Reinforcing Rhythm with “Pumpkin Bones!”


While there are many ways to use this song in your classroom, one of our favorite ways is to emphasize rhythm!

Christina Swedberg, a  Quaver Teacher at Pray-Woodman Elementary in Maize, KS, uses “Pumpkin Bones” to do just that in her music classroom.

Using some very special rhythm cards that she created (that we’ve included for you to download below!) and a few fun games, her students—and your students—will be rhythm masters in no time!

You can also find the cards in Resource Manager by searching “Pumpkin Bones.”

Pumpkin Bones will be available on YouTube as our Song of the Month for the month of September! But act quickly! A new song will take its place on October 1st. But don’t worry—Quaver users will always be able to find it right in ClassPlay!

Here are a few helpful tips from Christina to get you started:

  1. Print the rhythm cards on card-stock and laminate
  2. There is a teacher key for you to reference at the end of the deck of cards with the different rhythm patterns
  3. Cards 1-10 are the patterns used in the song “Pumpkin Bones”
  4. Cards 11-30 are rhythm patterns that use quarter notes, eighth note pairs, and quarter rests
  5. Cards 31-40 practice sixteenth notes
  6. Cards 41-50 have syncopated rhythms
  7. There is also a blank pumpkin if there are any additional rhythms that you would like to practice with your students

Once you’ve secured your deck of rhythm cards, Christina recommends the following activities to start practicing rhythm! 

Pumpkin Bones Rhythm

After listening to “Pumpkin Bones,” use cards 1-10 to practice the rhythm patterns using rhythm sticks or something similar. You will play first as students echo the rhythm pattern. For younger students, you can match the rhythm with the words found in the song, or use your preferred counting methods.

Rhythm Decoding

Select a level of difficulty for your students as well as what rhythm cards they will be using.

This game can be played with a small group. Students will form a circle and place a pumpkin rhythm card in front of them. Use the teacher key to play, clap, or say a rhythm pattern.

The student who has that rhythm card holds their card up in the air. Take the card or have students turn their cards over in front of them when they’ve guessed correctly. Continue until everyone in the group has decoded a rhythm.

Composing with Rhythm

Students can use the rhythm pattern cards to make their own compositions.

Student will use a pentatonic scale to compose on keyboards, xylophones, Boomwhackers, or hand bells. This is also a great opportunity to get students composing in QComposer Lite.

Students will write out 4-8 measures of rhythms and melody. Have them write the note names under their rhythms. Use this opportunity for students to play their compositions for the class


How will you use Pumpkin Bones in your classroom this year?