Beyond the Book: If You Give a Pig a Pancake

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It’s the last Thursday of the month. That means it’s time for another round-up of extension activity ideas for some of my favorite children’s picture books! This month, we’ll be having fun with If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond.

In this popular picture book, young readers are kept on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next as each action leads to another consequence.

It all begins with, “If you give a pig a pancake, she’ll want some syrup to go with it.”

Read the book with your little one, then, keep the fun going with these activity ideas:

1. Make pancakes


Of course you’ll want to make pancakes since that’s how the whole escapade begins! Pancakes are a tasty breakfast treat and simple enough that young children should be able to make them with a little help and supervision. Let your preschoolers practice measuring and mixing while you make a basic pancake recipe together. You could try a dairy-free pancake recipe or gluten-free pancakes if allergies are a concern.

2. Learn how maple syrup is made


Sure you’ve probably got a bottle of syrup in your cabinet, but have you ever wondered about the history of maple syrup? Learn more about this sweet, sticky treat and how maple syrup is made. If you don’t have a bottle of the real thing, try a tasty maple syrup substitute. Don’t get too sticky or you’ll need a bath!

3. Take a bubble bath


Oops! You got sticky? You’ll need a bubble bath, just like the pig in the story.

Most preschoolers won’t need much convincing to play in a bath full of bubbles. If you don’t have any bubble bath solution, give your little one another chance to practice measuring and mixing as you make your own homemade bubble bath.  

4. Visit a farm


Arrange a visit to a local farm to learn about pigs and the other animals that live there. Call the farm directly or contact your state agricultural department to find out more about the available options in your area.

5. Make pig crafts


Supply your preschoolers with pig coloring pages and plan some simple pig-themed crafts. While you’re coloring or crafting, talk about pigs. Find out what your preschooler already knows about them, but make sure you have some new and interesting pig facts to share.

6.Try tap dancing or playing piano


In If You Give a Pig a Pancake, the little pig tries her hand – or feet! – at tap dancing while the little girl plays piano. Let your preschooler have fun pretending to tap dance. You can make a simple pair of pretend tap shoes for the activity.

Do you have a piano? Try playing some music together or play for your little one while he dances.

7. Play dress-up and take pictures


With the popularity and ease digital and cell phone cameras, it’s simple to have a dress-up party and photo shoot, just like the pig in the story. Sure, it may mean some extra clean-up time, but drag out all the dress-up clothes and have a blast together!

Bonus tip: This could also be a sneaky way to get your preschooler to try on clothes to see what she’s outgrown.

8. Write letters to friends


Finally, why not print some of those photos to send to your preschooler’s friends and relatives? You could write letters to enclose or send some of the pig coloring pages that your little one completed. 

The cause-and-effect story line of If You Give a Pig a Pancake captures the attention of young readers. Use that excitement as a springboard to enjoy these eight extension activities together.
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