Storytime Anytime: Pumpkins

Storytime Anytime PUMPKINS

Storytime Anytime is a concentrated storytime experience that parents and caregivers can recreate with the youngster in your life. Each storytime focuses on a book about a specific interest, a song, rhyme, or fingerplay that complements the story, and then a few, simple extension activities. Storytime doesn’t just happen in the library, storytime can be anytime! 

Pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere! Tis’ pumpkin season when pumpkins adorn doorsteps and windows, decorate storefronts, and everything, EVERYTHING is flavored pumpkin. With so many pumpkins all around, it’s a great time to read stories and sing songs all about pumpkins with your little one. Get into the spirit of Halloween with a pumpkin storytime of your very own.

Storytime Anytime Pumpkin Storytime

READ: Five Little Pumpkins illustrated by Ben Mantle (Public Library | Local Bookstore). There are a couple illustrated versions of this famous Halloween rhyme (like this one and this one), but this board book by Ben Mantle seems to be the version both of my girls responded to the most over the years. “Five Little Pumpkins” is an old, well-loved rhyme that is also popular to sing as a fingerplay about five pumpkins on a spooky night that young children enjoy reading and reciting during and long after the pumpkin season.

SING: “Pumpkin Chant” by Jane Willis Johnston. This delightful rhyme has been on this blog before and was created by a good friend and mentor who is now a retired youth librarian. It’s such a fun way to celebrate the season and Dana and Lindsey from Jbrary do an awesome job demonstrating “Pumpkin Chant” in the video above. You say this chant/action rhyme to the rhythm of  PAT PAT, CLAP CLAP, PAT PAT, CLAP CLAP so that it sounds like this: Pumpkin (pat pat), Pumpkin (clap clap), Pumpkin (pat pat) bread (action- hold hands flat in front)…

Pumpkin Chant
By Jane Willis Johnston

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin bread!
(Hold hands flat in front, palms up, one lying on top of the other)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin head!
(Put hands on head)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin pie!
(Hold hands in a big circle)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin eye!
(Curve hands around eyes)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin cake!
(Hold Hands flat, one palm up, one palm down five inches above the other)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin shake!
(Hold fists up close to years and shake hard)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin stew!
(Pretend to stir stew)

Pumpkin, pumpkin,
Pumpkin BOO!


PLAY: These are simple pumpkin activities to expand upon the theme of the book read that you can do at home or as you go about your day.

  • I-Spy a Pumpkin: I play this game all the time with my girls. Whenever we see a pumpkin on our walks one of us say, “I spy a pumpkin!” And we all look for the pumpkin in view.
  • Pumpkin Counting: While on a walk or a visit to the farmer’s market or around town, when you spot multiple pumpkins, count how many pumpkins you see together.
  • Pumpkin Shapes & Sizes: Pumpkins come in all different shapes and colors. When you see a pumpkin or a group of pumpkins, compare and contrast! Talk about what color it is and if it is a big pumpkin or a small pumpkin, a tall pumpkin or a short pumpkin, and so on.
  • Jack-o-Lanterns: Transform a pumpkin into a Jack-o-Lantern and talk about the shapes that make up the eyes, nose, and mouth. This is also a good time to talk about the anatomy of a pumpkin not to mention it’s a great sensory activity to scoop out pumpkin guts and seeds!
  • Pumpkin Bake: Find an easy recipe with pumpkin as a main ingredient that you and your child would enjoy making (and eating!) together. Pumpkin butter, bread, muffins, waffles.. So many pumpkin delicacies to chose from! If you’re not feeling motivated to bake, enjoy a pumpkin treat at your local bakery.


EARLY LITERACY TIP: Rhymes and chants like the ones used in “Five Little Pumpkins” and “Pumpkin Chant” can be used to strengthen phonological awareness. By making connections with words that rhyme, a child is developing their recognition to sound segments which is a valuable tool when they start reading and writing.


Pumply, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo, illustrated by Valeria Petrone
Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor
Seven Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage
Pumpkin Cat by Anne Mortimer
Mystery Vine by Cathryn Falweel
Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington


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