The Kissing Hand



Audrey Penn


Information on this page intended for classroom use only; not for publication. 2001


There are many students who have anxieties about attending school, not just preschool and kindergarten children.  I think this book, accompanied by the appropriate activities, could be successfully used with 1st and 2nd graders as well as preschool and kindergarten.

Since I first put this page online in 2001, Audrey has added several sequels to The Kissing Hand.  And like The Kissing Hand, they also have the most glorious illustrations.  I love reading them to the class just so I can look at the pictures! :)  So you must also get these books to read to your students:

A Pocket Full of Kisses



A Kiss Goodbye


and coming out in August of 2008 will be ..

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully


Below is an email that I recently received from Audrey's publishing company about some of their products:



I am with Tanglewood, the publisher for The Kissing Hand. Thanks so 
much for assembling all these teaching tools for The Kissing Hand. 
It's wonderful to see all the ways that the book is used. I just 
wanted to make you aware of several things: there are Chester Raccoon 
puppets (with a kiss in his palm) available from our website: A big book edition (and it's big) is also 
available there.  The Kissing Hand is also now available on CD, 
available from stores everywhere, and it includes a song written by 
Audrey and her son.

A new Chester book is coming out next fall -- details on our website. 
It will deal with bullies. Audrey had so many kids tell her that 
bullies were a real worry for them, so she came up with a really 
wonderful book and strategy for dealing with them (it's very 
positive). Something to keep in mind!

Peggy Tierney


The Kissing Hand


Please Do Not Copy And Paste ANY Text or Graphics From This Page Onto Other Websites.

You may however, provide a link to this page. 

If copying or printing directly from this page for your own school use, please indicate the source.  Thanks!

© 2001

Reproducible Pages: Teacher’s Helper Sept/Oct 1999

First Day of School: There have been MANY ideas posted on the Internet about teachers that will use this book on the first day of school … especially Kindergarten teachers.  Some teachers will read the book to the parents and/or students prior to the first day of school so that when the first day comes, the students are already familiar with the story and can pick right up with activities that have been coordinated with the book.  Other teachers will read it on the first day, then begin their activities.  However you decide to do it, there’s definitely a variety of ways and activities to choose from.  Here are some ideas that you might choose to use, or that will cause you to think of something on your own. 

If you choose to read the book to the parents only, prior to school, then as they tell their child goodbye they can tell the story to their child and act the mom’s part of the story without actually telling the child about the book.  Then when the teacher reads the book to the students on the first day of school, they’ll be amazed that their mom/dad had just said/done the same thing.  You could even go so far as to give the parents a heart-shaped sticker to give to the child as they were saying goodbye.  Then when you read the story to the students, you can give them a heart-shaped sticker to give to their parents when they get home.

If you choose to read the book to both parents/students prior to school, then you can give both a heart-shaped sticker and they can exchange hearts when saying goodbye on the first day of school. 

For those teachers who choose to wait and read the book on the first day of school and send something home to the parents, there are many activities that can be done.  Most center around a hand and a heart, but there are lots of variations.

So, here we go ……

Photocopy a picture of Chester and his mom from the book and put on a piece of paper folded in half horizontally, but the picture runs vertically (like the pages of a book).  Write the title of the book and the author on this page as well.  Inside the “booklet”, write “Today was my first day of school in ____ (gr).  I felt _________.  We read the book, The Kissing Hand.  Ask me to tell you about it.”  Have the child write their name (as best they can).  The date should be pre-printed as well as the other text on the page.

Another idea would be to provide your students with a pre-cut hand from the Ellison machine and have them add a heart sticker or stamp to the palm.  This could be added to a page saying “Ask me about the story The Kissing Hand” or to a large heart with “The Kissing Hand” printed on it.

You could also send home a Story Bag with a summary of the story, a chocolate Kiss, a pre-cut hand, a heart sticker, and maybe a raccoon coloring sheet.  Be sure to check out the Kissing Hand Links for plenty of raccoon coloring sheets.  Model for the students how to use the story props to retell the story.

