Two Little Amigos

Waddle Giggle Gargle

by Pamela Allen

This week we are exploring the classic Pamela Allen picture book, “Waddle, Giggle, Gargle”, using our picture book play jar. (Which is a free download, by the way). A story about a magpie,  protecting her nest, who swoops a family trying to get past. They work together to find a solution to protect themselves.

1. Discussion

This was actually the last stick I pulled out of our jar. But it makes more sense to do  it first. This book has a lot of connections to my 2 yr olds life right now. We live in Australia where it is Spring. And that means swooping season! The Magpies aggressively protect their babies by swooping people who pass by. We have a nearby resident magpie and see the poor postman getting swooped all spring long.

We talked about why magpies swoop (to tell people to stay away from their babies), and how we can stay safe (avoid them, take umbrella, wear helmet etc…not even kidding, if you’re not from Australia, you just don’t understand…).

2. Build

Two Little Amigos

Ok, ok so this is a little far-fetched, but I’ve always wanted to try a sticky tape tree on the fence, and this seemed like a good enough connection ;).

First I stuck tape to the fence so it was sticky side out. Then we talked about what colours we could see in trees and where on the tree we saw those colours (brown on trunk, green in leaves etc). My 2 yr old then collected leaves and stuck them on the tape to form a tree made of leaves.

3. Art (topic)

Two Little Amigos

I actually pulled this stick out twice, and rather than putting it back and choosing another, I went with it.

Can never have too many art activities in this house!

The first art activity inspired by the book was a collaged magpie. I drew an outline of a Magpie and my little amigo scrunched crepe paper and glued it onto the bird. He loved the scrunching part a little too much 🙂 .

4. Art (topic)

two little amigos

Later in the week, I drew a street like in the story onto white paper using a white crayon. Then, after re-reading the book, I told my little amigo that there was a secret picture and he had to paint to show it.

I used liquid watercolours and as he painted, it resisted the wax crayon, revealing a street scene.

Note: He was very heavy handed with the watercolours!

5. Act Out (Small World)

two little amigos

Small worlds do not have to be elaborate or highly detailed. This one is so simple and makes acting out the story more meaningful for little ones than a simple oral retell.

The people and blocks are from a train set we already own. The tree is made from a toilet roll, paper and I drew the bird on. The road is painted onto cardboard as a playscape.

6. Science Understanding – Bird Life Cycle

two little amigos

I’m glad there was an obvious science connection with this picture book, because often their isn’t.

Although, they are not magpies, we pulled down our bird decorations which sit high up on our bookshelf (not normally played with). We made the connection between the nest in the book, the babies at the end, how they grow (like his baby brother is growing up), and then they grow into big mummy and daddy birds.

A tricky concept for some, but at this age, its all about exposure to concepts and terminology, not mastering the understanding.

Have you ever been swooped by magpies (or any bird protecting its nest)?

Have you used your picture book play jar yet? Let me know!

In the meantime,

Stay Joyful,


Book Details:

Allen, P (1996), Waddle Giggle Gargle, Penguin Books, China.

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