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Read and explore Elmer

Elmer the elephant

Elmer tells the story of a cheerful, patchwork elephant who loves practical jokes. Read or watch the story with your child and try the activities below. They will help your child to become more confident and understand that it is ok to be different.

Watch the story

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  • As you are reading or listening to the story together, encourage your child to talk about what they can see in the pictures.
  • Chat about what has happened so far and what might happen next.
  • At the end of the book, look carefully at the different patterns on the elephants. Pick one and describe it. Ask your child to work out which elephant you are talking about. For slightly older children, ask them to describe an elephant themselves.

Elephant play!

After you have finished the story, try these elephant-themed activities together.

  • Move like an elephant. See if you can move around outside like an elephant. Use your arm to be a long trunk and take slow, heavy steps.
  • Balancing elephants. Sing the Five Grey Elephants Balancing rhyme and pretend to be an elephant balancing on a piece of string. Find a line to walk along and follow it step by step. You can put your arms out to the side to help you to balance.
  • Elephant collage. Draw an outline of an elephant. Help your child to use different materials to create a collage. You could use tissue paper, pieces of material, pictures from a magazine or felt tips to colour small squares.
  • Elephant milk bottle. Use an empty milk bottle to create an elephant model. Follow this link for more details and lots of other ideas in this Elmer Day activity pack.
  • Songs and rhymes. Sing these rhymes about elephants and other jungle animals like Five Grey Elephants Balancing, The Animal Fair and Down in the Jungle.

For older children

  • Chat about how Elmer was feeling at different times in the story, for example when he decided to paint himself grey and at the end of the story when the elephants decided to celebrate Elmer Day.
  • Talk about Elmer Day and how the elephants celebrate being different, special and unique. Ask your child what they could celebrate about themselves on Elmer Day.