Who’s Hiding?

In this lesson, children will analyze illustrations in the book, “Who’s Hiding?” to determine which animal is hiding. The children will use the partial data in a guessing/thinking format to figure out which animal is hiding.

Content Area:

Beginning Skills and Processes

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand that living things grow and change
  • Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Drawing meaning from experience and information by describing, talking and thinking about what happened during an investigation
  • Generating explanations and communicating ideas and/or conclusions about their investigations
  • Observing, investigating, describing and categorizing living things
toddler in garden

Who’s Hiding?

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • The book, Who’s Hiding, by Satoru Onishi
  • Learning Resources Jungle Animals  Or other plastic/wooden jungle animals
  • Plastic tub (make sure the children cannot see through the tub)

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Pre-read the book to familiarize yourself with the animals in the story so that you will know what questions to ask the children.
  2. Read the book to the children. Follow the prompts and ask: “Who’s hiding? Who’s crying?” When the children identify the missing animal or the animal that is crying, ask them how they came to that conclusionAsk: “What clues in the picture helped you come up with your answer?”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. After you have read the book, create some scenarios with the plastic animals and the tub. Show three or four different animals, then hide one or two in the cave (the plastic tub). Ask: “Which animals are hiding?” You can ask for the names of the animals that are hiding or you can ask: “How many animals are hiding?”
  2. Give the children clues about the type of animal, based on a specific attribute of the animal. Say: “This animal has four legs” or “This animal has stripes.”
  3. Encourage the children to make predictions about which animal is inside the cave.
  4. Ask the children to sort all of the animals by similar attributesAsk: “Which animals have stripes? Which animals swim?”


Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Identify: Establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is
  • Conclude: To make statements about what was learned after an observation or experiment
  • Classify: To arrange objects by rules or shared attributes or characteristics
  • Attribute: A feature of an object

Early Science Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Still be developing object permanence
Child care providers may:
  • Talk while removing the objects from the children’s sight. Say: “We have four jungle animals here: a lion, a monkey, a zebra and an elephant. Two of the animals—the zebra and the elephant—are going to hide in the cave. Which two animals are hiding in the cave? How many animals are hiding in the cave?”
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be thinking conceptually and intuitively as they develop their cognitive skills
Child care providers may:
  • Create a pattern using the animals: two monkeys, one tiger, two elephants. Show the children the animals all lined up in the pattern. Then “hide” the animals in their cave (put the plastic tub over the animals) and ask the children to recreate the pattern.

Suggested Books

  • Who’s Hiding by Satoru Onishi
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Eric Carle
  • What’s This? A Day at the Zoo by Aaron Adams

Music and Movement

  • Play Hide-n-Seek with objects around the room. Show the children an object, hide it somewhere in the room and let the children find it. This is a fun activity if you have several stuffed animals (in keeping with the jungle animal theme of this lesson). Hide several of the stuffed animals around the room and give each child an animal to find. If a child’s animal is a tiger and the child finds an elephant, he or she needs to leave the elephant where it is and keeping looking for the tiger.
  • Play games like Memory, Concentration, I Packed My Suitcase or I went on a Holiday.

Outdoor Connections

  • Play Hide-n-Seek: Use words like “hot” when the child is getting close to what he or she is seeking and “cold” when the seeker stays too far away from the target.

Web Resources

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