Henny Penny, by Stephen Butler

            Henny Penny thinks the sky is falling and runs off in a panic.  On the way she meets some of her friends and gets them all afraid too.  What will happen when they meet the fox who pretends to be the king?  Is the sky really capable of falling? 


  •   Numbers 1-5 and lots of acorns
  •  Bird masks
  •  Puppets; acorn, henny penny, cocky locky, ducky lucky, goosey loosey, turkey lurkey, foxy loxy


  • Acorn (the seed from an oak tree)
  • Disguise (To dress up to look like someone else)
  • Cave (a hole in the rocks or the ground)
  • Emergency (something bad happens and it has to be taken care of immediately)

Before Reading the Story

            Tell the children that today you are going to put on a puppet show with them.  Ahead of time, cut out the puppet figures and attach to a popsicle stick.  Ask the children if they know what it means when you say characters of the story (the people/animals in the story).  Tell the children that you would like to introduce the characters of the puppet show.  This is Henny Penny, can you tell shat kind of an animal she is?  Continue to introduce all the characters.  When you have finished, tell the children that one of the characters is very different from the others, can you tell me who?  (The fox is the only animal, the rest are birds).

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; begins to make comparisons between several objects based on a single attribute.

Reading the Story

            Make puppets and either hold them up yourself or ask several children help you as you read the story.  As you read, encourage the children to repeat, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”

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

After Reading the Story

Tell the children that in the story, Henny Penny thought it was an emergency.  Explain that sometimes at school we practice for an emergency by having a fire drill.  If it was a real fire emergency, do the children know what they should do?  Go over your fire drill plan, your tornado plan and any other emergency plans that the children would partake in at school.

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.

Ask the children if they think Henny Penny handled herself in a safe way? Why or why not?

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.

Ask the children if they have ever had a scary dream.  Let them talk about their dreams.  Are scary dreams for real?  What can you do if you have a scary dream? 

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for other varied purposes.


            Ask the children to think about all of Henny Penny’s friends.  They were birds.  Ask the children to draw birds.  How many feet do birds have?  What do they have instead of a mouth, instead of arms?  We have skin all over our bodies, what are chickens covered with?

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

Music and Movement

            Sing Rhyming Words Sound the Same, to the Mexican Hat Dance.

Rhyming words sound the same, (clap, clap)

Rhyming words sound the same. (clap, clap)

Rhyming words sound the same. (clap, clap)

Rhyming words sound the same.

(ask a child to make a rhyming word that goes along with their name, it does not have to be a real word)

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


            The fox tricked Henny Penny and her friends into a cave.  Ask the children to see if they can make a cave where they can put something inside.  Also encourage them to make a castle for the king.

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; demonstrates increasing ability to set goals and develop and follow through on plans.


            Cut out simple Kings Crowns and let the children decorate them. (I have made stencils of shapes for the children to cut and glue onto their crown and a co-worker got out the glitter and sequences for very fancy crowns).

Creative Arts/Art; begins to share opinions about artistic products and experiences.

Library and Writing

            Ask the children to help you write a new ending to the story where Henny Penny looks up at the tree when the acorn falls.  How would this story go?  They can illustrate their ending?

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Sand and Water

            If you live in an area where there might be acorns, put some into the water table.  If not, look for other kinds of tree seeds that you can use. Let the children scoop and pour the acorns into a variety of vessels. Do they make different sounds in plastic versus wood or metal?

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

Dramatic Play

            Cut and color the masks and attach to sentence strips so the children can act out the story.  For the king, a child can wear a crown that was made in art.

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.

Math and Manipulatives

            Put out 1-5 or 1-10 pieces of paper with the number written upon it. Cut out the acorns on the acorn page and let the children make piles on the corresponding numbers.

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

Outdoor Play

            Play follow the leader.

Physical Health Development/Health Status & practices; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.


            As the children leave to go to the next activity, simply ask them where they are going.  Find a word real or silly that rhymes with their name.  (Kerry Berry, where are you going?  Roger Dodger, where are you going?)

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; develops increased ability to make independent choices.

Puppets for story, glue to popsicle stick
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.