6 Mo Willems Activities That Inspire Creativity
Creativity is an essential part of young children’s intellectual and emotional development, and no one inspires young learners better than Mo Willems. His simple, loveable characters motivate young readers to try their own hand at drawing and creating, while the silly, giggle-inducing antics of characters like The Pigeon have kids begging to read the stories again and again. This enthusiasm is the perfect stepping stone for getting kids’ creative juices flowing.
So what better way to encourage kids to express their artistic sides than with the help of The Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, and Knuffle Bunny? Read on for activities that will not only have kids falling even more in love with their favorite characters, but will also send their imaginations into high gear!
1. What Does The Pigeon Want?
The Pigeon isn’t shy about asking for what he wants. From Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! to The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!, The Pigeon tries every trick in the book to get his desires fulfilled — and throws epic tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants.
After reading a couple of antic-filled stories, ask kids: what do you think The Pigeon will want next and why? Tell them it can be anything, big or small. Is it a giant pizza? A chance to walk on the moon? Or is it something as simple as a red hat?
Give kids supplies to draw a picture of The Pigeon with his “want.” Have kids dictate or write a page or two on why they think The Pigeon wants this particular thing. Have them share their illustrations and ideas with the rest of the class.
2. Poor Knuffle Bunny!
Trixie takes Knuffle Bunny with her wherever she goes. But, unfortunately, her beloved stuffed animal doesn’t always make it back home with her. In Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, poor Knuffle Bunny gets mixed up with the laundry at a laundromat. Later, in Knuffle Bunny Free, the stuffed bunny is accidentally left behind on an airplane.
Ask kids to imagine what adventures they think Knuffle Bunny has gone on after being left behind somewhere else. (It doesn’t have to be related to the books — encourage kids to come with totally new ideas!) Have them draw pictures of Knuffle Bunny having fun in different places. Have kids write photo captions and put all of the pictures together for a Knuffle Bunny photo album.
3. A New Friend for Elephant & Piggie
Gerald and Piggie are opposites, but they are still the best of friends. In Can I Play Too?, the pair meet a new friend who happens to be a snake. Gerald and Piggie are more than happy to include their new friend in their game of catch, but there’s one problem — snakes don’t have arms! What to do?
If Mo Willems were to create a brand-new character who would be friends with Elephant and Piggie, who would it be? What could they learn from their new friend (and vice versa)?
Provide kids with paper plates, crayons, markers, construction paper and craft materials, and tell them to use the materials to create their character. They might create the character’s face on the paper plate, or draw their character.
Ask kids, “What adventures do you think the three friends would go on together? What kinds of trouble might they get into?” Then, have kids either write short stories or tell each other their ideas.
4. Piggie’s New Toy
What is Piggie’s amazing new toy? She doesn’t know, but that doesn’t matter — she loves it! After reading I Love My New Toy, provide kids with a variety of materials, such as straws, cardboard, duct tape, pipe cleaners, etc., and challenge kids to make their own toys. Then, have kids pair up and guess what each other’s toys do. After each partner has guessed, have kids explain why they created their toys.
5. Fairy Tale Fun
In Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, Mo Willems adds his own humorous touch to a classic fairy tale. Read a classic version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, then read Willems’ imaginative take on it. Then, ask kids, “If you wrote your own Goldilocks story, who would the characters be? What would happen?” Have kids write or draw pictures of their ideas. You might also have kids use their imaginations to think of a new version of a different classic story. As an extension, act out one of the new stories as a class!
6. Baking with Edwina
In Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct, Edwina bakes chocolate chip cookies for everyone she knows. If you have access to a kitchen, try your hand at baking Edwina’s Simply Wonderful Chocolate-Chip Cookies. Then, encourage kids to create their own cookie recipes!
What kinds of goodies would they include in their cookies? Have them write down their recipes or dictate them to you. Then, provide construction paper and craft supplies for kids to “bake” their cookies!