The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything: Language Building Activities


My ALL TIME most FAVORITE fall book is (Affiliate link->) The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. As a speech pathologist, I use this book with my preschool students up through about first or second grade to work on listening, answering “wh” questions, sequencing, etc. As a parent, I actually started reading it to my daughter right before she turned two (since her birthday is the end of November), but I modified the story line (I simplified it to keep her attention).

This book is about an old lady who goes into the woods for a walk, and on her way home meets several spooky things that try to scare her. Because she is, after all, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, she continues on, telling them all she is NOT afraid, even as the different things follow her all the way home.

My favorite part of this book is the fact that each item she comes across (boots, shirt, pants, hat, gloves, and pumpkin head) each make their own “sound” which I also pair with body movements. Little ones LOVE THIS! And I am a huge advocate for employing ALL the senses whenever possible, in my lessons (and while playing with my daughter).

Reading Tips

(check out my general reading tips HERE)

  • Read the book yourself before reading it to your child to get a sense of the characters and tone of the story.
  • Read the book with ENTHUSIASM! If you act interested, your child will be too.
  • Start our reading the book nice and slow
  • Give each item the Old Woman comes across its own “voice.”  (see below)
  • Give each item the Old Woman comes across its own body movement (see below)
  • As the book goes on and the Old Woman begins to walk faster and faster, you can slowly speed up how fast you are reading. Usually after she meets the Pumpkin Head I start reading very quickly until she gets home!

Tips on Movements and Voices

When I read this book, I do so using silly voices and movements. Here’s how I generally read each part:

Shoes: The shoes go clomp clomp. When I say the clomp clomp, I lower my voice and elongate the words, like “clooooomp, cloooooomp”. At the same time, I stomp my own feet and encourage the child(ren) to do the same.

Pants: The pants go wiggle wiggle. When I say the wiggle wiggle, I speak in a slightly higher voice. At the same time, wiggle my whole body.

Shirt: The shirt goes shake shake. When I say the shake shake I say it quickly. At the same time I shake out my arms (like shaking out clothes from the dryer).

Gloves: The gloves go clap clap. When I say clap clap I kind of sound like a duck (I don’t know why I picked that voice! HA!). At the same time I clap my hands.

Hat: The hat goes nod nod. When I say nod nod I use another deeper voice. At the same time I….wait for it….wait for it…..Nod. My. Head! I know, I know….didn’t expect that one, did ya? 😉

Pumpkin Head: The head says boo boo. When I say the boo boo I usually say it louder, and short. Rather than a body movement, I make a surprised face, like I am a little scared.


There are SO many different things you can do with this story. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • Retelling the story (book): After reading the story a few times, see if your child can “read” the book to you, retelling the story.
  • Retelling the book (“felt board”): You can print out images for this story at Making Learning Fun dot com and have your child retell the story with the images. (These can also be printed onto felt to be used on a felt board, but you can just use the paper images the same way).
  • Act out the story: Have your child act out the story. Pretend to be the Little Old Lady (your child can even dress up as the little old lady!) and go for a “walk” in the woods. You can use real clothes and a pumpkin, or just pretend!
  • Make a “real” scarecrow: If you have extra clothing items around (or find the items at your local good will), use newspaper, magazines, and/or hay to stuff the shirt and pants and attach the  gloves with pins and use a pumpkin as a head. It would be a GREAT decoration for your front porch this Fall!
  • Make a paper scarecrow: You can print out and have your child color and glue a paper scarecrow (see picture above) out from Making Learning Fun Dot Com. Added resource since I originally published this post, check out the adorable LARGE printables at ToddlerApproved! LOVE THEM!!!
  • You can sing this cute song I found at Kinder Korner Dot Com:

Scarecrow, Scarecrow
How scary can you be?
You scared (insert name)
But you didn’t scare me!

Lesson Plans

If you are an SLP or an educator, here are a couple links to lesson plans based on this book that you may want to reference in creating your own lesson plans:
Nancy Polette’s Lesson Plan
Modesto City Schools Library Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan Page Dot Com
Hanover County Public Schools Kindergarten Lesson Plans

You can pick up your own copy of (Affiliate links->) The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything on Amazon

Have FUN!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.  
About Katie

Katie is a licensed, credentialed and certified pediatric speech-language pathologist and mom to three (5, 3 and 9 months). Her passion about educating, inspiring and empowering parents of children with all abilities led her to start her blog Playing With Words 365 where she shares information about speech and language development, therapy ideas and tips, intervention strategies and a little about her family life too. Katie has been working in the field of speech pathology for 9 years and is certified in The Hanen Centre’s It Takes Two to Talk ® and Target Word ® programs and holds a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). In addition to blogging and being a mommy, Katie works part time in her small private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I too love using books in therapy. This is one of my favorites and I do similar activities. I use it every year and just put the cover and “characters” outside my door along with other Halloween activities. I also read “The Spider and the Fly”-so many things you can do with that, and “Pumpkin, Pumpkin”. Do you have Mailbox Magazine at your school? It’s a wonderful resource for book activities and teaching other language skills.
    I’m enjoying your site

    • Hi Robin! I’m loving your ideas, thanks SO much for posting them! No, I have not heard of Mailbox Magazine! I’ll have to check that out. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I am so glad you are enjoying my site. :)

  2. This (The little old lady….) is my favorite book of all time, I think.
    I look forward to October for this book.
    Did you know-there is a song to go with the book.
    It’s by Mar Harmon. Music with Mar is the CD title.

  3. oops-I think the CD is “wide mouth bullfrog” (also a great song/book)
    but if you google Music with Mar-you get her website–and right now she has a video of her and some kids performing the litle old lady song.
    I’ve had her cd for ages-never knew she had a website-and workshops :)

    • Lisa I did not know about the song! I am so excited to go check it out! I love hearing new ideas. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  4. Wow! What an informative and helpful post for parents and teachers! Thanks so much for linking it up to our 5-a-Day Books challenge!


  1. […] Jake enjoyed this book and he especially got a kick out of the following props I used to make the story come to life: shoes, pants, shirt, gloves, hat, and a trick-or-treat jack-o-lantern. I also loved the story telling ideas and activities that Playing with Words 365 posted here. […]

  2. […] Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything” also inspired Playing with Words 365 to create a collection of speech and language activities. So many amazing ways to play with “5 Little Pumpkins” can be found over at Playing […]

  3. […] Playing With Words 365 has an awesome post about how she reads the book to her students. She also shares some cute extension activities and fun preschool aged songs you can sing after reading the story! […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge