Toward a Better World

Kindness to Animals

Ideal for Preschool/Pre-K, School-Age

A stuffed animal teddy bear sits on mossy ground with trees in the background. The bear is holding a green leafy branch

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to develop increasing care for self, others, and the environment.

Materials Needed:

  • Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jiang and Julie Downing*
  • Note*: Lotus and Feather is a lovely story, but its depiction of an injured crane may frighten some young children. View the recording prior to showing it to your child.

Participants: This activity is intended for independent play and adult/child interaction.


  1. Step 1: Read the story “Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jiang and Julie Downing, or watch actress Michelle Yeoh’s recording on Storyline Online linked above.
  2. Step 2: Talk with your child about the story. Ask open-ended questions that spark deeper thinking, such as, “Why do you think the hunter tried to hurt the crane?” or “What would you do if you were Lotus?”
  3. Step 3: Think about the natural areas and animals where you live, including in your own backyard. What can you do to help them? Maybe you plant a butterfly bush for butterflies or limit your use of yard chemicals to keep bees and other pollinators healthy. Make a list of ideas with your child and choose one to implement.

Learn More: This story offers many opportunities to extend learning:

  • Combine ¼ cup of rice with milk, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Heat to make rice soup.
  • Make paper boats and float them. Explore things that sink and things that float.
  • Cover the end of a cardboard tube with wax paper. Punch holes in the tube to make a whistle.
  • Learn about wetlands.

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