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The Little Red Hen Crafts and
Lesson Plan Printable Activities for
Preschool and Kindergarten

Themes

Instructions and Suggestions

Materials

Alphabet > Letter H > H is for Hen

Animals >
links to animals in the story
depending on the version chosen

Books > Folk tales | Fairy Tales | Online stories > The Little Red Hen

Community Helpers > Baker | Farmer

Crafts
Several printable Crafts for the story

Farm Animals Coloring Pages >  For felt board characters and | or puppets

Nutrition > Grains food group Recipes



Background:
The Little Red Hen is an English folktale that has been passed on from storyteller to storyteller for many generations before it was written down.  
A writer and expert on English folklore by the name of Joseph Jacobs is believed to have been the first to write and publish the story in the late nineteenth century.  Many other writers and artists have recorded various versions of the story.

In all versions, the little red hen is a hard working character.  Most of the versions have a lazy cat, but depending on the storyteller or writer the other characters may be a mouse, a dog, a goose, a duck, a cow or a horse.  Sometimes these characters are dozing off, sleeping or just playing.  Sometimes the hen bakes bread,  or a cake, and yes in one version the hen bakes a pizza!  The animals don't want to help and the hen does not share what she has baked, well, with one exception.  The hen does share the pizza in a contemporary version you may want to explore.

Preparation for activities:
Secure a book and/or video from the library that best meets the needs of the children's age and tastes.  A book with rich illustrations is highly recommended for this activity, followed by the use of flannel board characters and other support materials.  Below are a number of book suggestions with age guidelines.

Review and prepare all materials:  printable crafts, coloring pages and other online resources to select those that match the characters in the book selected.  Review all other craft materials needed.   You may want to include a cooking/baking activity, sampling different types of bread or other baked goods for a snack or a visit to a local bakery.  

Here are some book suggestions: all of these should be available at your local library or school library.

The Little Red Hen
by Byron Barton, 1993 -This version is ideal for toddlers & preschool level.  It is a favorite of young children and emergent readers

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone, 1985, ages 4-8, but this can also be enjoyed by children 3+.  Available in video  format (length: eight minutes) by Weston Woods/Scholastic, the video is an exact representation of the book - these videos are usually available at the local library.

The Little Red Hen: (Makes Pizza) by Philemon Sturges -  Ages 4-8 (younger readers may enjoy it as well) This time Little Red Hen shares with her lazy neighbors, after which they help with the dishes and instead of baking bread or cake, it is pizza!  Hurrah!  A fun and great lesson in sharing.

The Little Red Hen (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Lucinda McQueen - Ages 4-8 Another wonderful choice, very colorful and not easily forgotten.

This is a short list and there are many other wonderful versions to choose from at your local library.  You may consider presenting more than just one version.

Activity > Online Story time > Two versions 

Version 1:  The Little Red Hen
at Starfall
Here is a beautifully illustrated version online.  In this version the Little Red Hen's friends are all birds:  a duck, a goose and a turkey.  The Little Red Hen bakes muffins instead of bread.  This is an opportunity to focus on the theme of birds, autumn and Thanksgiving holiday.

Version 2:  The Little Red Hen
at Gullah Net in English and Gullah language
Little Red Hen's lazy friends are:  a duck, a dog, and Kitty the cat. Little Red Hen bakes delicious bread.

Here are a series of activities for The Little Red Hen.  This story can be revisited again and again as children grow to explore different aspects of it and other educational themes.

Activity #1:  Reading / Story Discussion and Possible Themes to Explore (Age Recommendations)
Reading and discussing this story will greatly vary depending on the age of the children.  

For children  ages 2-3 is probably best to keep the discussion simple, focus on:
1. The repetition of the story and having them participate in role playing with (an easy craft below) puppets and/or felt board characters.   
2.  Some basic discussion about the process of  planting, harvesting and final product,  the baked good and how important it is to eat wheat and other grain related products (have a stalk of wheat for demonstration-found at craft store).  
3.  Sharing and helping is good!
  
4. Snack Time:  A fun and easy baking or bread tasting activity.  Suggestion: Bake bread in a bread machine if available, easy and children can help measure the water, flour, etc.
5.  Music:  Singing a portion of the story - link below.

