I noticed that my Rascals really loved any kind of blocks, so I thought some kind of building lesson plan would be really fun. Well, I wasn’t wrong! The Three Little Pigs is such a great classic and the repetition of the storyline is helpful for kids to process cause and effect, among other literary devices. And who doesn’t love to say “chinny chin chin” in a funny pig voice?
We started our day a little differently than usual and skipped the ABC singalong with instruments in order to color piggy noses to get ready for our day of pigs- something I really thought about as I think consistency is of utmost importance with kids but decided the noses would be a great way to start the day. This was a super easy project to prep- I simply cut an egg carton into single cups, then attached elastic cord to make it easy to adjust and wear. I made every kind of pink art media available (except paint- I wanted them to be ready for immediate use and not have to dry) and the Rascals chose how they wanted to color their pig nose. I added “nostrils” with a black marker and away we went!
We then marched back to the school room, where I had our puppet theater set up and 3LP puppets cut/laminated/sticked and ready to go. I used this printable pack and chose the images I wanted to use to simplify the story to meet my Rascals’ attention spans. I attached them to popsicle sticks to use as puppets. I ran through the story once, discussing cardinal numbers and story sequencing as we went. The kids caught on really quickly to the key phrases and participated readily.
[To add: I did use some of the other pages from the printable pack in wipeable pockets with dry erase crayons in our morning basket this week. My older kid really likes to do mazes, and I used the clip card pages as “cross out” activities instead of individual cards.]
When done, we made our own piggy puppets. I traced circles onto pink foam sheets (I used a tomato paste can as a stencil- it was just the right size!) and then cut triangles from the scraps. I found some great adhesive silly eyes at the dollar store, and drew on the noses and mouths. Each popsicle stick had a number on it to reinforce First, Second, Third concepts, and we took turns choosing eyes for the piggies. I provided glue in a small container and some paintbrushes and the Rascals chose where to glue the pig ears. For the Big Bad Wolf, I glued a large black pompom to a small bit of foam for stability before gluing the foam to the popsicle stick the night before preschool so they’d be dry and ready for little hands. I used red puffy paint to add a little mouth and the kids picked silly eyes for their wolves.
After we completed our puppets, we used REAL STRAW (raffia) and REAL STICKS- collected them from the backyard the day prior- and (not so real) BRICKS to build the piggies some houses. I introduced The Big Bad Wolf (a set of googly eyes and felt ears taped to my blowdryer) and the Rascals set to work, building houses for the pigs that would be strong enough to withstand the wrath of the huffing and puffing Wolf. I’m not sure they knew exactly what was going to happen, but the giggles that ensued were worth the mess. They worked together to build a house for each pig (first, second and third!). They each had a turn to be the wolf, as well. This was perhaps the most fun activity we’ve done yet! We talked about which material was strongest and how to shore up “brick” walls to make them stronger to protect the pigs within.
The Rascals were super hungry at this point, so we made our snack: graham cracker houses, peanut butter, and Craisin “bricks.” They practiced spreading skills and then proceeded to simply lick their utensils, which is clearly the best way to eat peanut butter.
We moved on to our name activity of the day (I try to do include some kind of personal project with each Rascal lesson plan), incorporating rolling marbles, mud, and Pink for Pigs. Using adjustable letters, I prepared each Rascal’s name in the middle of the paper, provided a small dollop of brown paint and a few marbles in a tray, and they tilted the pans to roll the marbles through the paint and over their names. Once they declared they were done, I peeled off the letters to reveal their names in relief against the brown roller marks. They turned out pretty well!
Our final project of the day was to practice our hammering skills. Maybe one day we’d be able to build our own houses! I had been looking forward to this part of the lesson for a few days, as I’d never done this particular skill practice intentionally before and I was really excited to incorporate a seasonal item. So, each kid got a smallish pumpkin (pie pumpkins are just about the right size) and a hammer. We opened a bag of golf tees and set to work, hammering each tee into the pumpkin in whichever location the Rascal chose. This was a great activity to practice so many skills: hand-eye coordination, pincer grasp for fine motor and pencil grip skills, motor planning and execution, and concentration, to name a few. I provided some rubber bands that we use for geo-boards and the kids then built hand and finger strength by stretching them around the pegs they had just hammered. We talked about the shapes the rubber bands created on the pumpkins and the colors of the bands as well. A simple activity that reinforced so many important skills.