If You Give A Pig A Pancake (Mother’s Day) Workshop

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If You Give A Pig A Pancake is a story about a spunky little pig and all the silly things that happens just by giving her a pancake.  And reading about pancakes reminds us about….breakfast on Mother’s Day!

This was a very special workshop as it was dedicated to our hardworking and ever supportive mothers.  Since our moms are always waking up early and getting breakfast ready for us, we got breakfast ready for them (well, sort of), we made Pancakes in A Jar.


  • a clean jar (that has a volume of slightly more than a cup)
  • play dough (white and pink)

dry ingredients for pancakes:

  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbls (30 g) white sugar
  • 1 tsp (3 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (2 g) salt

 First – measure out all the dry ingredients and put them into the jar.

Next – use the white play dough to cover the lid of the jar.  Take off the excess dough so it wont go on the inside of the lid.  (The dough will slide around a bit, try and fit it on as best you can, but it will shrink as it dries and stick on a little better).

Use the pink play dough to make a pig.  Stick it to the top of the lid. You made need a little bit of water to do this. Some kids made a 3 dimensional pig sitting up, some made it stand on all four legs and some made a 2 dimensional version.  How will you make yours?

Lastly – make a Mother’s Day card with the rest of the recipe inside:

  • pancake mix
  • 1 cup  (235 ml) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbls (30 ml) vegetable oil

Pour the ingredients from the jar into a bowl.  Pour in the milk, egg and vegetable oil. Mix until smooth. Heat non-stick pan over medium heat until water beads. Do not oil. Pour pancake mixture in 1/4 cup amounts. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Remove from heat when pancake stops steaming.

Serve hot with butter and syrup or jelly.

And now you have your very special and original gift for your very special and original mom!

Swirls Workshop

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Swirl by Swirl, Sprials in Nature by written by Joyce Sidman e illustrated by Beth Krommes, is a beautiful book all about….you guessed it swirls and spirals.  The story was a bit difficult for the kids to follow, but it didn’t matter because the kids had lots of fun searching for all the spirals on every page.  After learning all about spirals, we made some of our own. Bloesem Kids had this wonderful project made with a few simple items you probably have around the house.


  • 18 gauge (or 1 cm) bendable wire (approx 1m + 10 cm)
  • pliers/wire cutters
  • pencil
  • pens and/or decorative paper
  • construction paper
  • wine cork
  • yogurt cup (optional)
  • glue (Elmers and hot glue)

1. If you are using a yogurt cup, hot glue the cork to the inside of the cup.  Hold onto the cork with your finger (so it doesn’t come loose) and use the nail to poke a hole though the bottom of cup and the cork (this will make it easier to push the wire through later on).

2.  Draw you design on a piece of construction paper, cut it out and retrace it onto another piece of construction paper.   Color and decorate the sides that face ‘outside.’ (Keep in mind that you are going to sandwich the wire between these to pieces – this way it is easier to figure out which sides to color).

3. Cut off appox 10 cm of wire (the length will vary, depending on the figure).  Bend into a c-shape. Use the pliers to make small loops at both ends.  If you are hold the C vertically, twist the loops so that the flat sides are parallel to the ground.

4.  Cut approx 1 m of wire (for the smaller kids we wrapped the ends with some tape so they wouldnt scratch themselves).  Wrap the wire around a pencil to make a coil.

5.  Remove the coil from the pencil and stretch it out (if your figure doesn’t ‘swirl’ down easily, try pulling so the coil will be longer).  Straighten a bit of one end and push it into the cork/yogurt cup. Thread your figure onto the spiral, and use the pliers to make a loop on the top end of the coil.  Your figure should spin down.

6.  If you have used a yogurt cup, use permanent markers and bits of fancy paper to decorate the cup.

Watch your figure swirl down the coil.

Spring Blossoms Workshop

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I looked out the window and what did I see? Popcorn popping on an apricot tree.  It’s springtime!  Just the right time to make a spring blossom picture!  Here’s what you will need:

  • a sheet of light blue paper
  • white pencil
  • elmer’s glue
  • fine salt
  • brown paint
  • light colored tissue paper cut into small squares.

