Tolerance and Sharing

K, 1, 2

This lesson introduces the idea of sharing in a situation where there is a scarcity of resources. The Land of Many Colors is a published book written by children teaches the concept of tolerance of differences. Students discuss how children have the power to make a difference. The teacher introduces the idea of scarcity of books and the issue of literacy.

PrintTwo Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • state that what something looks like on the outside may not tell us what the inside is like.
  • compare examples of tolerant and intolerant behavior in a story.
  • brainstorm things that may be scarce in some children’s lives, including books.
  • list the values of books in our lives.
  • color printout of The Land of Many Colors (see Bibliographic References). Note: This book is out of print. You may share with students on the computer or print out a color copy.
  • blocks or other math manipulatives
  • circles of construction paper in same colors as M & M's candy
  • M & M candy package
  • Permission to use this out-of-print paperback picture book Colors and Trouble kindly granted by the publisher, Scholastic, Inc. The title was originally published under the following:
    Klamath County YMCA Family Preschool. The Land of Many Colors. Scholastic, Inc., 1993.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Hold up three objects that are alike except for color (blocks or toy balls could be used). Ask the children to name the colors and indicate their favorite color. Point out that while they may have a preference, each color has no relationship to its function.

  2. Show the cover of the book The Land of Many Colors by the Klamath County YMCA Family Preschool. Tell students that this book was written by children who had an important message to share with others. A publishing company hired an artist to illustrate their story, and the book was published. It is now out of print.

  3. Read the book to the class. Ask younger students to identify colors and to name some of the objects on each page.

  4. Ask, "What did the people do that hurt others? How did it also hurt themselves? Why do you think they acted that way if it hurt everyone? Have you ever seen this same behavior in real people?"

  5. Ask, "What did the young, dusty child teach the adults? Why did they listen to the dusty child? What did they do differently? Have you ever seen this same behavior in real people?"

  6. Have the children identify examples of tolerant (different is good) and intolerant (different is bad) behavior in the story.

  7. Select six volunteers. Ask them to close their eyes and hold one hand in front and the other behind their backs. Place one M &M's candy in each front hand (different color for each) and a matching colored circle of construction paper in the hand behind their back. Ask them to eat their M & M's candy and tell everyone what color they thought it was. Then tell them to open their eyes and look at the construction paper color they are holding. Ask them whether they were correct about the color of their candy. Ask whether the color of this candy is related to its taste. Repeat the activity if desired.

  8. Help students make the connection between this experiment and the story. They should state that what something looks like on the outside may not tell us what the inside is like.

  9. Day Two

  10. In the story The Land of Many Colors, there was not enough food, which caused people to fight. Ask students if they know of things that some things that are scarce (not enough available) for some children in the world.

  11. Remind the students that they have been enjoying literacy as they listen and respond to a variety of stories and books. Tell them that for some children, books are scarce. Share some of the literacy facts from Handout Three: Literacy Facts.

  12. Ask the students if they can speak up like the dusty child in the story and help people who do not have enough books or enough reading time.

  13. Brainstorm ways to help children who do not have easy access to books get more books to read or more time with literacy activities.

  14. As an exit ticket, have each student write or draw one example of something they like about books or that books do for them.


Students should be able to recall story details and explain why some behaviors in the story were inappropriate. Students should give reasons why it is better to practice tolerance in a community. Students should appropriately share candy. Note how well students identify colors and match them to the color word.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.