Character Counts Week

Little Red Hen Lesson

Little Red Hen Lesson - HenGoals

  • Familiarize the children with the idea everybody pitches in. 
  • Promote thinking about fairness and doing one’s share. 
  • Expose the children to the idea that they can help others.


Large group; small group; story


  • Crayons
  • Glue, felt, or magnet strip
  • Ribbon
  • Construction paper circles
  • Little Red Hen story
  • Little Red Hen pictures (see below).  You may need multiple copies of some pictures.


  • Determine how you will use the lesson pictures. Copy pictures on cardstock or heavy paper. Be sure to cut apart the picture of the seeds, wheat, flour, and bread. 
    • Tell the story with characters:  Display pictures on a board or easel or children can hold a picture.
    • Character Shields:  Punch a hole in the top corners. Thread a long piece of ribbon through each hole.  Children can “wear” their character like a necklace and help act out the story.
    • Headbands:  Adjust picture size to fit on a headband. Cut strips of construction paper the length to go around a child’s head. Glue pictures to headbands. Have children wear a headband with  their character and help act out the story.
    • Make one or several circles with a happy face on one side and a sad face on another.


  1. Tell the children they are going to hear a story about fairness. Explain that fairness means everyone helps with work that needs to be done.
  2. Based upon how you decided to teach the lesson (see Preparation), distribute pictures from the story of “The Little Red Hen.” Introduce and tell the story of “The Little Red Hen,” either from a book, the version included here, or an online story.
  3. Ask the children to hold up their picture when they hear the word as you read. Practice a few times before starting to read. Ask all the children with the “seed” picture to hold it up when you say the word “seed,” and so on until everyone is able to follow the direction. Children “wearing” a picture may stand up or raise their hand when they hear their word.
  4. Questions to ask after the story:
    • What happened when the Little Red Hen asked her friends to help plant the seeds?
    • How did the Little Red Hen feel? Happy or Sad?  Happy and sad face circles could be used for this activity (happy face on one side, sad face on the other). If one happy/sad circle is used, the teacher can give it to a child who can identify which side to choose. If every child has a circle, they can each show the side they choose.
  5. Repeat your questions asking about:
    • cutting the wheat, carrying the wheat, grinding the wheat, and making the bread
  6. Talk about the end of the story. Ask: 
    • How did the friends feel when the Little Red Hen was not sure she wanted to let them eat the bread?
    • Why did the Little Red Hen think it was unfair to share the bread?
  7. Wrap up the discussion by talking about how the story ended. Talk about how everyone was happy when they decided to be fair and share the work.

Continuing the Lesson

  • You can tell the story again and help the children make up actions for the parts that repeat. For example, they can yawn and stretch like the Lazy Dog, clasp their hands together and tilt their heads like the Sleepy Cat, flap their wings like that Silly Yellow Bird, or “Hmph!” and wiggle in their seats like the busy
    Little Red Hen. After one or two times through the story, ask them what the Lazy Dog and Sleepy Cat say (watch out for the Silly Yellow Bird—he changes a bit!).
  • When you repeat the story, you can repeat the follow-up questions. You can also ask additional questions such as:
    • When do you ask friends for help?
    • Was there a time when a friend was not being fair?
    • How can we make sure everyone in our classroom (or program) is being fair when we are doing work?

Pictures for lesson activities

(Click to open)

Little Red Hen Lesson - Hen
Little Red Hen Lesson - Dog
Little Red Hen Lesson - Cat
Little Red Hen Lesson - Chick
Little Red Hen lesson - wheat
CC! for Early Childhood