How To Teach Kids To Accept Others – An Elephant Story and Activity

elephant activity

As home daycare providers we teach children how to put on their shoes and how to use a spoon.  We also teach them to be proud of their unique qualities and how to accept each other’s differences.  It’s important to pause and teach a social skill in the moment when an opportunity arises (like sharing or saying ‘sorry’). It’s also helpful to take time to discuss life lessons when everyone is emotionally calm.

Children will be more open to listen and discuss feelings when they aren’t tied to a current personal experience.  If you want your group to be more accepting of each other, teach this lesson one morning when everyone is happy and getting along.  They will take in information as a seed that you can water later, once the concepts have time to germinate.

The lesson starts with the story of an elephant named Elmer.  He is a unique elephant who attempts to blend into the crowd one day.  He realizes it’s best to be himself and at the end of the book he lets his true colours shine through.


The children loved the story.  It is heartwarming and presents the moral of the story in a gentle humorous way.  The elephants decide to celebrate their unique qualities on a special day once a year.  This led us to learn about the Elephant Festival in India.  It’s a tradition of elaborately painting and decorating elephants and having a parade.


We watched a short youtube video to see the elephants with their painted designs and fancy blankets.  After reading the story the children had a chance to decorate some elephant colouring sheets.

IMG_5776-resizedSometimes children will share their thoughts and feelings a bit more if their hands are busy with a repetitive motion (like colouring).  Being creative and working with art supplies helps kids feel calm and safe.  This type of mind state is perfect for talking about emotions.


The children used the back of cookie sheets as their hard surface for colouring. We did this as an Art in the Park activity with a group of friends.  As the children coloured we talked about the book.  The kids shared their thoughts about Elmer and why they believed it was important to accept others (and yourself).


Felt rectangles worked perfectly as elephant blankets and sticky gems added lots of sparkle.


Some children were quiet and some had lots to say about the story.  Having vocabulary and a common event to refer back to will help me bring the children’s attention towards inclusion in the months to come. I can say, “Remember Elmer the Elephant? Our friend’s (insert unique characteristic) makes them special.”


The children had a chance to listen to the song, “True Colours” as they finished up their art projects.


Here are a few of the finished elephants.



Once the children had finished their art, one of the mothers brought out washable body crayons.  My group was delighted to pretend to be elephants and decorate their arms and legs.



May your children always let their true colours shine through!


  1. What a wonderful lesson! Thank you for sharing.