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Learning with the Tortoise and the Hare

Updated on September 14, 2014

The Fable

When we were doing a homeschool olympics I was in charge of the preschoolers! I wrote the poem about the tortoise and the hare and told it with puppets in a bit of a circle time pep talk before they began the event. We talked about the importance of sportsmanship, doing your best and just keep going.

A Tortoise, a Hare, a race and a great lesson. See how you can use this famous tale to teach about sportsmanship, safety and more!

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There are many different versions of the fable from Aesop. Pick one up to read the entire story.

The Poem - by Sandra Wilson

The Hare told all the animals

How fast that he could run

"When I put on full speed

I can't be beaten by anyone"

"I challenge anybody to a race

To try to beat me"

"I will accept your challenge"

The Tortoise said quietly.

"But you are so slow" the Hare laughed

"You can't keep pace"

"Save your boasting until the end"

Said the Tortoise, "let's race"

The Hare took off and was out of sight

Just after the word go

The Tortoise followed far behind

Running along steady and slow.

The Hare, far in the lead

Decided to take a rest

A nap would help him pass the time

And then run at his best.

As the Hare rested the Tortoise kept

His slow and steady pace

To keep on running and not give up

Would help him finish the race.

The Tortoise passed the sleeping Hare

Who woke up just in time

To see the Tortoise win the race

As he plodded across the finish line.

More great resources

Use puppets to help read this poem!

Make a Map!

After reading the story, you can have the children draw a map of the race. Mark on important spots like the starting line, the finish line, and where the hare stopped to rest.

Depending on the child's age, you can create simple maps with a small legend or get more detailed with a compass rose.

A Safety Song

Look left, look right before you cross the street

Look left again, before you move your feet

You all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare

The tortoise took his time but he got there!

this is a song we used to teach street safety - not only does it stress looking both ways before crossing, but thanks to the tortoise and the hare it encourages children not to rush across the street.

Good Sportsmanship

The Hare was boastful and not encouraging to the Tortoise. These are not traits of good sportsmanship. And, in the end, these traits did not serve the Tortoise well. It is important that children learn that it is not winning that counts, it is participating, having fun and interacting with their team. Encouragement to children for just playing whether they win or lose sends this important message to them.

Stories of Sportsmanship

Find other stories or scenarios with examples of good and bad sportsmanship. Have a child decide which behaviours are appropriate and which are not!

Crafts to make the story more fun!

Turtle and rabbit crafts can accompany the story, and also be used to learn further concepts.

A tortoise has an interesting pattern on its shell. You can make a craft using shapes and patterns, and even textures to fill in the tortoise's shell. You could also cut pictures in an octagon shape to put on the shell as a collage (perhaps a collage of examples of good sportsmanship).

A rabbit picture can also be made using different textures. Us felt for the ears and body, cotton for the tail, a silky material for the nose - find different materials and then see what the children can come up with!

Help the Turtle win the Race!

The Moral of the Story

slow and steady wins the race

Good morals with another turtle!

Franklin the Turtle is another character that teaches good morals and behaviours. Whatever the lesson, it is taught calmly, respectfully and realistically. The stories incorporate the ideas of friends and family whether good or bad, and always end positively.

About the author

I am an experienced home educator with a passion for writing. Joining together these two passions I create interesting unit studies for my children, and now for yours!

I am owner and operator of the Wilson Education Resource Centre where learning is fun!

Comments on my page? - Thanks for reading!

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    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      A very creative way to use this story!

    • traveller27 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens - blessed by a travelling angel.


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