Use the white pencil to draw some branches of a tree.  Paint your branches with glue (do a nice thick layer).

Sprinkle lots and lots of salt over the glue.  Let the glue dry and then shake the salt off.  (We didn’t have time to let the glue dry, so we had to be extra delicate doing the next step).

Paint the salt brown.  Let dry.

Lay a square of tissue paper onto the top of a pencil (the side without the point) and fold downward, forming a flower blossom. Dip the flat part into glue and stick onto a tree branch. Keep doing that until your tree is covered with flowers.  We glued little crushed up balls of tissue paper to the center of the flowers just to make them a little more colorful.

And there you have it, a beautiful tree with lots of spring blossoms! Achooo! Just kidding these trees are hypoallergenic!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Workshop

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of our favorite stories – (you can see by how many times we’ve posted about it under categories to your right).  It has the some of the very important features to look for when reading to ESL or EFL kids – the story uses a fairly simple and basic language, the story is interesting and the pictures explain the what is happening even if the kids don’t understand many of the words.  This story is also adaptable to teach different topics- the life cycle of a butterfly (also order- first, second, next etc), days of the week, counting and food.  We focused on the life cycle of a butterfly for our project. We made mobiles and this is how we did it:Supplies:

  • paper plate (or construction paper and something to trace a circle)
  • black construction paper
  • a white or light colored pencil
  • crayons or oil pastels
  • scissors
  • large embroidery needle and thread

First take the paper plate and draw a large spiral shape and cut it out.

Use the white pencil to draw an egg on a leaf, a caterpillar, a cocoon and a butterfly (we folded the paper in half and drew on the fold).  (The kids were given 12 x 12 cm squares and asked the kids to draw as big as they could – otherwise they tended to draw something small in the center of the paper – making it hard to color, cut out and see). The drawing above is not to scale, but just to give you an idea of what the pieces you should have.

Cut out the pieces and color them in.

This part may require adult supervision – cut out 4 pieces of thread about the same length (about 25 cm) and 1 longer thread (about 40 cm).  Thread the needle with the large piece of thread, poke the needle through center of the spiral (going from top to bottom) and then poke it back through again (going from bottom to top).  Tie a knot at the end.  This will be used to hang the mobile.

Now attach the other pieces.  Using the shorter pieces of thread  poke the needle through the top of the spiral, poke it though one of your pieces (leaf, caterpillar, cocoon or butterfly), poke it back up through the spiral and tie a knot.  Repeat, making sure you evenly space each piece.  The order doesn’t really matter because it changes as the mobile spins.

Here is a cute little song to sing (to the tune of Up On The Rooftop) while you are working:

  • First comes a butterfly and lays an egg.
    Out comes a caterpillar with many legs.
    Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin,
    A little chrysalis to sleep in.
  • Oh, oh ,oh wait and see!
    Oh, oh, oh wait and see!
    Out of the chrysalis, my oh my,
    Out comes a beautiful butterfly!

(We didn’t make it up, but since we’ve seen it on many other sites, we can’t cite it since we don’t know who to give the credit to – but nice job whoever it was!)

Easter Workshops, Bunny Lumps Guess Who?

A while back, we saw adorable little bunny lumps on House Wren Studios.  They are simple enough for the kids to make, but just making one was not enough.  Then we had the brilliant idea (yes, we are patting ourselves on the back for this one :o) use the idea for an Easter Guess Who? game.


  • Play dough in different colors ( we used – white, yellow, orange, purple and pink, blue and green – that’s a lot of dough, you could use fewer colors, but you will have fewer variables)
  • Craft foam or Felt (we used red, orange, yellow, green, blue and pink b/c that was what was in the craft foam package)
  • Wooden skewer.
  • plus glue, pens and paper to make name tags

It’s actually quite simple how to make the ‘lumps’ all you need to do is squish a small ball of dough into a small lump.  Roll tiny pieces of dough for the nose and the tail,  Cut out ears from the craft foam and poke them in.  Use the skewer to poke 2 eyes on the bunny – tadah you are finished. The really fun part is – when the bunnies dry, write names on little slips of paper and glue them to the bottom of the bunnies.

