Mary Had a Little Lamb, by Sarah Josepha Hale

                  This nursery rhyme is put to beautiful pictures of a real Mary and a real lamb.  The children will enjoy reading the book with you.


  • Piece of fleece and any other fur or skin you might have.
  •  Several small brushes or combs.
  •  Any stuffed animals that you may have, especially those with longer fur.
  •  Cotton balls or pom-poms
  •  Tweezers or tongs
  • A variety of materials with different textures to collage


  •    Fleece (lamb fur)
  •    Linger (to hang around waiting)
  •    Appear (showed up)

Before Reading the Story

                  Show the children the cover of the book.  Ask the children what Mary (the girl) has on her face.  Talk about glasses for a moment.  Do any of your children wear glasses, what do glasses do?  How do you take care of them? After the children have talked about glasses, point to the girl and say this is Mary.  Pause for a second and see if any child can make the connection between the cover illustration and the title of the story.  If not, read the title and ask the children if anyone has ever heard of this story?

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

Reading the Story;

                  Read it through once and then sing it through encouraging the children to join in.

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

After Reading the Story

                  Ask the children the following questions; What kind of pet did Mary have?  Do any of you have a pet?  Where did the lamb follow Mary to?  What did the lamb do at school? 

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.

Invite a child or staff member to bring a pet to school to visit.

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


                  Bring in fleece for the children to feel.  Also bring in any other fur or skins that you might have.  Talk about the textures.

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.

Music and Movement

                  Sing Mary Had a Little Lamb. Act it out allowing children to take turns being Mary and the lamb.

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


                  Encourage the children to build a school.  Add your farm animals. As the children build you can sing, “Dee she had a little cow, little cow, little cow. DSee she had a little cow it’s fur was spotted black. Make up verses to suit the farm animals that the children are using.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor SKills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.


                  Put out a variety of textures to let the children collage with today.  As they glue them to their paper, talk about the different names of textures (soft, fluffy, smooth, rough, bumpy, slick)

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increasing ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences and comparisons among objects and materials.

Sand and water

Child choice

Library and Writing

                  Ask the children to draw a picture of a favorite animal. Ask the child to describe what they think it’s skin feels like. Under the picture write (Kerry) had a little (cat) it’s (fur was soft and furry).  (Elephant=skin was wrinkly and grey).

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

Dramatic Play

                  Add any stuffed animals that you have and several brushes or combs for the children to brush the animals fur.

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

Math and Manipulatives

                  Put out a bowl of cotton balls/pom-poms and a pair of tweezers or tongs.  Show the children how to pick up a cotton ball using the tweezers and put it into a second bowl. If using pompoms, put out several bowls so the children can sort by color.

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

Outdoor Play

                  Do animal walks with the children.

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


                  In the story the children thought it was funny to see a lamb at school.  Take turns asking the children if they can think of something that they think would be funny to see or do at school.  Enjoy a good laugh with the children.

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

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.