Resources for
Parents and

Once Upon a Reader celebrates Minnesota’s rich cultural heritage by engaging young children with books and music by Minnesota authors, artists, and musicians at Minnesota libraries. As children connect around one book together — talking about it, singing songs about it, and more — they build important early literacy skills that help get them ready for school success.

Below, parents and caregivers will find free downloadable activities, songs and rhymes to share, and more. All are designed to pair with this year’s Once Upon a Reader selection, Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, and to encourage families to continue the statewide celebration of the book at home.

When reading Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure with your child, have fun! The more you engage your child in the telling of the story, the more valuable the experience will be for both of you (this is true of all books). Pick a page and count the pigs on it together in the language you use at home. Ask your child what the first pig is feeling, and how she can tell from the illustrations. Ask your child what she thinks will happen next. Use the book and the activities below as jumping-off points for great conversations.

Free Downloadable Activities

These free activities will get you and your child thinking, drawing, moving, singing, reading, and learning together.

Match and Talk

Match and Talk: How Do Animals Really Get Clean?

Most animals don’t take baths in bathtubs. How do they keep themselves clean? Guess and learn with this matching activity.

Sing and Rhyme

Sing and Rhyme

Listen online or download action rhymes and Tom Lieberman’s original music (available in February) to sing, chant, and act out together.

Bubbly Bubbly Bubble Bath

Download Rhyme

Five Little Pigs Rolled in the Mud

Download Rhyme

Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean

Download Rhyme

Ten Little Bubbles

Download Rhyme

We’re Marching in the Tub

Download Rhyme

Ten Pigs Official Music

Download Rhyme

Read and Rate

Read and Rate

Take a library trip together and check out some of the books recommended on this sheet, great choices inspired by Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure.

Letter Sounds and Rhyming Words

Letter Sounds and Rhyming Words

With a focus on letter sounds and rhyming words, this activity will help your child get ready to read and sound out words on her own. This activity requires scissors (child-safe ones if your child will be doing the cutting).

Creative Drawing

Creative Drawing: It’s Piggy Time!

Print the coloring page and ask your child to draw a new pig that wants to join in the bath. Afterwards, say “Tell me about your drawing.”

Play, Make, and Do: More Activities

Sing in the tub, make and play with a do-it-yourself bath toy, and explore more ideas for talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing together.




As you read these facts, talk about them together. Do any surprise you?  Some facts are followed by ideas for keeping the conversation going.

  • Pigs are very smart. Not only are they more intelligent than dogs, they’re about as intelligent as 3-yr-old humans!
  • Pigs love to snuggle together and sleep nose-to-nose. (Would you like to sleep nose-to-nose with someone? Why or why not?)
  • Pigs wallow in mud to cool off, not because they love to get messy. Our bodies cool down when we sweat, but pigs can’t sweat. (Tell me about the last time you got really messy. What were you doing?)
  • Pig squeals can be LOUD (up to 150 decibels), significantly louder than the noise from a motorcycle (100 decibels). (What’s the loudest noise you’ve ever heard? What did it sound like?)
  • A group of pigs is called a “drift” or a “drove” of pigs. (Do you know what a group of dogs is called? [a pack]. How about a group of cows? [a herd] A group of ants? [a colony]. What would be a silly name for a group of [your child’s favorite toy: dolls, trucks, etc.—if your child could name the group]?)
  • Pigs can play joystick-controlled video games, a discovery made by Penn State University professor Stanley Curtis.



Relating events in sequence helps your child build “narrative awareness”—a sense of how stories work—that comes in handy when it’s time to learn to read. Ask your child to tell you how bathtime goes in your home, from start to finish. If she begins, “I get in the tub,” joke “Without any water in it?” or “With your clothes still on?” to encourage her to go back a step further.



Singing breaks up the sounds in words. This helps children hear that words are made up of parts, an important part of getting ready to sound out words while learning to read them. Rhymes count, too! The first words we learn while reading are often rhymes — if we can read hat, for example, and know our letter sounds, we can easily read cat, sat, bat, mat, and more.



Singing is not only great for getting ready to read, it’s great for transitioning between routine parts of your child’s day. Is it bathtime? Sing a “bathtime” song that tells your child it’s time and motivates her to get going. Try the below, to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”:

Now it’s time to take a bath, take a bath, take a bath
Now it’s time to take a bath,
let’s get ready.
(Try more verses: “Now it’s time to brush our teeth…now it’s time to go to bed.”)