Bulletin Board: Have each student color and cut out a large heart.  Help them to trace around one of their hands.  Glue the hand to the middle of the heart, but do not glue down the middle and ring finger.  Pull those fingers down to the palm of the hand and glue them down with a drop of glue under each fingertip forming “I love you” in sign language.  Write ______’s Kissing Hand on the heart.  Display on the bulletin board.  These would be cute with Chester and mom raccoon from the book and the caption “The Kissing Hand”.  You could enlarge them to bulletin board size using an overhead projector.  If you enlarge them on white posterboard, color them with markers, and laminate, they’ll last a long time.  I even laminate the construction paper that I’m going to use to cut out my letters from BEFORE I cut them out with the Ellison machine.  Then I put them in an envelope or a ziploc bag labeled with what they spell out.  Keeps me from having to do it twice, or 3 times , or 4! :)

Another variation on the heart, would be to have your students paint or fingerpaint on a piece of white paper.  After it’s dry, you fold in half and cut out a heart shape from it.  Or, you could fold their piece of white paper in half, and have them put some dabs on paint on ONE side.  Then fold down the other side … squish to make a symmetrical design on the other side.  Let dry and cut out a heart shape.


Pocketchart Vocabulary: One pocketchart (or at least part of one) should be saved so that vocabulary words from the book can be placed there for use by the students.  This especially comes in handy for Journal writing.  Put the vocabulary words onto cards and add an appropriate picture to go with it.  Some vocabulary words for this book could be:  Chester, mom, raccoon, school, kiss, hand, toys, etc.  Let your students help you create the list of words that you use.  Victoria, at Kinder Korner, says that she uses one set of words with the picture, then one set of words without the picture.  If the student wants to take the word to their seat to copy for use in their writing, they have to take the one without the picture.  The one with the picture must stay in the pocketchart.  By making 2 sets, the students can also practice matching the cards without the picture to the words with the picture.  Great practice for letter/word discrimination.


Raccoon Song:
(tune: "Kookaberra")

Raccoon  sleeps in a hollow tree
While the sun shines on you and me.
Sleep, little raccoon,  (children hold puppets and pretend they are sleeping) 
Sleep, little raccoon,
Warm and cozily.

In the darkest part of night
Raccoon has the best eyesight.
Look, little raccoon,  (children have puppets peering around the room)
Look, little raccoon,                     
My, your eyes are bright.

Raccoon hardly makes a sound
When he prowls all around.  (children hold puppets and quietly creep around the room)
Hunt, little raccoon,                           
Hunt, little raccoon,
Find food on the ground.
~ Author Unknown


This special heart I give to you,
Because you love me …
And I love you.
The heart is you, the hand is me,
It shows we are
A family!

A piece of me I give to you,
This special heart because
I Love You!
The heart is you, the hand is me
It shows that we are
A family!
~ Author Unknown



Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star


It’s my first day of kindergarten (you could change to fit your needs)
And I’m thinking of you.
I made these precious handprints
So you’ll think of me, too.

It’s my first day of school
And “The Kissing Hand” is what we read.
It’s about a raccoon
Who did just as his parents said.

Like the raccoon’s first day at school
I was scared and a little shy.
But because of what you said
I was brave and I got by.

All through the year
I’ll make more things for you.
So as I change and as I learn
You can witness my growth, too!
~ Lauren

This would be cute with the poem printed in the middle of a page horizontally, and have the students stamp their handprint on each side using either one of the HUGE inkpads or tempra paint.  Add the date, and this will definitely be a collectable!  If you wanted to get real cutesy, you could add a thumbprint border.


Handprints Heart: Using a large inkpad or tempra paint, use overlapping handprints to form a heart.  This could be made on a sheet of paper with the following poem (which is pieces/parts of  the poem from above):

A piece of me I give to you,
This special heart because
“I love you.”

The heart is you, the hand is me,
It shows that we are
A family.


