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measurement in motion

Piggy’s Birthday Present uses the timeless activity of dot-to-dot as a format for children to answer mathematics and language arts questions at their skill level. With each click of a correct answer, a portion of a picture is drawn right before their eyes. Once the entire picture is completed, students have the opportunity to color in the picture and place it back on the mural wall.

Piggy’s Birthday Present is engaging—not just because the high quality graphics draw students into a magical world...and not just because they become instant artists. Piggy’s Birthday Present is challenging—not just because there are over 50 math and language arts activities...and not just because there are so many treasures to find. Piggy’s Birthday Present is successful because its engaging dot-to-dot format, whimsical environment, and teacher-created activities make building number and language skills fun!

Sequenced progression of difficulty

Math and language arts materials are presented in a sequenced progression of questions that begins with the simplest of concepts, appropriate for kindergarten children, and gradually becomes more difficult, ending with questions appropriate for second grade.

Dot-to-dot and mural

Students first complete the dot to dot, then they get to paint in the picture. When it’s finished, the painting becomes part of a larger mural.

Piggy’s Birthday Present keeps students engaged by taking advantage of one of the most important principles in educational psychology—the principle of distributed practice. This learning principle is harnessed systematically in the dot-to-dot activity: children first connect 10 to 20 dots within a picture by answering simple content questions, and then they are given a self regulated break while coloring in a picture. This systematic alternating between content work and art work provides a learn and play, learn and play rhythm that facilitates learning.

The best part about Piggy’s Birthday Present is that students set their own pace. If students are experiencing success, they can go straight through all of the exercises and skip the coloring. Or, if studnets need a little more time, they can pause to color in the pictures or even do the same dot-to-dot over again. The opportunity for students to set their own pace increases learning potential.

Piggy’s Birthday Present is divided into two realms—one focuses on numbers and number sense, and the other on letters and sounds of the English language. Once children enter the upstairs playroom, they can go down the 1,2,3 slide to play in the math section, or down the A,B,C slide to play in the language arts section.

language arts or mathematics?

In the upstairs bedroom, student choose between the A,B,C slide, or the 1,2,3 slide.

Language arts

If children go down the ABC slide, they will find the ABC dot-to-dots. These are language arts activities presented in a series of five large murals, each containing 5-10 dot-to-dot pictures. Within each dot-to-dot picture, children connect dots in response to questions that test their language arts skills over a broad range of concepts including letter recognition and alphabetic sequence. Students then progress through concepts such as letter/sound association, beginning and ending sounds, sight recognition of simple words, spelling, abbreviations, and contractions. Click here to view a chart showing the cognitive framework of language arts skills.


If children go down the 123 slide, they will find the 123 dot-to-dots. These are set up he same as the ABC side, just using different murals and math content. Math concepts include numeral recognition, number sequence, comparisons of numbers, simple addition, subtraction, and finding the missing addend. Click here to view a chart showing the cognitive framework of mathematical skills. In addition, the numbers in the math dot-to-dot can be heard in several languages — Spanish, French, Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Japanese, and Indonesian!

The barn

The first time students slide down the 123 slide they will see this mural. Piggy takes a trip to a farm and meets many new friends: a frog, a cow, a duck, a horse, and even another pig. The easy level teaches students number recognition from 1-10. The medium and hard levels teach students number sequence, 10-20 and 60-100, respectively. Click here to see a skills matrix for the Math Farm Mural.

In all, there are more than 2,000 questions dealing with math and language arts that were taken from lesson plans of experienced teachers. When children play with Piggy’s Birthday Present, you can be sure they are practicing skills and concepts that complement your curriculum.

Skills summary

The Skills Summary feature gives teachers the content description for each mural at the easy, medium, or hard level. Students can work individually or in groups, and student work is always saved and recorded in the Skills Summary after every session.

The creators of Piggy’s Birthday Present

Piggy’s Birthday Present was developed by ThoughtMakers, a core team of cognitive psychologists, software engineers, graphic artists, and musicians. The program was produced, tested, and modified as part of a research and development effort headed by Dr. J. Arthur Woodward and Ms. Jill Gilkerson, Department of Psychology, UCLA.