Wednesday, August 10, 2016

25 Ways to Play with The Pea Patch Jig

The Pea Patch Jig by Thacher Hurd was one of my favorite books in childhood, and I have loved sharing it with Little Miss Muffet. The book includes three linked stories about a baby mouse, whose mischievous behavior almost spoils her family's Midsummer Party, until it unexpectedly saves the day at the last minute. Here are 25 activities to do with your kids to delve deeper into the story and its themes.

  1. Listen to the song. The Pea Patch Jig is the name of a folk song. On the final page of the book, along with the music to play the tune, the author recommends listening to the version by Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Dave Holland. Hear it on YouTube
  2. Make up some dance moves. Encourage your kids to come up with their own version of the pea patch jig to match the music.
  3. Make a salad. Farmer Clem nearly chops up Baby Mouse when she hides in a head of lettuce that he picks for his salad. Include lettuce and some other veggie favorites in your own salad. 
  4. Explore peas in a sensory bin. Fill a tub with peas and provide your child with cups and spoons to scoop and pour them. For added fun, hide letters or toys and have your child hunt for them. For inspiration, check out these posts from and Gift of Curiosity.
  5. Make a pea shooter. Your (older) kids can pretend to save the day just like Baby Mouse with a simple pea shooter of their own! Instructions are available from Acorn Pies and Le Maison de LouLou
  6. Plan a midsummer party. Invite some friends over to join you for late afternoon celebration of summer. Be sure to serve fresh veggies and consider reading the book aloud to your guests.
  7. Cook and serve a dish made with peas. Kid-friendly recipes can be found on the Food Network's website.
  8. Make vegetable costumes. Baby Mouse and her family dress up as vegetables and dance at their Midsummer Party. Make your own costumes using patterns like the ones from Want to keep it simple? Try these fruit and vegetable masks from
  9. Plant your own vegetable garden. If you're like me and can't garden outdoors due to lack of space, try a container garden. 
  10. Make garden markers. If you already have a garden, or have a close friend or relative who has one, make some garden markers to clearly label what has been planted. I especially like these painted stones from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons.
  11. Learn the names and uses for gardening tools. Whether you have a garden or not, you can still teach your child all about the tools gardeners use. This garden clip art set from is a great teaching tool. 
  12. Try some new vegetables. Each time we go to our local market for produce, we try to expose Little Miss Muffet to some new vegetables. If your kids are adventurous eaters, consider bringing home something new and different to taste.
  13. Visit a farmer’s market. If you're not sure where to find one locally, fear not! There's an app for that, as well as a national directory of farmer's markets.
  14. Compare Baby Mouse to Peter Rabbit. Both characters make mischief in gardens that do not belong to them. Compare and contrast these two stories to find out how else their main characters might be the same or different. 
  15. Read Keith Baker’s peas books. Keep the pea theme going by enjoying some of these wonderful books by Keith Baker: LMNO Peas, 1-2-3 Peas, Little Green Peas.  
  16. Play fruit and vegetable bingo. Print out these cards from Mama's Learning Corner and play a game of bingo.  
  17. Play fruit and vegetable I Spy. The Pleasantest Thing has a perfect printable to print out for this game.
  18. Make a farmer’s hat. Use these templates from First Palette to construct a paper hat, so you can pretend to be Farmer Clem. 
  19. Take a moonlit walk. Experience the atmosphere of the Midsummer Party by taking a walk outside under a full moon. 
  20. Retell the story. Use clip art to make cards or flannel board pieces of a baby mouse and some vegetables, and use them to retell the story or write a new one of your own. has a mouse that would work well, as well as a set of vegetables.
  21. Do a pea-themed fingerplay. Five Fat Peas is a fun rhyme for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  22. Sing Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow. The lyrics and tune can both be found here, as well as on Raffi's Baby Beluga album.
  23. Sing I Want to be a Farmer. This catchy folk song performed by Pete Seeger is fun to sing while acting out what a farmer might do. 
  24. Act out the African Planting Chant. This full-body action rhyme has a fun rhythm and a focus on planting seeds.
  25. Find out about foxes. Use a library book, database, or education video to learn more about the habits of foxes. 
For more ways to play with favorite children's books, check out my posts about Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Whistle for Willie 
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