Predictable Pocketchart Activity: Write the following sentence frame on a sentence strip for each of your students:  This is _____’s hand.  You can fill their name in the blank using a different color marker, or you can leave a space so that a 3 x 5 index name card can be placed in the space.  (You might want to consider using the name cards if you have a large class, since only 10 sentence strips will fit into the average chart.)  Also, cut out one hand per student using the Ellison machine and program them with each student’s name.  To use the chart, practice reading daily with the students.  They will begin to recognize their classmates’ names and possibly begin to pick up some sight words.  As an independent activity, have them match the hands to the correct sentence strip.  Younger students will be able to identify the name in the sentence by the different color ink or the card.  The ‘s should be written in the same color ink as the rest of the sentence, or if you put the name on the card, the ‘s should be on the sentence strip and not on the name card. 

If you’re working with older students and want to introduce and practice possessives, then using name cards with ‘s would be appropriate.   

If you’re using name cards, an alternate activity could be to have students match just the name cards and the hands.  For younger students, this is a good activity to increase letter discrimination.


click to enlarge


Matching Alphabet Activity: Cut hearts and hands using the Ellison machine.  Program hearts with capital letters and hands with lowercase letters.  Laminate.  Students match capital to lowercase letters.


ABC Activity: Same format as above, but instead of a maze, make a pathway between the two pictures using 26 stones.  The students will write their ABCs on the stone pathway, starting at the end with Chester.


Class Book: This book would be the perfect follow-up activity for the predictable pocketchart activity above.  The book uses the same sentence frame on each page:  This is ____’s hand.  The student would fill in their name on their page, then their handprint would be placed at the top of the page.  You can use a large size inkpad or tempra paint to make the handprint.

An alternative sentence frame would be:  This is ______’s Kissing Hand.  Inside the palm of the handprint, the student would glue a mini-heart cut-out (of course done using the Ellison machine). :)

A front and back cover would be added and all pages would be laminated and bound into a class book.  Perfect for your Class Library or Reading Center.


Pocketchart Sequencing: Have students retell the story of The Kissing Hand.  Write their responses onto sentence strips.  (Teacher licensure may be needed to make the sentences brief enough to fit on the sentence strips and in 10 sentences or less. …. Remember, there’s only 10 rows on a pocketchart. :)  Copy pictures from the book to go along with the sentence strips.  Mount the pictures onto index cards and laminate.  After frequent rereading of the sentence strips, with the accompanying pictures, the students can sequence the pictures in the pocketchart, match the picture cards to the appropriate sentence strip, and/or sequence the sentence strips in the pocketchart to match the pictures.


Emergent Reader: Use photocopied pictures from the book to illustrate this emergent reader.
Pg 1 ~ This is Chester.  (picture of Chester)
Pg 2 ~ This is Chester’s mom.  OR  This is Chester and his mom.  (My book is of course at school and I can’t remember exactly what kind of pictures it has in it.)
Pg 3 ~ This is Chester’s toys.  (Or, if there’s not a picture of toys, I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of his sandbox. You could change the sentence to say:  This is Chester’s sandbox.)
Pg 4 ~ This is Chester’s hand.  (Raccoon paw.. you can copy and print the pattern from above and enlarge it on the copier.  Have the students color and add a red die-cut mini-heart to the palm.)
Pg 5 ~  This is Chester’s school.  (Picture of the school from the book)
Pg 6 ~ This is Chester at school.  “Mommy loves me. Mommy loves me.”  (Picture of Chester with his paw on his cheek.   Add mini-red heart cut-outs floating around his head.)


Extension Book: Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells.  Also a story about a raccoon and his adjustments to school.

Kissing Hand Math Activity: My TA and I made a counting activity to coordinate with the book.  I’m the creator, she’s the illustrator!  For this activity, she drew a raccoon paw for a pattern, then photocopied it and made a master sheet with 4 paws per page.  Then she copied them onto gray construction paper (5 copies for numbers 1 – 20) and I programmed them with the numbers.  Then we had them laminated, and she cut them out.  We also had pieces of red construction paper laminated, so that we could just use the Ellison machine and punch out all those little red hearts.  The students count out enough hearts to match the number in the paw.


Math Match Activity: This math matching activity I made using a graphics program.  I printed it onto cardstock, laminated and cut it out, and it was ready to go!  The students count the hearts on the card and match to the raccoon with the correct number.


