Picture Book Play – Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter- 5 Peter Rabbit play and craft preschool activities #preschoolactivities #picturebookplay #rabbitplayideas #peterrabbitideas

As I write this post, it is almost Beatrix Potter’s birthday (28th July). She is one of the most beloved children’s authors and illustrators of all time. I may have even visited her hometown (even more beautiful in real life – trust me.) Peter Rabbit is perhaps her most well known picture book. To celebrate, I am sharing 4 Peter Rabbit inspired preschool activities. Please note her stories are best suited for 4+ (see disclaimer below).

A quick disclaimer if you have never read any of her stories:

Beatrix Potter’s stories deal with events such as Peter’s father being put in a pie, kittens smacked for misbehaviour, and owls ripping off squirrel tails …

So please proceed with caution and common sense based on the age of your child. You know your child best and if these kind of situations would upset them (or make you uncomfortable) – maybe skip Potter books till they are old enough to understand the culture and time in which they were written.

4 Peter Rabbit Inspired Preschool Activities:

1. Explain the vocab

Potter wrote her stories in the early 1900’s, so the language she uses is sometimes very outdated. However, it is a rich learning opportunity. For example, in The Tale of Tom Kitten, the words, pinafore, tuckers, and frocks are used to describe clothing. In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the words are easier to understand but are still wonderfully rich with meaning such as:

  • sandbank
  • fir-tree
  • mischief
  • currant buns
  • dreadfully frightened
  • gooseberry net
  • brass buttons
  • implored
  • sieve

Just to mention a few. Children will better understand and connect with stories if they understand the words within that story. I suggest you explain 1-2 words before reading such as “mischief” and the others you can explain as you go.

For example, when reading pg 15, you will read the words: It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.

As you read it you can add something like: “brass is a type of metal. So he had a blue jacket with little orangery red metal buttons.”

After reading, you may even like to have pictures or modern day terms printed and guide your child to match the words from the book with the pictures.

2. Watercolour Paintings

The illustrations are just as loved and well known as the stories themselves. They feature beautiful watercolour images of the characters and nature. A great picture book play idea is to create artwork using the same style as the illustrations. Have your child choose a character or a page from the book to paint. You might like to lightly draw an outline for them in pencil depending on their age and ability.

Peter Rabbit inspired preschool activity - paint book characters using the same style as illustrations. www.suzannahfernandes.com
Above: My 4yr olds version of Peter Rabbit using watercolours.

3. Sound Sorts

Another activity that can be adapted for any picture book is a sound sort. Choose 2 or 3 sounds that are featured in the book. In this case I went with /p/ and /r/ for the main characters name (Peter Rabbit).

Collect objects or images that start with those sounds. You will also need flashcards of those letters (or write onto a scrap of paper). Have your child name each object first, then decide what the initial sound is in each word before placing under the letter. If they are struggling to hear the initial sound, repeat the word and stress the first sound. E.g “r-abbit”

peter rabbit activities - sound sorts using common sounds. www.suzannahfernandes.com

4. Small Worlds

Small worlds are amazing – for some. I’ve observed that my boys (at the moment), are not into small worlds. So the time taken to plan and set one up, is not worth the time they spend engaging with it. However, if you think your children would enjoy a small world version Mr McGregor’s garden, go here and here for ideas.


If you are ever after picture book play inspiration follow along on Pinterest. And if you have any Peter Rabbit inspired preschool activities, I’d love to hear about them below 🙂


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Till next time,

Stay joyful 🙂

Suzannah

Fun play based ideas for Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter). Great hands on preschool activities. #peterrabbit #handsonlearning #preschoolactivityideas #homelearningideas #bookbasedlessons

Other blogs you may be interested in:

*What is Creative Writing (& tips for encouraging your young storyteller)

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