I love Laura Numeroff’s stories, and the kids do too! In her predictable, yet amusing pattern, the characters begin with one activity, which inevitably leads to another, then another, then another, till you’re right back where you started again. Whether it’s the mouse with the cookie, the pig with the pancake, the moose with the muffin, or one of their many friends, kids learn to expect the unexpected!
Though always enjoyable, the characters’ shenanigans aren’t just fun and fanciful. The silly series of events build comprehension skills as well as sequencing and cause and effect concepts. All of these are important skills for a strong early literacy foundation.
If you happen to pick up If You Give a Moose a Muffin, you have several great choices for a follow-up book activity. First off, you can make muffins, of course! Any favorite recipe will do the trick, but this recipe for Buried Treasure Muffins is always a favorite for me. First of all, because it originally comes from the very first cookbook I ever owned, Kid’s Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual (it’s obviously been updated since 1983, though I suppose, so have I), and second because it uses jam as the secret ingredient. That makes for another great tie-in to the book!
Cooking with kids provides an excellent opportunity to incorporate all kinds of learning and developmental objectives. For more on how and why, check out this post from the archives.
Another fun way to incorporate the book into an activity is to create a muffin matching game. It’s really simple, and loads of fun.
First, create your muffin bottoms by cutting trapezoids from colorful construction paper. I gave mine some extra interest by using my scallop scissors on the top. Next, cut a fluffy, rounded muffin top from brown paper. Ta-da! Instant muffins!
Now that you have your muffins cut out, label them for your matching game. The example I show is for matching lowercase letters to uppercase letters because that’s the skill we were focusing on. For more basic skills, you could match uppercase letter to same uppercase letter and emphasize the letter name and shape. For new readers you might work on reading color words by writing the color word on the top of the muffin and then having the kids match to the colored bottom.
You could switch it up and focus on numeracy skills by matching numerals to number of dots, numerals to number words, or even math problems to answers for older kids.
(Just remember to pare down your choices as you present them to the children. If you’re doing an alphabet match, for example, don’t overwhelm your kiddos by throwing out all 52 pieces all at once. Try maybe 3-6 matches in a grouping at a time.)
Chances are, if you’re working on a concept, you can create a muffin matching game to go along with it. Though, playing a muffin matching game may remind you that you’re hungry, so you’ll want to make some muffins. Eating the muffins will make you think about the story where the silly moose came into the kitchen to eat a muffin, so you’ll want to read the story again. Reading the story will remind you of that time……
What’s your favorite Laura Numeroff story?
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