I Stink! By Kate and Jim McMullan

This story is told by the garbage truck as he rolls through his day/night.   Find out what a garbage truck does, and how much he likes this stinky job.


  • Garbage and Recycle cards
  • Several shoe boxes


  • Doubles-two of everything
  • Hopper-where you throw the garbage into the truck
  • Compacted-squished till really small

Before Reading the Story

Play I’m thinking of a community helper.  Think of several community helpers and make statements about their work.  Have the children guess who you are thinking of.  Do the Garbage collector last and then introduce the story.  (I’m thinking of a community helper who wears a uniform with a star on it.  This person helps keep us safe.  This person is someone we can call upon when we are scared or in danger.  Police.  I’m thinking of a community helper who works in a building full of books.  This person sometimes has storytimes for children.  This person lets you check out books if you have a special card with your name on it.  Librarian.  I’m thinking of a  community helper who helps keep our streets and neighborhoods clean.  This person drives a big truck that picks up our garbage and takes it to the dump.  This person has a very stinky job.  Garbage collector). 

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops a growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Reading the Story

 On the page where the truck asks, “Did I wake you?” Use your hands to show the squeezing, crushing, mashing, smashing motions. When doing the alphabet soup pages, point to the letter and say A is for _____ and let the children help name the items. As you do the alphabet pages make a face like it stinks, hold your nose, say eww, have fun with it. On the last page; Ask the children what they think would happen if no one ever picked up the garbage? Ask them where they think the barge/boat will take all the garbage?

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress is associating the names of letters with their shape and sound.

After Reading the Story

 Does your school recycle? If so, talk about how important it is as it helps keep the garbage dump from getting too filled. If you do not, talk with the children about doing some classroom recycling. Can they save drawing paper by using both sides? And if they use paper for cutting, save the scraps for collaging. Can you save plastic cups and use them as paint cups later?

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.


 Put some of your breakfast leftovers into a zip lock bag and hang it in the classroom. Later in the day, open up the bag and let the children smell it. Reseal the bag and leave it over night. Ask the children to guess/hypothesis what they think is going to happen to it? Check it out the next morning and how ever many you choose to after that. Warning-some stink bombs are quite noxious so open with caution.

Science/Scientific Skills; begins to describe and discuss predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experiences.

Do you know the day the garbage man comes to your school? Take the children out to watch as the garbage man collects your schools trash.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops a growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Share this video about recycling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jQ7y_qQYUA

Music and Movement

 Sing, I Like To Eat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNNMknj0PyE

I like to eat, I like to eat, apples and bananas

I like to eat, I like to eat, apples and bananas.
Now as you sing, change all the vowel sounds to /A/ sounds
A lAte taA A te, A lAte tA Ate, Apples and bAnAnAs

Now to short /a/ sound, then /E/, /e/,/I/,/i/,etc.

Or Sing it learning the sign language that goes along with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R7kkTNQdYw

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


Add shoe boxes to the center. Tell the children to pretend that it is the garbage truck. How many bags/blocks of garbage can they fit in their truck?

Mathematics/Numbers & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness if numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.


Use old scraps of paper, scissors, and glue today to collage.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Add a scent to playdough, preferably one that smells good.

Sand and Water

Add alphabet letters to the sand (the magnetic refrigerator kind work well) and a small box or container. Let the children pretend the container is the garbage truck and they can look for letter in the sand to fill it. As they fill their truck with letters, ask them if they can name the letters that they have found.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; identifies at least 10 letters of the alphabet, especially those in their name.

If you have a small magnetic board that you can write on; use a permanent marker to trace around each magnetic letter. As the children find a letter they must put it onto the correct letter shape drawn on the magnet board.

Library and Writing

Give each child a copy of the garbage truck maze and encourage them to follow the path from beginning to end. Can they stay within the lines of the path? Did they follow the path from beginning to end? Have each child write their name upon their page.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology.  AND Literacy/Early Writing; experiments with a growing variety of writing tools and materials, such as pencils, crayons, and computers. 

Dramatic Play

Tell the children that today is cleaning day in the dramatic center. Give the children damp paper towels and have them empty the shelves and wipe them. Add a garbage container and ask the children to help you throw away anything that is broken or chewed upon. I do b not have them throw things directly into the garbage when we do this because some children just like to throw things away. Use a basket or cubby that you can go through later to make sure that the garbage is truly garbage.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops a growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Math and Manipulatives

Garbage verses Recycle cards. Put the cards on the table and challenge the children to sort them by things that can be recycled and things that are thrown away.

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

Outdoor Play

Tell the children that you going to roll like wheels of the garbage truck. Let the children experiment with different types of rolling. Can the make their body long and straight and roll? Can they curl up and roll into a somersault? Can they roll a hula-hoop on its edge? Can they roll a ball? Can you roll a ball to them and they kick it? What other things can they children find to roll?

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.  AND Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.


 Ask each child to name something they think is stinky as they go off to the next activity. Be prepared for some silly answers and lots of giggles. (I once had a child who said another child’s fart. I told the child everyone farts and sometimes I bet yours are stinky too. Just be prepared for this kind of answer to deflect it off the child mentioned and back on the child who said it).

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.  

Dear Parent, Today we read a story about the garbage truck and how he comes to collect our garbage each week. If you have garbage service, encourage your child to help take the garbage out to the can. If you do not, you can still have your child help by emptying your trash bins in the house. And don’t forget to recycle!


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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.