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Make Way For Ducklings Lesson Plan

Make Way for Ducklings was the winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1942.

Book based lesson ideas based on the Caldecott Medal winning book "Make Way For Ducklings".

Make Way for Ducklings is about two ducks (Mr. and Mrs. Mallard) raising their family of 8 ducklings in the busy city of Boston.  The parents have some challenges keeping their young safe but they do get some help from a friendly police officer.

It’s not by accident that Make Way for Ducklings has been loved by generation after generation and still remains a favourite childrens book of both parents and kids alike.  I have read it to my daughter countless times and I’m sure we will enjoy it many more times to come.

This picture book will have your kids attention from the first page.  The illustrations take up a large space on each page and tell a story all on their own.  The pictures are not in colour but in various shades of brown.  That does not diminish from their appeal, however, as they are detailed sketches with lots to look at.  I can foresee my daughter enjoying this book when she’s older as well by putting colour to each page.  It would be a fun art project and one I will save for when she’s a more advanced colorer.


One thing I enjoy about this book is that it presents numerous learning opportunities.  It would lead nicely to learning all about ducks, math, geography, english and moral or safety lessons.

DUCKS: moulting in ducks; predators; what ducks eat; yearly life cycle of a duck, and more.  I previously put together free printables with a unit study on ducks which is great for both preschoolers and elementary school aged children.   The variety of activities would be a great complement to this book.

MATH: My daughter likes to count all the ducklings on each page.  There are 8 ducklings, and 2 parents, a total of 10 ducks.  When the ducklings are with just their mother there are 9 (8+1) ducks.  Number bonds of 8 could also be practiced while reading the story.  On each 2 page spread, some ducklings could be on one page while others are on the other.  Or perhaps there are 4 ducklings on the mother ducks right side, and 4 ducklings on her left.  Or 7 on the island, and 1 on a rock.  No matter how they can be grouped, there are a lot of opportunities to practice number bonds of 8.

ENGLISH: There are a lot of -ck words which when pointed out can incorporate phonetics and rhyming.

GEOGRAPHY: The story takes place in Boston, where today statues of Mrs. Mallard and her 8 ducklings are a popular attraction for children.  Using google earth, you can bring the illustrations to life and follow the families trek through Boston and virtually visit the famous landmarks.

MORAL & SAFETY LESSONS: The importance of listening to parents, having good manners, and some of the dangers of a big city can be discussed.

Leah Courtney

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

I love Make Way For Ducklings. It's one of my favorite read alouds for little people. :-)


Monday 8th of June 2015

This book is one of our faves! I love it how you used it for so many learning opportunities!

Simply Rachel

Thursday 4th of June 2015

What a cool unit study! Thanks for sharing the book and ideas! And thank you for linking up to 'Favorite Things Friday' with Simply Rachel & Hip Homeschooling.

Rebecca from Hip Homeschooling

Sunday 31st of May 2015

I hadn't heard of this book before! It looks super cute! Thanks for sharing and linking up at Favorite things Friday!


Friday 29th of May 2015

I'm excited to use these ideas with my kids! My daughter is going into 1st grade and one of the books we will be reading/studying is "Make Way for Ducklings!" This will be so helpful! Thanks! Bethany