Laura Numeroff has a good thing going. And it keeps going, around and around as her circular stories charm children every time. As part of her series that began with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Numeroff explores the cause and effect cycle from the obvious to the outlandish as a pancake leads to syrup, then eventually tap shoes and even a tree houses! All coming full circle as the pig is led to ask for another pancake!
As you read this book with children, pause before some of the pig’s requests to see if the children can anticipate what will come next. After reading, you might even pose some hypothetical questions, like, “What if you gave the pig a blanket? What might she ask for next?” Remember that there isn’t a right answer. You might think the logical request would be a pillow, but a child may connect the blanket with something entirely different. Just as a pancake eventually leads to a tree house, your children will have reasons for their connections, so let them explain! This kind of discussion reinforces the concept of cause and effect, while also allowing for creative thinking.
After reading and discussing, try syrup painting for an extension activity! In small containers (the plastic baby food containers from Gerber are perfect) pour a bit of corn syrup, and then color it with watercolor powder or food coloring. Stir with a toothpick until the color is smooth. This shiny colored syrup takes on a jewel-like quality and is so enticing! Have your piggie painters use eye-droppers to move the syrup paint from the containers to their papers (which you could cut in the shape of pancakes if you wish). The syrup is more viscous than regular paint and goes on much differently. Some children may experiment with the way the syrup makes strings of shiny balls of color. Others may mix the colors together and spread the syrup so that it’s more flat. Let them experiment as you talk with them about the properties of the paint, what it reminds them of, and what they are trying to do with it.
Depending on how thick the syrup is on the finished product, the papers will need to dry flat for a day or two before hanging to dry, or gently being transferred home. The children love to see how shiny and feel how smooth these pictures are once they’ve dried!
This activity not only extends a literacy experience to a creative experience, but also expands vocabulary and sensory skills as you talk about the characteristics of the paint. Using the droppers requires the use of fine motor skills and introduces the use of a scientific tool. Bet you didn’t think you’d get all that with your pancake!
thank you for sharing this idea. i would have never thought of using corn syrup for painting. i will be adding this project to my letter p folder. thanks again.