Monday, June 27, 2011

A Dance Activity Bubbling Over With Pastabilities

I love creating dance lessons that are fun, silly and connect to activities my students do at home. I also love to connect dance to literature. When I can connect the two - it is quite delicious!

This lesson was inspired by the book Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. In the book, Strega Nona (grandma witch) boils pasta with just a few simple magic words. But when her handyman overhears these enchanting words he tries his hand at using the magic pot. But unfortunately he doesn't know how to make it stop!

Children love to eat spaghetti. And they love stories. Even better, they love stories about noodles taking over a tiny village in Italy.

The Magic Pasta Pot Activity
Read the children the story. (If you can not find the story you can still do the activity but if you can get the story it is a keeper!)

A quick summary of the important details of the story:

The magic words to make the pot boil with pasta:

"Boil, boil pasta pot,
make me pasta nice and hot,
I'm hungry and it's time to sup,
boil enough pasta to fill me up."

The magic words and gesture to make the pot stop:

"Enough, enough, pasta pot,
I have my pasta nice and hot
So simmer down my pot of clay
Until I'm hungry another day"

And blow three kisses to the magic pasta pot!

Now let the fun begin!

The poor handyman peaked in through the window and saw Strega Nona say the magic words to cook her dinner. He even saw her say the magic words when she wanted the pot to simmer down. But he did not see her blow three kisses into the pot! Recreate this part of the story.
  1. Make a big circle on the floor ( I like to use painter's tape. Easy to tape down and even easier to pull up!)
  2. Have all the children stand in the center of the circle.
  3. Say the magic words with the children.
  4. Have the children slowly bubble out of the pot. (You might want to ask them before the activity starts to list some action words that describes how spaghetti moves or how they eat spaghetti. Examples might include: wiggle, squirm, slurp, twirl, flop, etc.)
  5. Say the magic words but do not blow the three kisses.  (Make sure they know if you do not blow the kisses they should not stop dancing!) 
  6. Encourage them to "take over" the space. The spaghetti will not stop.
  7. Finally say the magic words again and blow three kisses!  When the children see the kisses they should run back into the "pot."
To add an extra fun element to the activity give each student a box of spaghetti to take home with them so they can have pasta for supper!!

Have fun cooking up this yummy activity with the children in your life!




  1. Great Idea Stacey! Sometimes I do a spaghetti dance, boil the water- noodles are straight and stiff right out of the box and then they get wiggly and fall to the bottom of the pot. Eventually we add sauce and cheese. It's a lot of fun but I think I like this better with the magic words, and of course the book! Thanks so much for the idea! I'm going to share it now. I just shared your DA post too! xo

  2. Thanks! I learned about the book when my daughter was in preschool. She loved it and she loved to say the magic words to make the pot boil. She even did it when I cooked pasta! A lot of times I see what she enjoys and I file it away to use at a later date.