2018 tour performed by Malcolm Jennings

Devised by Malcolm Jennings
Directed by Frances Land

Resources written by Malcolm Jennings & Juliet Fry

Puppetry direction by Clive Chandler
Puppet construction by John Crane
Costumes by Kay C Wilton


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Links and resources


Here are some other easily available similar stories that can be used as a stimulus for some fun numeracy work and discussion around the themes of the programme.

  • Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell. Walker Books, ISBN 978-0744536607
  • The Enormous Turnip by Ian Beck. OUP Oxford, ISBN 978-0192791504
  • Billy’s Sunflower by Nicola Moon and Karin Littlewood. Scholastic Little Hippo, ISBN  978-0590195782
  • Chicken Licken by M Ross. Ladybird, ISBN 978-0721497358
  • The Hen and the Fox by M Ross. Ladybird, ISBN 978-0721497419
  • The Ginger Bread Man. Ladybird, ISBN 978-1846469800
  • Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne. Walker books, ISBN 978-0744536348



Animation of different methods of seed dispersal that has a bird that poos!!!


Games and activities

Great online games and recipes that older children could use to practice maths concepts and revise bread making processes
Link 1
– This is a shape matching game that you could use to talk about shape names and colours.

Link 2 – This is also a matching game but with farmyard animals the pictures are realistic but there are perhaps a little too many choices for younger children to remember.

Link 3 – Here is another silly game. A chicken lays eggs and moves along the perch you have to move the box underneath and catch the falling eggs simple!


Other resources

We love this really interactive site. There is little text or instruction. Just move and click your mouse to explore and discover amazing things.

Come Outside is a BBC educational children’s television series that ran from 23 September 1993 to 18 March 1997 and continues to be repeated on CBeebies. Starring Lynda Baron this episode follows Auntie Mabel and Pippin as they discover how bread is made, from harvesting wheat in the field to baking bread in the oven.



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Programme Outline

The programme begins in the classroom with the children seated on the story mat or in a similar area. The teacher/actor will arrive and introduce themselves to the children and explain that they like to cook and tell stories.

The children feel grains of corn and help grind them into flour; they help measure out water and mix it into the ground flour to make dough.  The dough is then put into a bread maker and as it starts to cook the story begins.

The children play with some pecking hen toys before they meet a glove puppet of the Little Red Hen that, inspired by the smell of baking bread has a big idea and leads them off to the school hall for the rest of the story.

At the hall we meet a push along puppet of the Little Red Hen who leads our journey, pecking, clucking and flapping around the farm yard.  She realises the enormity of the challenge she has set herself when she sees just how much corn there is to collect and she asks a woodpecker for help. He refuses and we hear how the little red hen feels about that. Having decided to carry on she collects the grains of corn in the farmyard and the children count as she puts them in her basket.  The children use their hands to imitate the pecking up of the corn and putting it into the basket.

We move on to the second part of the story as the Little Red Hen leads us on a journey until she comes to a river that she will need help to cross; however when she asks the two ducks that come along they are too busy quacking.  We hear how the Little Red Hen feels before she notices some stepping stones, the children hold up hands to be the stepping stones and she hops across.

Picture of the glove puppet used in the Litlte Red Hen programme

The third part of the story brings us to the barn where we see three cats playing and the children join in their play. When the cats refuse to help the Little Red Hen plant the corn we hear how she feels as she resolves to plant the grains of corn all by herself.  The children mime planting seeds (if you would to incorporate a break into the programme we can take it here while we wait for them to grow).

The Little Red Hen leads them to the fourth part of the story that takes place in the field. We meet four dancing cows and join them for a moment in their dance but when the Little Red Hen asks for help to harvest the corn the cows are too busy, leaving her to tell us how she feels and pick the corn all by herself.  The children mime grains of corn growing and as they ripen in the sun we discuss how each single grain has produced more grains before harvesting them.

The Little Red Hen takes us to the fifth part of the story at the mill where we meet five mice who scamper around the wheels of the mill as it is activated by children. When the mice are asked to help they refuse and the Little Red Hen is left to grind the corn into flour herself.  She takes the flour to the oven and mixes it with water and puts the dough in to cook. While we are waiting, we recap the story recalling who we met, where and what the Little Red Hen did.

When the bread is ready and it is taken out, the Little Red Hen celebrates the success of her hard work and can’t wait to get home and eat it. As she journeys back past all the animals they ask to share her bread. Before she can decide what to do we remember the bread we have left cooking that is nearly ready. We return to the classroom and there is just enough time to speculate on what the little red hen should do. She tells us her decision. We count down and open our bread maker and take out our beautiful looking and delicious smelling fresh loaf, but it is too hot to eat so it will be left with the teacher to share out later as a reward for helping to tell the story.


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Aim & Outcomes

Aim of the programme

Little Red Hen aims to give children the opportunity to practise and develop key numeracy skills alongside taking an active part in an exciting and challenging drama.

Programme outcomes

Little Red Hen will provide opportunities for children to:

  • Participate actively in a quality artistic experience involving drama, storytelling and puppetry
  • Practise skills and understanding around numeracy
  • Engage with the issues of sharing and responsibility
  • Understand the process of transformation involved in the making of bread and growing of seeds.


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