The Lonely Fish

K, 1, 2

The book the Rainbow Fish tells the story of a fish who learns to give a little of himself for the sake of others. We discuss the impact of giving something you value to make a better community. 

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • identify a situation in which sharing can help solve a problem
  • watercolor paints
  • fish outline for young people to trace -- two mirror images to staple together after painting
  • foil
  • glue
  • stapler
  • cotton or tissue for stuffing
  • Pfister, Marcus. The Rainbow Fish. Translated by J. Alison James. English Translation, New York: North-South Books Inc., 1992. ISBN: 1558580093.


  1. Read aloud the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. As you read, talk about characters, the problem, and the how they feel about the interactions of the sea creatures.

  2. Discuss:

    • How are the characters in the sea like a community?
    • Talk about the artwork, looking at paints, colors, and things that catch one's eye.
    • How can giving something away actually make you feel like you have more?
    • What are some things you can give away for the good of others, which may be an action or words? 
  3. Art Activity:

    Construct a rainbow fish using the materials above. The children will paint a fish (either pre-designed or of their own creation), cut out two sides and attach with the adult's help. They will then stuff the fish with cotton or tissue and attach a piece of foil as the shiny scale. Display fish by hanging them from a string in a central location for others to enjoy. Display with a sign that expresses the children's thoughts about sharing.


Children may write or dictate a sentence about something they can share to make the community better.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss why some animal colonies work together.