To make sure that the kids didn’t repeat combinations of ears, eyes, noses and tails we made a little chart and cut it up into squares.  The kids chose the bunny they wanted to make and then wrote the number down, followed the ‘bunny lump recipe’ and then put the card back, fished out another and began again.  Since the process was pretty simple, this let the kids be pretty independent and go at their own pace.

To play Guess Who? You will need 2 or more players.  Set the bunnies on the table in a random order.  Decide who will go first (this will be Player A).  Player A chooses a bunny (but doesn’t say who it is), the rest of the players ask yes or no questions to guess which bunny it is by process of elimination, ie:  first guesser (Player B) says – does the bunny have blue ears.  If Player A says YES, all bunnies WITH blue ears are taken off the table.  If Player A says NO, all the bunnies WITHOUT blue ears are take off the table.  And so on and so forth for the rest of the players.  After player asks his yes or no question, they should be asked ‘Would you like to guess which bunny it is?’ – if Player B (or C or D) says yes and guesses correctly, she wins.  If she guesses incorrectly, she skips her next turn.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Did You Hear? Workshop

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Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Did You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr and Eric Carle is a wonderful book about animals and the sounds that they make.  It’s rhythmic, it has lots of repetition, fun animals to imitate – it’s an all around great story! Check out FindSounds and Sound Bible to hear real sounds that the animal make.

Since this book was all about animals and the sounds they make, we made an kazoo in the shape of an elephant – and you can use it to trumpet like an elephant.  Here’s how to do it:

  • You will need:
  • colored construction paper
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • an old paint brush
  • scissors
  • a tp roll
  • parchment paper or tracing paper
  • the bottom of a can or a lid, slightly larger than the diameter of the tp roll
  • googly eyes

1.  Use the lid to trace a circle on the parchment paper (or tracing paper).  Cut it out, cover one end of the tp roll and glue it on.

2.  Tear up a sheet of construction paper and use the paint brush to glue the paper to the side of the tp roll (paper mache style), making sure to cover the edges of the parchment paper only on the sides and not the part covering the end.

3. Draw 2 ears on construction paper, cut them out and glue them onto the side of the elephant’s head (you may have to fold a small flap in order to get them to stick more easily).

4.  Glue on 2 googly eyes.

5.  Now for the trunk: cut out 2 strips of paper about 1 cm wide, along the length (the long side) of a piece of construction paper.  Place the two ends together so that the strips for an L and place a dot of glue to hold the strips in place. Alternate folding each strip at a 90° angle to the other strip.  When you come to the end of each strip, glue down the ends (cut off any excess paper) and your twos strips of paper should now look like an accordion.  Glue this onto the elephant.  And tah-dah you are finished.

6.  After the elephant dries.  Put the open end of the elephant kazoo to your mouth and make a humming noise (but with your mouth opened).  This should make the paper at the end of the tube vibrate.  Now try and do the same thing making an elephant trumpeting noise.  It’s not easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s lots of fun!

Father’s Day Workshop, A Totally Quiller Keychain

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Father’s Day is the 19th of March in Italy, so the kids made a special present for their dads – a totally killer quilled key chain.

What’s quilling you ask? It’s taking strips of paper and curling them into spirals, you bend those spirals into different shapes and put them together to form an animal, a flower or whatever you want.  Check out Inna’s Creations for some basics on quilling and other great ideas.

Here’s how to quill a fish key chain:


  • colored paper (A4)
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • wooden skewer
  • elmer’s glue
  • Modge Podge or watered down elmer’s glue
  • old paintbrush
  •  needle (a big one)
  • embroidery thread
  • key chain ring

You probably have most of the things in the house, so this is a great impromptu activity – like on a rainy day, when you’re stuck inside and you don’t know what to do!

