Phoneme Pumpkin Drum Circle

Sub-Project: Phoneme Pumpkin Drum Circle

Description: Drums are wonderful percussion instruments and are great for young children as they have a beautiful sound and are easy to play. Drums can be found in all cultures and its sound reminds its listeners to the heartbeat, steadily holding the pulse or beat. Children often respond immediately to its sound by moving or jumping to the beat.
It’s important to show children that drumming sound can be obtained using many different objects as well as fruit and vegetables. Using a pumpkin during autumn or even a watermelon in summer is a great activity for children. The best way to play a drum out of pumpkin, is by emptying it out as a hollow pumpkin will resonate a lot better than a full one. For watermelons, you can cut them in 2 (using only one half), empty it turning it upside down in a tub filled with water.
Distribute one pumpkin to every child if possible and sit in a circle to form a “pumpkin drum circle”. You can have the children tap on a large pumpkin with their hands or hand out a pair of long hard carrots to act as rhythm sticks. Tap to the beat of the song “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater”as the beat naturally splits the words into phonemes, an important skill to master in pre-literacy.
“Peter Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her!
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well!”

Collaborative Project:  Learning how to break words into phonemes is a very important skill to for children to learn. In fact, almost all cultures have funny nonsensical rhymes that have a steady beat to them and target this skill in kids. Share a funny nonsensical rhyme in your native language that other classrooms can tap to the beat!

Learning Objective: Sound resonance in pumpkins/watermelons as percussion instruments, plant biology and underlying biological characteristics of materials and phonemic awareness

Time frame: Autumn (pumpkin season) or summer with watermelons

Collaborative Form


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