The Little Red Hen Crafts and
Printable Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten
The Little Red Hen is an American fable, first collected by Mary Mapes Dodge in St. Nicholas Magazine in 1874. Source: Wikipedia
In all versions, the little red hen is a hard working character. Most of the versions have a lazy cat, the other characters may be farm animals or animals that may be found at a farm. Sometimes these characters are dozing off, sleeping or just playing. Sometimes the hen bakes bread, a cake, muffins, 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.
- coloring and writing tools
- glue stick
- Additional supplies may be required for the crafts
- Optional: a stalk of wheat
Preparation for activities:
Secure a book at your library, video or online version (selections below) 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 printable crafts and activities, and other online resources to select those that match the characters in the book or video selected. You may want to include a cooking/baking activity, sampling different types of bread or other baked goods for a snack or a visit a local bakery.
Picture book recommendations:
Here are some picture book suggestions with links @ WorldCat.org to locate at a nearby library:
The Little Red Hen by Byron Barton, 1993 - This collage-like version is ideal for toddlers and preschool level. It is a favorite of young children and emergent readers. Little Red Hen bakes bread. Characters > hen's chicks, pig, duck and cat
Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone, 1985, ages 4-8, but this
can also be enjoyed by children 3+. Hen bakes a cake.
Characters: cat, dog, and mouse
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! Hurray! A fun and great lesson in sharing. Characters: duck, dog and cat
The Little Red Hen (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Lucinda McQueen - Ages 4-8 Another wonderful choice, very colorful and not easily forgotten. Characters: goose, cat and dog.
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 >
Version 1: The Little Red Hen picture book by Paul Galdone [@You Tube] Characters: cat, dog, and mouse
Version 2: The Little Red Hen [@You Tube] Characters: cat, duck, and pig
Version 3: The Little Red Hen [@You Tube] Characters: cat, pig, and mouse
Version 4: The Little Red Hen at Gullah Net in English [best viewed on a PC] Characters: a duck, a dog, and Kitty the cat. Little Red Hen bakes delicious bread.
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.
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:
- The repetition of the story and having them participate in role playing with (an easy craft below) puppets and/or felt board characters.
- 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).
- Sharing and helping is good!
- 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,
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 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, breads and grains food group.
- 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. Be mindful of allergies, such as gluten sensitivity.
Activity 2 > Arts & Crafts:
Story Character Crafts > Visit the animal character links to find crafts and activities.
Felt board characters or easy hand puppets using coloring page images (Ages 2+) >
Choose easy to cut and color coloring images for the characters: The Little Red Hen coloring pages
Print coloring pages directly to 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. Laminate and use dry erase markers to write letters or words over the characters.
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.
- Have the children work in teams to color and decorate the puppet.
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 Activities
The Little Red Hen also exhibits the typical responsibilities of a farmer. A complimentary activity to this story would be to introduce the farmer as a community helper.