Engaging young children by using a follow-up activity when reading

  • 15 March 2018
  • Jerri Pirc


Welcome to my first blog. Through blogging, I hope to share more about the characters in the books and introduce activities that correspond to help engage young readers. I also aim to provide you with ideas on how to improve pre-literacy skills in young children. In addition, I want to share some of my favourite children's books.

Over the past year I have read my book, Kate and Caboodle, to hundreds of children from preschool level to primary level. I am privileged to learn something each and every time I spend time with a child or group of children.

So today I choose to share a really delightful, albeit messy activity, that is a fun follow-up to Kate and Caboodle.  If you have already read the first book, you will know that Kate and her family of animals are moving. The animals are taking bits of their gear or caboodle. Pig has selected a container labelled "mudbath'' as her "paboodle".  This part of the story lends itself to a very obvious and tactile hands-on activity. Yes, I'm talking about a mud bath! 

 Materials needed:

  • 1 copied page of a playful looking pig for each child. Google image is a great source. (Or if you prefer, a blank paper and materials for the children to draw their own pig without a model.)
  • Dried recycled coffee grounds (oh, the sacrifices I go to for the children!). Approximately a teaspoon or two per child.
  • A can of shaving foam (the least expensive works just as well as the expensive brand  for this task.)

Piggie Mud Bath Instructions:

  • Give the children their own piece of blank paper or copied pig.
  • Tell them you are going to put two things on their paper and that they will need to wait until they have both before they start. (Yeah....this will not be possible for some, but encourage anyway)
  • Show the container of coffee grounds and ask the children to guess what's inside.
  • Offer a chance for the children to smell the contents.
  • Spoon a bit on each paper.
  • Show the shaving cream and again ask who can identify the item; be sure to point out the words on the can to highlight the printed word.
  • Squirt a bit on the pig and prepare for squeals (sorry,I couldn't resist) and giggles.


  • Messy hands
  • Happy faces
  • And a pretty good imitation of a muddy piggie


  • Not all kids like getting messy. Let them finish in their own time frame.
  • Have clean up materials at the ready.
  • Some kids will love it and ask for more ingredients and more pigs so plan your materials accordingly.
  • When finished, shake off excess from paper and let dry.

Suggested adaptations:

  • Larger paper and small groups negotiate who will "bathe" which part of the pig
  • Pairs work together each using only one hand

Be sure to check out the video section of my web page to watch preschoolers creating a  piggie mud bath! Hope you enjoyed this blog. See ya again soon.


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  • Barbara Markee
  • 27 Mar 2018
  • 10:52 am

Fun activities for children. A wonderfully written blog. 😊

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