1. Use your ruler and pencil to measure out 4, 1 cm strips along the length of the paper. Carefully cut them out.

2. Take two strips and glue them together at the ends, so you have one long strip.

3: Fold one strip in half and cut it along the fold.

4.  There should be 4 strips total, 1 long, 1 medium and 2 short.  Take a short strip of paper and twirl it around the skewer and then take it off.  You should have a spiral. Do the same to each of the other strips.

5. Put a dot of glue on the end of each spiral and glue it closed.

6 Now comes the tricky part – you will need to make pinch and bend the pieces to make different shapes which will form the parts of the fish.

7.  Take the large spiral and pinch the ends to form an ‘eye’ shape -this will be used for the fish’s body.

8. Use your index finger and your thumb of your left hand and the index finger of your right hand to squish the two small spirals into triangles. These will be the fins.

9. Use the thumb and index fingers of both hands to squash the last spiral (the medium sized one) into a  crescent moon shape.This will be the tail.

10. Pass the needle with embroidery thread through one side of the eye shaped piece, make a loop and tie a knot.

11. Glue each of the pieces together to form a fish. Let these dry.

12. When you are finished, use the paint brush to pass Modge Podge all over the fish – on the top and the bottom and the sides.  This will make the fish harder.  When it dries, hook the fish onto a key chain ring and you are finished!

When it dries, wrap it up and give it to your dad on Monday.  Make sure you wish your dad a Happy Father’s Day from all of us at ARTiculation360.

Carnival Workshop

It’s Carnevale (also known as carnival or mardi gras)!  Time for chiacchere (a type of pastry eaten in the northern parts of Italy during this period) and confetti fights!  It’s traditional  to make masks for this holiday, but this year we wanted to do something a little bit different. This year the kids made Carnival Poppers.  Once you have finished, you either have someone hold the Popper high above your head and give yourself a confetti shower – or even better… hold it above the head of an unsuspecting and have then him pull the sting and they will get a confetti shower!


  • TP rolls
  • colored construction paper (or some sort of fancy papers)
  • cardboard (like an old cereal box)
  • tissue paper
  • stuff to decorate-pens, glitter, stickers
  • confetti ( you can stretch this activity out by having kids cut up their own confetti)
  • kitchen twine
  • tape
  • glue
  • one bead per popper
  • stick glue (school paste)
  • Elmer’s glue
  • craft needle
  • hole punch
  • things to draw circles: 1) a circle slightly smaller than the opening of the tp tube (we used a milk bottle cap) 2)  a circle for the ‘roof’ of the popper (we used a tin can)

There are many steps to make the Carnival Poppers, so you can print out the instructions: above if you want.  To make the Carnival Poppers, here’s what you do:

Trace a small circle onto cardboard.

  1. Cut out the small circle
  2. Glue the circle to a small square of tissue paper
  3. Thread the needle with a short length of twine (approx 25 cm), tie a BIG knot at one end, poke through the cardboard circle and pull through.  Glue the knot down  (we used tape, but the knot slid out of the hole and the pull mechanism didn’t work).
  4. Glue the tissue paper to the tp roll, with the long end of the string hanging out
  5. Cut out 2 of the same shape (and size) from construction paper.  Write Pull on one piece.  Glue these ‘pull tabs’ onto the end of the twine.Cut a piece of paper large enough to go around the tp roll (approx 10 cm x 6 cm).  Decorate the paper with pens, shapes cut out of paper, glitter.  Cut strips out tissue paper and glue to the paper of your 10 x 16 cm rectangle.
  6. Glue the decorated paper onto the tp roll (streamers stride down).
  7. Now for the roof.  Trace the big circle on construction paper and
  8. Cut out circle.
  9. Decorate the roof.
  10. Cut a slit to the center of the circle.  Bend into a cone shape and glue closed.
  11. Punch 2 holes  on opposite ends of the tp roll.
  12. Fill the roll with confetti.
  13. Thread another piece of twine (approx 40 cm) through the two holes in the tube and then string on the bead (this is to keep the string centered).
  14. Thread the string through center of the roof (you may need to use the scissors to make the hole a bit bigger).
  15. This is the tricky part.  Put a line of glue around the edge of the top of the tp roll.  Slide the roof all the way down the string a lightly press until the roof stick on.
  16. You are finished!

