The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.
All day squirrel’s friends ask him to do things, but he is too busy. Squirrel sees the signs of autumn that the others don’t notice, and he knows he has to get ready for winter.
In November by Cynthia Rylant. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 2000.
The air grows cold and all of the animals prepare for winter. Animals seek food and shelter, and people gather together to celebrate.
5 Little Squirrels
(to the tune of “Five Little Ducks”)
1 little squirrel went out to play
Up in the branches one autumn day.
He had such enormous fun,
He called for another little squirrel to come.
2 little squirrels…
3 little squirrels…
4 little squirrels…
5 little squirrels went out to play
Up in the branches one chilly day.
They had such enormous fun,
Then all scurried home ‘cause winter had come.
Props needed: squirrel puppet, basket of acorns (enough for each child to have one), green crepe streamers (cut in 2-foot lengths, one per child), red, orange, brown and/or yellow crepe streamers (cut in 2-foot lengths, one per child), spray bottle of water
Pass out the acorns and streamers to the children and ask them to drape the green streamers around their shoulders. Explain that they will play the trees in this story and ask them to stand up and stretch out their arms like branches.
Once upon a time, there was a little squirrel named Sammy. He lived in the forest and his best friends were the trees. In the summertime he would frolic under the green leaves. He would climb up and down the trees and hop from branch to branch. (Use puppet to act this out on the children.)
Sometimes the trees would sway in the wind, and he loved to listen to the rustle of their branches. (Encourage children to sway and make rustling sounds.)
Sometimes it would rain, and Sammy would hide under the leaves. (Spray water over the trees – be careful not to soak anyone too much, or the crepe streamers will run!)
The trees loved Sammy too. He was very kind to them. If one of them had an itchy trunk, he would scratch its bark with his little claws. (Act this out with the puppet.) And he would chitter little songs to them at night.
All summer long, Sammy played under the trees. But soon the air turned colder, and the green leaves of the trees began to change colors. (Have the children take off the green streamers and put on the autumn colors.) Sammy couldn’t believe it! His friends were changing! “You’re all dressed up!” he said. “Are you going to a fancy party?”
Sammy’s friends just laughed at him, rustling their leaves and shaking their branches. Then Sammy saw something that made him very sad – some of his friends were losing their beautiful leaves! (Cue children to take of streamers and wave them through the air.) First one, then the other, lost its leaves. (Go around the room and touch children on the shoulder to cue them when to drop their streamers. Encourage them to drop them from a high height so they will drift down to the ground.)
Soon the leaves were gone, and all Sammy could see were bare branches, waving in the cold wind. “I’m sorry, my friends,” he said. “I wish I could stay and play with you, but I need to gather food for the winter.”
The trees rustled at him. “What’s that?” said Sammy. “You have another surprise for me? What could it be?”
And the trees gave Sammy delicious acorns to eat. Sammy gave each tree a grateful hug. (Go around with squirrel and basket, collecting acorns from the children.) One tree even offered Sammy a snug little hole where he could pass the winter. (Have squirrel make a “nest” on one child’s head.)
“Thank you, my friends,” whispered Sammy. “I’ll see you in the spring.”
Fingerplays and Songs
Squirrel, squirrel, turn around
Squirrel, squirrel, touch the ground
Squirrel, squirrel, climb a tree
Now shake that bushy tail with me!
Squirrel: An American Sign Language Guessing Rhyme
Introduce the ASL sign for squirrel with this rhyme. Find a video of the sign here.
Make two Vs,
Now bend them like so,
And tap them together.
Now you know
The sign for an animal
That climbs in the trees
And gathers up all the acorns he sees.
Do you know what it is?
Can you guess, boys and girls?
This is the sign that means a….(squirrel!)
Up the tree and down again,
the busy squirrel looks for his friend. (look up and down and all around)
Fall is coming, don’t you know?
We have to prepare for the winter snow. (brrrr, give yourself a hug)
Squirrel knows they buried the acorns when they peaked,
Now they need to find them and stuff them in their cheeks! (puff out cheeks)
What’s in the Bag? A Nature Guessing Game
Collect a variety of fall objects, such as leaves, pine cones, pine needles, mini pumpkins and gourds, acorns, apples, and seeds.
- Place all of the items in a dark colored bag.
- Let each child place their hand in the bag without peaking, and feel the object.
- As each child feels the object, sing the following song to the tune of “Around the Mulberry Bush”:
What is in the nature bag, the nature bag, the nature bag,
What is in the nature bag, that makes us think of fall?
Let the children announce their guesses, then pull the items out of the bag to show the group.
Variation: Create “touch and feel” boxes out of shoe boxes. Create a “flap” at one end of the shoe box that can be lifted a little for the children to place their hand in. At each box, have the children take turns feeling the item, then discuss what they think the item is. When all children have guessed, take the lid off the box and show the item.
Materials: paper plate with a hole in the center; items found outside on a nature walk such as pinecones, acorns, pine needles, seeds; glue; other fun decorating items.
Glue a variety of nature items on the wreath, sprinkle with glitter and add any other items that make you happy and think of autumn!
Super Squirrel Coloring Page
Pieces needed: squirrel coloring page (we like this one), crayons, cotton balls, glue, acorn “hats”.
Color the squirrel as desired. Glue fluffy cotton balls on the tail and acorn “hats” on the page.