There Was an old Lady Who Swallowed a…BAT!

I’m sure you remember the book from your childhood, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly? You know, that fat old lady that was ingesting cows and horses and flies? Well the chick just can’t get enough because that story has sparked the creation of several like books…and in this one she prefers her meals with a side of Goblin. Yes, that old lady is up to her shenanigans again (by the way, I didn’t realize “shenanigans” was actually a real wordĀ  until I typed it out and good old Firefox underlined it and corrected my spelling. That is all kinds of awesome.)

This story is SUCH a hit in the preschool aged crowd. Just like with The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything I started reading this book to my own daughter just before she turned two, but I simplified the story a bit to hold her attention. Generally speaking this is a great book for about age 3-6ish.

Make sure to read my tips on reading to your young child HERE. Since this book does not have dialogue between characters, no need to make up any silly voices šŸ˜‰ Just read it with enthusiasm and I think your kiddos will LOVE it!

Make Your Own Old Lady

My FAVORITE activity to go along with this is to make your OWN Old Lady and fill her tummy up with these silly Halloween things! You can print our your very own Old Lady at HERE and you can download the pictures that go to this story at HERE.

I would read the story at least once, and then you can read it again and as you read, have your child find the picture of the creature the old lady swallows and have her glue it in her tummy. Before you do this, I recommend cutting out everything and then talking about all the creatures. Some things you can talk about: The colors of the creatures,Ā  which ones fly, which ones walk, which ones have wings, how many legs they have, are they real or make believe, where would you find them, which ones start with the “b” sound or the “c” sound, etc.

For SLPs: I use this book EVERY YEAR in October. I generally read the story and then do activities based on the individual needs of the students (categories, attributes, following and giving directions, colors, vocabulary building, syntax, etc). For my artic kids, its just a fun reinforcing activity :) I also have my own “Old Lady” that is laminated and I have the items she eats for many different stories laminated as well. This is great to use in small groups when you don’t have the time/resources to have each child make their own.

Make a Mini Book

My second favorite activity to do with this book is have the children make up their own story. What can the Old Lady swallow now? Have your child think up different Halloween things that the Old Lady will swallow and make a book about it. Here is how I do it…and I have a freebie for you!!

  • Print out the Old Lady template I mentioned above at Kizone HERE
  • Either print it out directly on card stock , or glue her onto card stock
  • Print out my book cover and page templates, along with directions HERE
  • Cut out the cover and pages (between 6 and 8 ) and attach to the old lady’s tummy with a stapler as a book (I usually do 2 staples on the left side).
  • Have your child think of 6-8 things that the old lady can swallow. I usually stick to things with the Halloween theme…but it s up to you!
  • Either have your child draw pictures of the items he thinks of, or cut out pictures of the items and place them in the book (If you are targeting specific vocabulary, you may want to list the words or find pictures of the items ahead of time.)
  • Make sure to write in the names of the items on the lines provided…and there you go! A book you can read over and over with your child!

Other Resources

The site I mentioned and linked earlier, has some GREAT ideas to go with this story. Check it out!

Do you have activities to go along with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! ?

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 Centreā€™s It Takes Two to Talk Ā® and Target Word Ā® 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. Michelle Downs says:

    These are great Katie!!

  2. This is a great website and blog. Thank you for sharing some great ideas.

  3. I just ran across your site on speakingofspeech and I just wanted to say that it is terrific!! Thank you for the great ideas! I’m sure I’ll be using it alot in the future!

    • Hi Casey! So glad you are liking it. Please share my site with anyone you think would benefit from it (SLPs, parents, educators). :)

  4. John Richards says:


    Looking for some materials to use with my K 2 reading level students.


  5. Barbara Schloss says:

    Hi Katie,

    I love this book (“There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat”) but can’t find the animal templates anywhere. Any ideas of where I can find them?

    Thank you so much!!!!


  1. […] #10 I discoveredĀ Ā Teaching Heart my first year out of grad school when I was planning activities to go with the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat. Another teacher-run site, it is FULL of amazing learning activities that can be adapted for speech therapy sessions. I blogged about how I have used Teaching Heart’s materials HERE. […]

  2. […] we’ll be reading – this Halloween edition keeps them giggling all day. You can even make your own old lady, and feet her bats, cats, owls and […]

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