Thanks to AlphaMom for this craft!

Valentine’s Day Workshop

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This was a fun Valentine’s Day craft that worked well for all ages.  We made a Valentine’s Tic Tac Toe game.  To do this you will need only a few simple items:

For the game board:

  • 2 sheets of construction paper of 2 different colors
  • a large dinner plate (to use as guide)
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • stick glue

For the markers:

  • salt dough*
  • 2 colors of tempera paint or food coloring
  • glitter (optional)
  • things with different textures (crocheted doilies, lace or corrugated cardboard, a plastic mesh bag from potatoes)  or , rubber stamps with letters, toothpicks

To make the salt dough*

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (this is optional, it helps to preserve the dough)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Be careful since it’s very hot.  (If you are lazy like me, just dump everything into your stand mixer and use the dough hook :o).  Divide your dough in half and knead in your colors and glitter.  You may need to add a little extra flour if the dough becomes too sticky.

To make the game board:

  1. Use the dinner plate to help you draw a curved line at the top of the paper. Use a ruler to help you draw 2 lines equal distance apart, that will stop about 8 cm from the top.
  2. Now here comes the hard part: lay each the two pieces of construction paper one on top of the other and weave the pieces together. This is a good lesson in patterns – smaller kids may not be able to weave the pieces together by themselves, but they can tell you which color should go next.
  3. Glue all the end pieces down.  Your game board is finished.

To make the markers:

  1. Divide each color of the salt dough into 5 balls (about the size of a very large walnut).  You will have a total of 10 balls. (We used about half a recipe per kid).
  2. Use your hands to shape a ball into a heart shape.  (You could use cookie cutters, but really kids love the opportunity to create and manipulate the dough on their own. Plus kids have so much more satisfaction when they have made the whole project by themselves).  Make sure the the heart fits into the tic tac toe squares.  Do the same for the remaining balls of dough.
  3. Press some of the textured materials and letters into the heart.
  4. We wrote some Valentine’s Day inspired sayings on the board for the to press into their hearts if they wanted to, such as:
  • hugs
  • kisses
  • I love you
  • xoxo
  • be mine

When the markers are dry, you are ready to challenge your friends to a game of Tic Tac Toe!

Thank you to Necco Sweehearts, Activity Village, and Alpha Mom for the inspiration.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Workshop

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We read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  to get the kids familiar with letters in English.  (Instead you get Miss Tracy from Little Story Bug :o)  It’s a fun a rhythmic story all about letters! And then the kids go to decorate the letters of their name.

Here’s what you will need: pipe cleaners, yarn scraps

1. Use the pipe cleaners to shape the letters of your name.  (If you run out of pipe cleaners just take another one and twist the ends together and keep going). This was actually quite a challenge trying to figure out how to keep all the letters joined together, even if the kids wrote their name in cursive.

2. Then take a bit of yarn (we used anywhere from a foot to 2 feet) and start wrapping.  Try and wrap in a way that the end of the piece of yarn you are using and the end of the old piece of yarn get tucked underneath. If you can’t just make sure you tuck the ends under one strand as you finish, so your letter won’t unravel later on.

3. Don’t get bent out of shape if your letters got bent out of shape, just reshape it back into the correct position.  The yarn will help the letters be stiffer and hold their form better.  Now you have your name written in really cool fancy letters!

There weren’t too many steps to make this project, so it sounds like it’s pretty easy, but it’s actually pretty challenging.  It’s not easy to make all the letters of your name join up and then it takes a lot of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills to finish the project.  So good luck and have fun!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is also a song:

Just for fun, here is the hip hop version:

Thanks to Bloesm Kids for the artistic inspriation!