher tells the students that when you start at a high number and go count down to a lower number you are counting backwards. The kids practice counting backwards after reciting the poem. She explains that counting backwards is a skill that will help them learn how to subtract.

The teacher then places ten felt pumpkins on the felt board and recites the poem again with the class. As the students say the lines of the poem she takes away the corresponding pumpkin and vocalizes the subtraction problems. The teacher then uses the felt pumpkins as manipulatives for more addition and subtraction problems.

The Ten Little Pumpkins poem can be used by Kindergarten teachers in the fall during circle time. The learning the poem and its motions helps students increase their ability to memorize new information. The pumpkin themed poem also demonstrates the concept of subtraction and can be the introduction for Kindergarten math lessons.

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