Or this, to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”:

It’s time to take a bath! It’s time to take a bath!
Heigh-ho the derry-o,
It’s time to take a bath!

More songs for tub time:

“Tops and Bottoms: Handwashing Song”

(To sing in the tub or when washing hands any time. Tune: “Are You Sleeping, Brother John?”/”Frere Jacques”)

Tops and bottoms
Tops and bottoms,
in between
in between,
rub them all together
rub them all together,
squeaky clean
squeaky clean.

Ten Little Piggies in the Tub

(Wiggle your child’s toes/”piggies” one by one during the counting verses. Tune: “Ten Little Bubbles”)

One little, two little, three little piggies
four little, five little, six little piggies
seven little, eight little, nine little piggies,
ten little piggies in the tub.
Take some soap and scrub those piggies
Take some soap and scrub those piggies
Take some soap and scrub those piggies,
scrub those piggies in the tub.
One little, two little, three little piggies
four little, five little, six little piggies
seven little, eight little, nine little piggies,
ten little piggies nice and clean!



In Ten Little Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, we count to ten and back down again. Have fun chanting some of these classic counting rhymes together.

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
(Continue counting down until there are no monkeys left)

Five little monkeys sitting in a tree
teasing Mr. Crocodile, “You can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, quiet as can be and…SNAP!
(Continue counting down until there are no monkeys left)

There were ten in the bed
and the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
(continue counting down to last verse)
There was one in the bed
and the little one said,
“I’ve got the whole bed to myself! Good Night!”



Reading to children is the number one thing you can do to help prepare them to learn to read. Try the below to build early literacy skills like vocabulary and awareness of how stories work.



Just as children encounter a wider variety of words in stories than they usually do in everyday conversation, they encounter an even wider variety of words in nonfiction (true fact) books than they do in stories. The more words children know, the better they will be able to recognize those words when they encounter them in books as they become new readers. When you read nonfiction together, don’t feel like you need to read every word on the page. Picking out a few words to emphasize while talking together about the pictures is also beneficial. Try these nonfiction titles, selected to pair well with Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure, or ask a librarian or teacher for help finding good nonfiction books about the subjects (dinosaurs? animals? trucks? etc.) your child is most interested in now.

Time for a Bath by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby
Pigs on the Family Farm by Chana Stiefel



At the library, ask your librarian for help finding two different versions of the classic story of “The Three Little Pigs.” Read both books together, one on one day, one on the next day. Ask and talk with your child about the ways they are different — the illustrations, the stories themselves (some retellings end the story differently from others), etc. — and how they are the same. Which did the two of you like better? Why?



“Writing” includes scribbling, drawing, and even picking up small objects like cereal pieces—an activity that prepares children to write by building up the finger muscles they will use to hold a pencil or type on a keyboard.



Writing with a finger is great for children who can’t yet grasp a crayon, and lots of fun even for those who can. Spread a layer of shaving cream on a baking sheet, and let your child draw shapes, squiggles, and letters in the cream. Unscented shaving cream also makes good finger paint in the tub.



As a colorful alternative to shaving cream, try this simple bathtub finger paint recipe. It’s safe for children to use on themselves, on the tiles around your tub, and on the tub itself.

Mix 1/3 cup mild dish detergent with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until well-blended. Stir in a bit of food coloring, and you’re ready to paint.



When they play, children aren’t just having fun: they’re developing their imaginations, solving problems, and mastering other new skills.



Try making and playing with these simple, inexpensive DIY bath toys together.

  • Punch holes in the bottom of a plastic water or pop bottle. Use it as is, or let your child have fun decorating it. When your child is in the bathtub, pour water into the bottle to “make it rain.” Try singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” while playing with the toy.
  • Fill an ice cube tray ¾ of the way with water, then let your child squeeze a few drops of food coloring into each spot. Freeze, then drop the cubes into the tub during bathtime. Say, “I wonder if the ice will sink or float? I wonder if it will melt in the warm bathwater? What do you think?”
  • Inexpensive sheets of craft foam stick to the sides of the tub and to tile walls when wet. Draw and cut shapes or things from the foam together, then let your child moisten and stick them to the wall while bathing.



10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…BLAST-OFF! Count backwards from ten together like astronauts getting ready for take-off. Stand facing each other, bending your knees lower and lower as the numbers get lower, then jumping up on “BLAST-OFF!” If your child is small enough, you might instead hold your child while counting down, then lift her above your head for “BLAST-OFF!” If your child enjoys this, try doing it again in different voices: “robot voice, “opera voice,” or any voice your child chooses.