Raccoons and Ripe Corn, by Jim Arnosky


  • 6 fresh ears of corn in the husk (sorry to make you go out and buy something extra)
  • 5 paper plates
  • Several dish towels
  • Any small amount of leftover fruit from your breakfast or other food items
  • Raccoon masks
  • 3 shoe boxes or empty toy bins


  • Autumn (another name for fall time)
  • Corn silk (the hairs that grow at the top of the corncob)
  • Plump and ripe (fat and ready to eat)
  • Kits (raccoon children are called kits)
  • Feast (a special yummy dinner or meal)
  • Rows (lines)
  • Sneak (creep quietly so no one can hear)
  • Sunrise (just before the sun comes up in the sky and morning begins)
  • Nocturnal (animals that sleep during the day and come out at night)

Introducing the Story

Hold up the cover of the book and ask the children if anyone knows what kind of animal is on the cover. Ask the children to look carefully at the cover and if they can tell you anything about raccoons. Point out the leaves of the ground, what season do you think it is? Point out the stars in the sky, what time of day do you think it is? Point out the corn and read the title of the book. Ask the children why do you think the raccoons are in the corn garden?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows a growing interest and involvement in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction and non-fiction books and poetry.

Reading the Story

On the page where is says; “At night, a mother raccoon and her almost-grown kits sneak into the cornfield”, ask the children why they think the raccoons are sneaking into the corn?

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks

After Reading the Story

Go back and do a second reading of the story but this time let the children tell the story as you turn the pages. You may have to lead the children through the story (what was falling down from the trees? What season does the story take place? Where does the story take place? What is happening to the silk of the corn? What does it mean when the silk turns brown? Continue letting the children tell the children with you using leading questions if necessary. What happened next? Who were the characters of the story? How do you think the farmer will feel when he finds his corn all laying on the ground? Why?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

Music and Movement

Turn off the lights and play Raccoons Scat! On paper plates, write a letter on each that you are working with the children to recognize. Have the children form as large a circle large as possible in your space. Put the paper plates in the center. Tell the children that when you call their name, they are to pretend to be a raccoon and sneak into the center of the circle and find a letter that you name and pretend to be nibbling on it like a raccoon. Call 1-5 children at a time depending upon your group’s maturity. When all the raccoons are nibbling another child can pretend to be the farmer and yell, “raccoons scat!”   The children crawl back quickly to the circle’s edge. Continue until everyone has a turn or the children grow tired of playing.  Have each child wear a raccoon mask by coloring and stapling the provided copy to a sentence strip.

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds.


Put the fresh ears of corn in the center today for the children to husk. Note the silk. Note how the kernels grow in rows.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


Encourage the children to make rows of blocks today. Can they make a pattern with their rows (tall, short, tall, short)? Can you make 3 rows? Can you make a long row and a short row?

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials.


Give each child a copy of the corn shape. Using stamp pads or tempera paint, show the children how to make kernels of corn by using their finger to print (up and down, up and down). Challenge them to put the kernels in rows like a real corncob. When they are finished, let them cut out green husk shapes to glue on the side of their corn print.

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; enhances abilities to recognize, duplicate, and extend simple patterns using a variety of materials. 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

Tell the children that raccoons like to wash their food before eating it. Put any fruits or vegetables that you have in the dramatic play center into the table filled with water today. Let the children wash the fruits and vegetables and dry them with the dish towels.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting.

Library and Writing

Bring in books or pictures of nocturnal animals for the children to look at and discuss.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Dramatic Play

Tell the children that raccoons are nocturnal which means they come out while people are normally sleeping. Encourage them to act out nighttime rituals today. You can add blankets or towels to be used for beds.   Ask the children to tell you about some of their nighttime rituals and then encourage them to act them out. ( I brush my teeth in the sink, My big brother reads me books, I watch television, I put on my pajamas and jump on my bed).

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as genders, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.

Math and Manipulaties

Make a bean bag toss game by setting out shoe boxes or toy bins from a tape mark line on the floor. Place the boxes about a foot apart. Have the children take turns standing on the tapeline and throwing bean bags into the boxes/toy bins. I usually use 3 beanbags to start. The children can then tell you how many they got into the box and how many did not get into the box. As they tell you hold up you fingers and say, “yep that makes three”. (The child might say, “I got one bean bag into the box”, teacher holds up one finger on left hand. “I got two outside the box”, teacher holds up three fingers on right hand. Teacher says, “1-2-3, yep that makes three”. If a child miss counts, 2 in the box and 2 out of the box, have the child count again.

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to make use of one-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.

Outdoor Play

About an hour before the children go out to play, take your small amount of food scraps out to the playground and put it into a quiet area where you have seen ants in the past. When the children go out to play, draw them over to the food scraps. Have the ants found it yet? Have they begun to carry it back to their ant home? Did they choose one type of food over another? Encourage the children to observe the coming and going of the ants and to talk about what they are seeing.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


Tell the children that they are going to sneak to the next activity by tip toeing and being so quiet that no one will hear them. Send the children off using whispering voices.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.

Dear Parents- Today we read a book about raccoons who come out at night to feed. Take your child on an evening walk and see what creatures you might see, or hear, that are out and about after the sun sets.


hedge hog
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.