The timeless tale of the Little Red Hen teaches children about the rewards of hard work, perseverance, and the importance of helping others. These tales of teamwork, responsibility, and determination are not only enjoyable for children but also pave the way for meaningful discussions and essential values that will last a lifetime. Plant the seeds of literacy and watch as preschoolers blossom into avid readers and empathetic souls, just like the Little Red Hen herself!
One lovely thing about teaching fairy tales is the large variety of options when it comes to the tale itself! This makes fairy tales like The Little Red Hen perfect for showing students that the same story can be told in many ways. Before each story, ask the children questions like:
- What looks different from the other versions we’ve read?
- What looks similar?
- How do we think the illustrator made the pictures?
- Are the same characters going to be in this story?
Overall, these versions should stick to the original fairy tale. Be sure to leave the different versions available for students to explore independently during centers and quiet time. Here are some good options:
When reading The Little Red Hen, keep students engaged by teaching them the repeating phrases in the story.
“Not I!” said the dog. “Not I!” said the pig. “Not I!” said the cat.
The class can do all the lines together as a group, or the teacher can assign different roles to children. Students enjoy this so much that they ask to do it many times!
Fractured Fairy Tales – The Little Red Hen Variations
Another way to build comprehension is to introduce “fractured fairy tale” versions of the story. Fractured fairy tales use similar story elements but often have an unusual twist, a different setting, or other fun differences. These are fantastic for teaching lessons on comparing and contrasting, as well as building the class’s comprehension of the general story.
Cook-a-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
The Little Red Hen’s great-grandson is tired of eating the same thing every day. But then he discovers that his great-granny had not only baked bread, but also made an entire cookbook full of delicious treats. Unlike his ancestor, he has help – or does he? For more advanced classes, the margins of the story have loads of interesting information for young chefs.
Extending the Learning: The rooster makes a strawberry shortcake. Make the same treat with the class and enjoy it for snack! (As always, when doing any activity involving food, please check for allergies!)
Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley
Poor Mr. Wolf just wants some help from his neighbors to make a batch of pancakes. However, they refuse to help him and are horribly rude as well. This ending is a little dark, but Mr. Wolf doesn’t have to worry about his neighbors anymore!
Extending the Learning: Yet again, another amazing cooking activity. Most children love pancakes, and these are easy enough to make in an electric skillet. Students can measure, mix, and butter the pancakes…and, of course, gobble them up!
Enjoy an entire unit of Little Red Hen activities and fun!
Fairy Tale Preschool Unit – The Little Red Hen
Fairy Tales are a fun and effective way for young children to practice comprehension, oral language, and retelling skills. This 1-week mini-unit focuses on “The Little Red Hen.” When you ask, “Who would like to read this book?” your young learners will shout, “We do!”
- 5 circle time lessons
- 2 center activities
- Book Recommendations
The Little Green Hen by Alison Murray
This version is perfect for Earth Day, Arbor Day, and autumn – but it’s great any day too. The Little Green Hen lives in an apple tree. As she grows her orchard, she’s a feathered version of Johnny Appleseed – but she doesn’t have to do it all by herself in this tale.
Extending the Learning: Make some scrumptious-smelling apple playdough with the class, add some plastic animals, and watch them re-tell the story independently!
Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman
A cold wind is blowing, and Miss Billie the Armadillo wants to make a pot of hot chili to warm up. Like the Little Red Hen, her friends are too busy to help, making her grumpy. But when the chili is done, something is missing.
Extending the Learning: Introduce the students to “Chop Chop, Chippity Chop” and pretend to make chili using different ingredients. You can lengthen the activity by pretending to stir the chili to the beat between each ingredient.
The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier
Ruby wants to build a fort. She asks her brothers to help, but they laugh at her big ideas. So, she does it herself – with adults helping for safety. When the fort is done, the boys want to come play. Will Ruby let them? This one is our favorite!
Extending the Learning: Make a fort in the classroom using blankets, chairs, and tables!
The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philemon Sturges
This simple twist begins with the Little Red Hen spotting a can of tomato sauce in her cupboard, so she decides to make a pizza. However, the only thing she has to make this pizza is the sauce! Will her friends help her?
Extending the Learning: Set up a Pizza Parlor in the dramatic play area so students can re-tell the story!
More Fairy Tale Fun
Looking for more Fairy Tale lesson plans? Look no further!