Another Math Counting Activity: This activity I made with the same graphics program (Print Artist).  The students count out the hearts to match the card.


Math Matching Game: Cut out 20 hands using the Ellison machine.  Program 10 with the numbers 1 – 10.  Program the others using small heart-shaped stickers.  Place enough stickers in each hand to match the a number between 1 and 10.  Laminate.  Students count the stickers and match to the correct number.

Math Counting Activity: Cut out hearts using Ellison machine and program pre-cut hands with numbers.  Fold construction paper into quarters to make boxes.  Staple or glue hands into each corner.  Students count and glue hearts in each box to match the number.  The second picture is a different version for students with higher abilities.  You can also change the hands to pockets and use with A Pocketful of Kisses.


click to enlarge


Matching Counting Activity: Cut hearts and hands using the Ellison machine.  Program hearts with dots and hands with numbers.  The eraser of a new pencil and an ink pad make perfectly formed dots.  Laminate.  The students count the dots and match to the correct number.


Pocketchart Math: I LOVE to make activities for the pocketchart.  Using the pocketchart allows my students to get in some well needed skills practice while not doing paper/pencil type activities.  Using the pocketchart allows them the freedom of being able to change their answers/choices easily, and a chance to move about instead of sitting in a desk all day. 

If you have access to an Ellison machine, then you’ve got it made.  I’ve also been known to use a graphics program to create pocketchart activities.  Every theme/unit that I teach is just about going to have at least one pocketchart activity. 

To make a counting activity (1 – 10) you just need number cards 1 – 10 (3x5 index cards cut in half are the perfect size) and some heart and hand cutouts.  Laminate your construction paper before doing the cut-outs on the Ellison machine and it will save YOU from having to cut them out.  Put the number cards in the pocketchart, then have the students count out the correct number of cut-outs to match the number and place them in the row beside the number.  Or, you can put the cut-outs into the pocketchart, leaving room on the left hand side for them to put the correct number in.  They just have to count the cut-outs in that row, choose the correct number and place it in front of the

If you have a graphics program, you could make number cards with a raccoon on them, or make raccoon cards to be used beside the number.  Same thing with “lips”.  You could have a raccoon number card with 3 on it, then the student would have to put 3 “kiss” cards beside it.  OR, you could have strips of “kisses” instead of individual ones.  For this particular example, you’d have a 3 number card with a matching strip of 3 “lips”.  If you do use a graphics program, make sure you print all your stuff onto cardstock and laminate it.  That way it will hold up much better.

*Tip:  Place a number strip in the top row of your pocketchart for those students who have difficulty identifying their numbers.  I teach my students how to begin with 1 and count down to the number that they need.  Once they know what the number looks like, then they can find the one that they’re looking for.  Desktape number lines stuck onto a sentence strip works wonderful for this.  I put a number line on one side, an ABC line on the other side and laminate.  Then my students can use the ABC line as well for sequencing ABCs or doing alphabetical order.

Pocketchart Patterns:   Students can model a pattern that you’ve created, by reproducing it below the row where you have yours.  Use hand and heart cuts-outs for creating AB, AAB, or ABB patterns.

To have them extend the pattern, you might want to glue your pattern onto a sentence strip, leaving enough room on the row for them to extend the pattern using the cut-outs.

To have them create their own patterns, provide them with the cut-outs and let them create their own pattern.

If you use a graphics program so that you can include lips/kisses and raccoons, you can make the patterns even more complex.


Math Stamping Activity: Provide each student with a paper with a column of numbers going down the left hand side.  Make lines under each number to form rows.  The students will stamp out enough hands, hearts, or kisses beside the number to match the number.


Graphing Activity: Have each student choose a number (1, 2, 3, 4) and hold up that many fingers.  If they chose #1, give them a laminated card with a picture of a small raccoon on it (Chester).  You could even copy it from the book and use his actual picture.  If they chose #2, give them a card with a kiss (lips) on it.  If they chose #3, give them a card with a heart on it.  If they chose #4, give them a large raccoon (mom) or a picture of Chester’s mom.  After everyone has their card, graph the results.  You can either have a big graph drawn off on your board and use tape to stick the cards to it, or make a graph on the floor.  A reusable graphing grid can also be drawn onto a white vinyl shower curtain using a permanent marker.  Instead of writing “Chester, mom, heart, kiss” on it, you could write these on cards (or just use an extra picture card of each) and stick them on with tape.