For children 4-6 there's a great deal more that can be discussed during separate activities or depending on the age.
*Character/Moral message:  Cooperation & sharing in more depth
*Arts & Crafts:  Various suggestions for crafts to make to support the story that allow the children to be creative in making one of the characters of the story and engage in dramatic play.
*Farm Theme:  This story can definitely be incorporated in a farm themed unit, and the importance and contributions of the hen/chicken and other characters to the farm.
*Science/Plants:  The process of wheat planting, caring, harvesting, milling process, baking and nutritional value of the final baked good.
*Nutrition:  The nutritional value of products derived from the wheat, food pyramid - breads and grains.
*Fun in the Kitchen & Math:  Baking bread (a bread making machine is great for the classroom), cookies, pizza, or a cake is a great opportunity to practice measuring and counting.
*Music:  Singing a portion of the story - link below.  

Select from some of the support materials below: crafts, coloring pages (for flannel board characters and puppets), and online resources that can be incorporated for presenting the story and the children will actively participate in the process.  

Activity #2: Arts & Crafts:
**Story Character Crafts:
Below is a selection of crafts to make all the characters in the story.  If you have a large group you may want to divide the group so you have smaller groups representing each character and they will use the craft to participate during the reading, discussion, dramatic play and  music activity.  Make a drawing to help in the process of selection -- a small bag or basket with pictures/images that children pull out to determine what character/animal they will get to make for art/craft activity.

First-School's Crafts Characters - Ages 3.5+ with help
Visit these links for instructions and templates for related crafts - choose depending on the characters of the book version selected.
1.   Cow Crafts
2.   Cat Crafts
3.   Dog Crafts
4.   Duck or Goose Crafts
5.   Hen Crafts
6.   Mouse Crafts
7.   Turkey

All of these crafts have printable templates (color version and black & white).

DLTK's Printable Craft Characters - Ages 3+
 
These crafts require a toilet paper tube - or paper towel tubes.  All the templates for these character are available in black & white to color or in color.  Choose from:
1.   Cow Craft
2.  Dog Craft
3.  Mouse Craft
4.  Horse Craft

**Suggestion:  Alphabet Letter Practice - Before or after completing the crafts write the first letter of the animal in the body template.

Felt Board Characters or Easy Hand Puppets using Coloring Page Images (Ages 2+):

Choose from these coloring page images those characters that apply to the book selected and suggestions for use below:
Cat, Chicken | Hen, Cow, Dog, Duck, Goose, Horse, Mouse, Turkey

For other choices and/or additional images visit the Animal Coloring Pages index.

Easy & Quick Felt board Characters:
The coloring page images listed above can be printed directly on construction paper or craft paper in a complimentary color and then cut out, glue or tape a piece of sand paper to stick to a flannel board.  Also you may wish to cover with Contact paper.  Using dry erase markers write the names of the characters on them. 

Easy Hand Puppets &  Coloring Painting Activity
*If you have limited time, this could be an easy craft/coloring activity using crayons or paints and some additional materials to decorate the coloring page images suggested above.  
*Children can help cut out the images after decorating/coloring them (great scissor practice for older children)  and glue or tape to a craft stick/Popsicle stick or drinking straw to make a puppet.  
*Do the same as suggested above, divide the group and make a drawing to select the image for each child.  Have the children work in teams to color and decorate the puppet.

Online resource:  Webbing into Literacy: The Little Red Hen Activity Card: (PDF Format only)
Here is an activity card that can be used at home or as take home activity to reinforce the story.  

Complementary Lesson Plans:
Letter H Hen printable activities
Introduce or practice letter H with a set of printable activities and mini-book  

Community Helper - The Baker Activities

Little Red Hen is a baker in the story. A complimentary set of activities to this story would be to introduce the baker as a community helper.

Community Helper - The Farmer Activity (and Little Boy Blue Nursery Rhyme)
The Little Red Hen exhibits the typical responsibilities of a farmer.  A complimentary activity to this story would be to introduce the farmer as a community helper -- refer to this activity which includes an Easy Farmer Shapes Craft.

Baking | Sequencing | Nutrition
Suggestion for a baking activity, a printable baking sequencing activity.

Crafts:
First-School's Crafts Characters - Ages 3.5+ with help
1.  Cow Crafts
2. Cat Crafts
3. Dog Crafts
4. Duck or Goose Crafts
5. Hen Crafts 
6. Mouse Crafts
7. Turkey (online story version)

Main Character
Little Red Hen
Crafts 

Easy Shapes Little Red Hen

Large Version

Small Version
Little Red Hen Stand-up Crafts


Letter H Hen printable activities

Coloring Pages 
for Felt board Characters & Puppets
Cat, Chicken/Hen, Cow, Dog, Duck, Goose, Horse, Mouse

Many other links to online supplementary materials in the instructions.

Materials:  Each craft link has a list of materials needed.

Optional:  Stalk of wheat found at floral or craft shop.

To view updates to these activities visit: http://www.first-school.ws/activities/fairytales/redhen.htm
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