Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, by Verna Aardema

            This story takes place on the great Kapiti Plain that is need of rain.  The story can be a good jumping board for water thoughts, both the cycle of water and conservation.


  • National Geographic or other magazines with African animals inside.
  • Mylar, cut into strips
  • A globe or map of the world


  • Herdsman (like a cattle farmer in the United States, he makes sure the cow are safe and healthy).          
  •  The Plain (kind of like living out in the country)
  • Drought (when the rain does not come for a very long time and all the plants and animals begin to get sick and there is hardly any water to drink)          

Before Reading the Story

            Ask the children if they know why water is so important?  Make a list of the children’s responses (to drink, to take a bath or shower, to wash my clothes. To cook spaghetti and other food, to brush teeth, water plants, flush).  Talk to the children about the importance of not wasting water.  If you see the sink left running, we need to turn it off. Explain that we do not want to waste water because then what would happen (It would all be gone and you could not get a drink).  Depending upon where you live, this discussion could easily go into drought concerns and water conservation.  The idea is to make sure the children are aware that water is important and that we need to take care of the water.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and respect for their bodies and the environment.

Reading the Story

           As you introduce the story, show the children where Africa is on the globe or map.  Talk about how it is very far away on the other side of the world.  Take a moment and do a picture walk through the book. Have the children name all the animals that they see in the pictures.  Ask them if these animals are like the animals they see around their neighborhoods or woods.  Let the children know that these are called African animals.  Go back to the cover and show/point out the cows.   Do these look like the cows we have here?  Why do you think that Ka-pit is watching the cows?  What do farmers get from cows (milk, meat, leather, ice cream). So cows are pretty important animals both here and in Africa.  Let’s find out how the rain is brought to Kapiti Plain and why.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.  AND Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation/shows growing interest and involvement in listening to and discuss ing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and poetry.

After Reading the Story

            Open up the book to the page that starts “These are the cows, all hungry and dry”.  Lead a discussion on the importance of drinking water everyday.  Ask the children to look at the cows, what does it mean that they were dry (they wanted a drink, their tongues were stuck).  Ask the children questions about being thirsty (have you ever been so thirsty that your tongue felt like it was sticking? When you are outside running and you get thirsty what should you do?  How many glasses of water should you drink to keep your insides lubed? (8)  What happens when you do not get enough water to drink (I am thirsty, I get a headache).  

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.


            Pictures of Africa; the people, the animals, the land. Talk with the children and compare the likenesses and differences to life in the United States.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; begins to make comparisons between objects based on a single attribute,  AND Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Music and Movement

            Use your instruments and have a thunderstorm.  Start off playing softly and become louder as the thunder storm grows.  Then you can bring the instruments back down to soft again.

Creative Arts/Music; experiments with  a variety of musical instruments.

            Sing the song, Rain is Falling, to Frere Jacque

Rain is falling, rain is falling
All around, all around
It’s raining on the tree tops; it’s raining on the tree tops
And the ground, and the ground

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.

             If you have rain sticks, this would be a good day to let the children experiment with them.

Creative Arts/Music; experiments with  a variety of musical instruments.

            In the story Ki-pat stands on one leg while he watches the cows.  Let’s pretend we are herdsmen in Africa and see how long we can stand on one leg.  Try other balance activities (Put one hand on the floor and lift one leg in the air, stand on tip toe, stand on your heels, put both hands and one leg on the ground and one leg in the air, etc.).

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; progresses in physical growth, stamina, strength, and flexibility.

            Put out some wrist bells and do a rain dance. 

            If you are fortunate to get mylar (those silver balloons) cut them into strips, it makes a wonderful rain storm.  It sounds like rain when you crinkle it and it’s fun to toss up in the air.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative and Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.


            Put out any African animals that you have as well as any others.  Encourage the children to build a lake for the animals to get a drink at.  The children can sort the animals by like kinds or line them up smallest to largest.

Mathematics/Patterns & measurement; shows increasing abilities to match, sort, put in a series, and regroup objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.


            Put out magazines and encourage the children to cut out animals and glue them to paper.  Encourage them to look for pictures of African animals.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Sand and Water

            Scooping and pouring water play.  Do you have pitchers that can sound like rain when poured?  If not, you can make simple rain makers by punching holes in the bottom of a plastic container (cottage cheese container).

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to use senses and a variety of tools and simple measuring devices to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

Library and Writing

          Tell the children that they are going to find ‘secret messages’ written in the clouds.  From white paper cut out cloud shapes.  Use a white crayon to write a message for each child (Hello Jamie).  Let the children paint with watercolors over their cloud, to turn it dark like a rain cloud. Watch their surprise when they see a message with their name.  Encourage them to read the message or the letters.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their own name.  AND Literacy/Early Writing; develops understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.

Dramatic Play

            Add large scarves or pieces of fabric to the center so the children can try to make robes like Ki-pat in the story. 

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials  and in assuming  different roles in dramatic play situations.

Math and Manpiluatives

           Make copies of the boots and decorate the left and right to match.  Put all the boots out on the table and ask the children to find the pairs of boots.  As they make their matches talk to them about the colors or patterns that are on the boot.

Mathematics/ Patterns & Measurement; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

            Make sets of right footed boot in small, medium, and large.  Decorate each set the same.  Challenge the children to find the three boots that match and put them in order from small to large.

Mathematics/ Patterns & Measurement; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as color, shape, or size.

Outdoor Play

            In the story Ki-pat shot an arrow into the sky.  Take bean bags and pretend that they are arrows and throw them into the sky.  See if you can catch them.  Play catch with another child, throw the bean bags at a target (perhaps a large cloud shape).

Physical Health & Development/Large Motor Skills; demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using the slide and swing.


           This story is written with many rhymes.  Say a word and the child must say another word that rhymes with it before going off to the next activity.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; progresses in recognizing matching sounds and rhymes in familiar words, games, songs, stories, and poems.


About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.