Older students could create a bar graph in the place of the pictograph.  This could be done as a group, or the results could be written on the board and the student given an individual graph to create their own bar graph.


Kissing Hand Addition: Depending on the level of your students, you can create cards to be used in the pocketchart for addition activities. 

One level of cards can be made using graphics software showing pictures of sets to be added together.  For instance, cards with:

picture of one hand + one hand =

The answer card would be a picture of two hands.  The students match the correct addition problem to the correct answer.  Other cards for this same level could have:

2 hands + 1 hand =

3 hearts + 2 hearts =

2 kisses + 4 kisses =

3 raccoons + 4 raccoons =

The next level of cards could also use pictures, but the thinking is a little more abstract.  You still use pictures, but the cards would look like this instead:


picture of 1 hand + 1 hand = ______fingers

Answer card would have the answer 10 and would need to fit in the blank provided.

Other cards could have:

1 raccoon + 2 raccoons = ______ feet

2 hands + 1 hand = _____ fingers

The next level of cards would have the same type problems, only there would be words but no pictures.  The students would be responsible for drawing their own pictures to get their response.

An alternative to matching problem cards to answer cards, is to have only problem cards and have the students write their answers on their own index cards.  Or to provide them with Vis-a-Via pens and let them fill their answers in the blanks of laminated cards.  Or, you can create activity sheets for them to complete.  If doing this in a Center, you can put the activity sheet in a page protector, then supply each student with their own response sheet to put their answers on.  Or, you can pair the students up, or put them into small groups, and have them work cooperatively to come up with their answers.

Raccoon Facts: The raccoons of North America have a black mask across the eyes and a bushy tail.  They range in size from 22 to 44 pounds and usually measure about two feet long.  They prefer wooded areas near water, but can be found near cities.  They can swim and climb trees and usually hunt at night.  They eat frogs, fish, and plants.  The front feet look like hands and can be used to open containers when they are looking for food.

Night & Day



Kiss Good Night - Amy Hest

Night Creatures - Gallimard Jeunesse

One Night - Jackie Carter

Bedtime for Boots - Sara James

What Was That!  - Geda B. Mathews



Teacher's Helper K Sept/Oct 1997

Teacher's Helper K Feb/Mar 2001


Night and Day Pocketchart Activity: Some of your students might notice that when Chester does finally go to school that it’s nighttime.  If they don’t, you can point it out and begin a discussion of  “nocturnal” and the fact that some animals come out more/only at night.  This can lead into our Day/Night activities.  The students can use the pocketchart to help sort activities into Day/Night.  At the top of the pocketchart, have two cards; one with a sun and the word “Day” and the other with a moon and the word “Night”.  Then on other cards, have pictures of activities that take place in the day and night.  The students will sort the cards according to when they take place, putting the things that happen in the daytime under the word “Day”, and the things that happen at night under the word “Night”.    Your picture cards could have activities such as: children going to school, children going to bed, children getting ready for school, children riding their bike, an owl awake, an owl asleep, Chester going to school, Chester playing with his toys, etc.  The pictures can go in whatever direction you’d like.

Day/Night printables:

By Day and By Night

You can use this printable and have them draw, then copy or dictate their answer.


Active Animals


Raccoon Headbands: Cut a black strip of construction paper to fit around each student’s head.  Provide the students with a large black circle (head) and a smaller white circle (mask), and two black raccoon eyes.  (I'm not at school, so I can't try this out, but why not try to use a black number 8 Ellison die-cut turned sideways for the eyes.  This might give more of an illusion of a mask.)  If using the number 8 for the eyes, you might want to glue some yellow paper behind the holes for "night vision eyes", then add black pupils.  Provide a black triangle or oval for a nose, and have them add a mouth with a black crayon.  Model for them how to put them together to form a raccoon’s face, then have them glue them together.  Then give each student a black square and demonstrate how to cut the square in half diagonally to form two triangle ears.  Glue them on.  Then glue the whole thing to the headband.

