Papa Piccolo {FI♥AR}

". . .one night, Piccolo makes a discovery that threatens his carefree life and his independence and starts him on a new and special kind of adventure."  ~ from the inside cover of Papa Piccolo.

Social Studies: Geography ~ Venice, Italy, Social Studies ~ Italian Language and Culture,  History ~ Marco Polo

Another Trip Around the World ~  FYI, Fascinating Facts, Language Activities (Numbers, Days of the Week, Roman Numerals, Italian Colors, Everyday Expressions).

Color Map of Italy.

The inside covers of Papa Piccolo contains information about Italy and scenes in the book - super helpful.

Topics introduced include:
  • Marco Polo (the kittens in the story are named Marco and Polo
  • Venice
  • Italian words and phrases
  • Canals of Venice
  • Bridges of Venice
  • Cats in Venice
  • Flags of Venice
  • Regattas
  • Gondolas and gondoliers
  • Italian leather goods
Language Arts: Vocabulary, Descriptive Lullaby, Drama, Fable of the Fox and the Grapes

I read the vocabulary words from the manual out of the story and had Mali and Elli guess what they meant. (The manual makes this easy by providing the page numbers.) When I came to skiff, scow, barge and gondola, I told Malachi (who has a wonderful imagination) that he could use these new words in his story-lines during play.


I printed Malachi's narration on his flag of Italy.

I was never able to get a narration out of Elli, but here is a cute video of her giggles while we tried. :) 

Descriptive Lullaby
"And then Piccolo sang a little song he remembered from long ago-- about stardust and moon beams and goldfish."
We had fun thinking of some phrases that would put a mouse to sleep. . . "I'll sing a song about swiss cheese and cozy mouse holes. . ." is one that we made up. We also made up lullabies for Elli (dollies and butterflies and Hello Kitties) and Mali (army guys and G.I. Joes and Playmobil Knights) and a few other animals.


We acted out words much like we did with Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. We strutted, curled up, gasped and groaned and acted out other vocabulary found in the story.

Then we read the fable The Fox and The Grapes from The Aesop for Children and related it to the story.

Science: Cats

Zoology 3: Lesson 4 ~ Feliform Carnivores (just p. 51)

We learned that cats are from the family Felidae which is from the Latin word "felix" which means "happy." Cats are indeed happy and playful creatures.

We visited to the Dog and Cat Shelter and tried to find a spotted and a striped kitten. They did not have any kittens yet, but this calico cat reminded me of Polo.

She was my favorite. 

I've never adopted a cat, but like in the story, we've had cats adopt us! 

Art: Colors and Matching, Complimentary Colors, Light 

We made a color wheel using fruit, vegetable and flower cut outs from a seed catalog. 

We learned that complimentary colors are colors opposite each other on the color wheel and used the color wheel to find complimentary colors in the story - 

(The red flower and green plant).

I asked Mali and Elli if they could find some examples around our house and they could not. . . until I reminded them that our house is {brick} red with green trim. 

Then we went on a color hunt to find red-oranges, blue-greens, and more for this fun Color Wheel Bouquet art lesson.

(Elli picked from several colors that I had precut and then I helped her glue them.)

Then we did a watercolor lesson on the use of color for light. Mali and Elli created the effect of light coming from the windows in the night scene they painted.  

I love how their watercolors came out. In fact, I'm pleased with how much art we have accomplished with Five in a Row.

Dylan also did the art lesson with us.

Math: ?

Eliana did the math printables from the Cats Preschool Pack (along with most of the pack). Malachi does not need the math counting practice that FIAR suggests. He worked in his Singapore Math 1B workbook instead.

(I printed the preschool pack 2 to a page to make them this small). 

I'm still working on fitting everything in. . . 

FI♥AR Recipe: Papa Pia's Italian Dinner 

We usually have a "Mama Mia Monday" Italian dinner, but we had a Papa Pia Tuesday Italian dinner instead.

We had a regular spaghetti dinner with a salad, Italian bread, and bread sticks for the salad. And I played the Italian song, "That's Amore," during dinner.

I picked these garlic breadsticks up to go with our dinner salad. . . I pointed out to Malachi that they are a product of Italy by first asking him why he thought I bought those to go with our Papa Piccolo dinner.   . . and he recognized the Italian flag.

We had fresh fruit for desert as Italians commonly do . . .

The sauce, the fresh grated parmesan cheese, the crusty loaves of bread, and the salad were all so simple, but so good.

I really wanted to make Tiramisu, but I could not find lady fingers or marscapone cheese. So, we had Italian Biscotti with a cup of {decaf} coffee {with a generous splash of half and half} for a treat.

Papa Piccolo is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 1. 

Project Life details: 

I'm using:

We rowed this during Week 10 of our life in 2012. We also did Sonlight P4/5 Weeks 6, 7, and 8.