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To show that we share our neighbourhood with wildlife and that by dropping litter we can harm birds and animals.

by The Revd Iain Macfarlane

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To show that we share our neighbourhood with wildlife and that by dropping litter we can harm birds and animals.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an animal puppet, a bandage (on the puppet's paw), a large colourful box, a classroom litter bin, a crisp packet with one crisp inside, a drinks can, and some sweet wrappers.
  • Note: As this assembly uses a puppet you will need to develop the technique of 'listening' as the puppet 'whispers' to you, then repeating what you have 'heard' for everyone else.


  1. Announce that today we are going to think about sharing, and to show how important you think it is to share, you're going to offer someone your last crisp.
  2. After giving the crisp to someone and saying how good you feel about sharing, nonchalantly drop the packet on the floor and quickly go on to mention that you have a friend with you, who has a story to tell about sharing.

  3. As you go to fetch the puppet, hidden in a box under the table, pretend to finish a drink, then drop the can on the floor. Then casually put your hand in your pocket, find some sweet wrappers and drop them on the floor, all the time with your attention fixed on your friend under the table.

  4. From the box bring out the animal puppet with a bandage on its paw. Introduce him/her to the audience giving him/her a name, such as 'Lightning'. Then notice that the puppet has a hurt paw.

  5. The animal whispers in your ear the story of how it got hurt, while you show great interest and ask questions. Tell the children the story, about how a little girl dropped a drink can outside the animal's home, and how she/he stepped on it and got a cut paw.

    You'd think that little girl was the only person who lived here! But she isn't, because you live here too, don't you, Lightning?

  6. Repeat this with the story of Lightning's friend Herbert the hedgehog. While walking along ______ (name of the street outside the school) he found an empty crisp packet dropped by a boy. He liked the smell so much that he crawled inside. But he got trapped by his prickles and would have died if he hadn't been rescued (this is based on a true story).

    You'd think that boy was the only person who lived here! But he isn't, because Herbert lives here too, doesn't he?

  7. Repeat the story with, say, a badger who liked the smell of a dropped sweet wrapper so much that she ate it and nearly choked on it. You'd think … etc.

  8. After this the puppet notices the litter on the floor and gets very upset. Who was the selfish idiot who thought he/she was the only person who lived here? Ask the children if they know. Sheepishly you confess, and put the rubbish in the litter bin. As you are about to throw the can away, again the puppet becomes animated, and tells you to take it home for recycling.

  9. You've learned something: we share our neighbourhood with lots of animals, many of which we never see. And we need to think of them as well as ourselves.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you for all the animals and birds
who live with us in our gardens and our streets.
Please help us to think of them,
and throw our litter away in the bin -
not on the streets.


'Who put the colours in the rainbow?' (Come and Praise, 12)

Publication date: April 2002   (Vol.4 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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