Classroom Management: Purchase a stuffed raccoon (or raid your child’s toy box) to use as an incentive for good behavior.  If you have your students at tables, then you can let “Chester” sit on the table with the best behavior.  If your students are in desks, then he can sit on individual desks. 


 click to enlarge

One teacher also said that she used a raccoon puppet, but he would only come out when the class was acting well and nice and quite.  Seems that loud noises scared him!

Kissing Hand Cookies: There are also many variations of Kissing Hand Cookies as well as Kissing Hand activities.  You can purchase hand cookie cutters at places like Wal-Mart for less than a dollar, or a hand cookie cutter with a heart cut-out on the inside of the hand.  These little jewels cost quite a bit more and the price can climb over $15!  Personally, I chose to go the cheap route, and I’ll place a chocolate “Kiss” in the center of mine once they come out of the oven, but are still warm enough to squish the Kiss down into the dough a little.

Another alternative is to make cut-out cookies, but don’t use a cookie cutter at all.  Instead, you can use a plastic knife to cut around each student’s hand.  Do this on an individual sheet of baking paper with their name, then transfer the cookie and paper to a baking sheet.

Puzzle: Make each student their very own puzzle by having them color an appropriate picture (raccoon, etc.), then adhering it to a piece of posterboard.  Laminate.  Cut into 4 or 5 large size pieces.  Place each puzzle into a ziploc bag for each student.

Gameboard: This idea was recently posted on the ‘net and is open-ended.  You can use it however you want to.  Begin with (Start) a small graphic of a raccoon (Chester), then make the pathway using die-cut hands with a heart in the palms.  At the end (Finish) have a graphic of a larger raccoon (Mom). One idea would be for students to roll a die, then move forward that many spaces.  They could do this on the same gameboard, or have two separate gameboards. 

If you used posterboard as the gameboard, you could use it for addition with sums to 12.  Have the students roll two dice, add the two together, then move that many spaces.  For this game to last, you’ll need to add in some “trouble spots” such as: Move back 4 spaces, Go back to start, Lose a turn, etc.

You could also use the posterboard sized gameboard for basic subtraction facts to 6.  Give the students two dice, have them subtract the smaller number from the larger number and move that many spaces.

T-Graph Activity: Some teachers have their students answer a morning question every morning upon arrival at school.  Most use some type of graphing activity for the students to record their response on.  This activity would be perfect for that.  At the top of your T-graph, the question would be:  Who’s your favorite character in The Kissing Hand?   Then on one side of the T you’d put a picture of Chester (or his name), and on the other side of the T you’d put a picture of his mom (or her name).  The students would indicate in some fashion what their choice would be.  If you make your T-graph on posterboard, then they could clip on the appropriate side, a clothespin with their name on it.  If you put your graph on a metal cabinet, then their name could be on a piece of posterboard or cardstock with a magnet attached to the back. 

Sequencing: Use Ellison machine heart or hand cut-outs and program them with the alphabet or numbers.  Laminate.  The students can then use them to practice their sequencing skills of their ABCs and 123s.

Maze: Using pictures from the book or clipart, draw a maze to get Chester to school.  The maze begins with Chester (picture of a raccoon or Chester) and ends with the school (picture of a schoolhouse or the tree school from the book).


Raccoon Puppet Pattern Reproducible: Alphabet Puppets plus More!  Teacher’s Friend Publications, Inc.


click to enlarge


Links for The Kissing Hand


Raccoon Craft


Raccoons Coloring Book for The Gable’s Raccoon World



Joey’s Raccoon Domain

Ivy’s Domain (coloring page search engine .. type in Raccoon)

The World Wide Raccoon Web

The Kissing Hand Lesson Plan 

Back To School Unit


Raccoon Mask


Raccoon Glasses




The Kissing Hand Theme


The Kissing Hand printables


The Kissing Hand puppet (printable)






last updated 5.25.09


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