“The Tortoise and the Hare" is a classic fable about a slow tortoise who wins a race against a fast hare. The story centers around the characters, and the story's message is that intelligence and wit are just as important as physical ability and strength. Engage the students in the story via activities such as role play, puppet shows, vocabulary exercises and story discussion.

Story Discussion

After reading the story, talk about it to encourage the students to acknowledge the basic theme of the story. Ask questions such as "Why does the tortoise win the race?" or "What is the author trying to say?" and "Would you rather be the tortoise or the hare?" These questions will help you ensure that the students understood the story. You will also be able to get their perspective on the story. During the discussion, mention the theme of the story -- which is the importance of being smart and of not giving up -- which the tortoise demonstrated when he used his wit and perseverance to beat the hare.

Tortoise and Hare Role Play

Engage the students in role play, which will get them to use their imaginations. Pick a pair of students to come to the front of the class to act out the race. Remind them that the tortoise is slow and the hare is fast, so the students should use their imaginations to act out how they think each animal would move and behave. Also encourage them to take on the characters' respective personalities: the tortoise is humble and hard-working and the hare is a talkative show-off. This will exercise the students' improvisational skills as well as their imaginative and creative skills.

Tortoise and Hare Puppet Show

Preschoolers tend to be quite visual, so use puppets to tell the story to help engage them. You can either make your own simple puppets from paper bags or socks, or you can use turtle and rabbit stuffed animals as puppets. Use a voice for each character and take on the personalities of the characters. This alternative way to share the story will help maintain their interest, instead of simply reciting from the book.

Draw a "Never Give Up" Moment

Since the main theme of the story is to work hard and to never give up, encourage the students to think back to a time when they didn't have to give up. Then, ask them to draw that scenario, to the best of their abilities. For example, they will probably remember when they did not know how to how to pull on their shoes and socks, but then, they practiced until they got it right. This will exercise their art skills as well as help them understand the importance of perseverance and how it applies to their own lives.