Make Way for Ducklings Preschool Book Activity

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Make Way for Ducklings with this fun book inspired activity! Get preschoolers up and moving as they try to get their ducks safely across town to the waiting pond. So fun and perfect for spring!

I first saw the iconic Make Way for Ducklings statues as an adult, on a trip to Boston that also marked my first visit to Fenway Park. But I had loved Robert McCloskey's Mallard family ever since I was a child. So when Penguin Kids sent me a copy of the brand new 75th anniversary edition of this childhood classic, I was beyond excited to share it with my boys. They loved it as much as I do, and we decided to have a little fun with the book as well. And now I have a great excuse to take them to see the duck statues in person (and catch their first game at Fenway too).

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Make Way for Ducklings 75th Anniversary Edition

Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings has been a favorite of children for generations. Set in Boston, it follows Mr. & Mrs. Mallard, who explore the city in hopes of making a home for their soon to be family. They finally settle in a cozy spot in the Charles River. Soon they decide to take their ducklings on an outing to the Public Garden in an adorable adventure through the streets of Boston (and with a little help from Boston's finest). 

The 75th Anniversary Edition includes a hardcover copy of the classic book as well as an audio version on CD. But what makes it truly unique is the gorgeous, full color map of 1941 Boston, the home of Make Way for Ducklings. My boys were enthralled with the map, and it inspired our Make Way for Ducklings book activity.

Make Way for Ducklings Book Activity

Inspired by our Make Way for Ducklings map, we decided to recreate the Mallard family's trip through Boston with a life sized "map" of our own. To do this activity yourself, you will need:

Start by using the paper plates to create a duck path. Use the cookie cutter to trace a duck shape on the back of each plate, then darken your outline with marker. Add in little details like eyes and wings to make it extra cute. You can make as many as you'd like for your space - I made 8 for our playroom. 

Next, gather your rubber ducks (I just used the random assortment we already had), and place them at one end of the room. Or take them out to the yard - this would be really fun to play outside too!

Use your paper plates to create a path to the other side of the room or yard. I did ours over our road rug to give it the feeling that we were going through the city.  Fill your tub about half way with water and place it at the end of the path.

Now invite your children to help their ducks make it from one end to the other.

Be sure to follow the path! My boys had so much fun with this - first they had the ducks hop from plate to plate, then they pretended to be the ducks themselves and jumped along the path too. It was a great way to burn off our energy after a week filled with rainy days.

And our ducks made it to the water safe and sound!

This was a really fun game that incorporated so many learning opportunities too - and it is a wonderful extension activity for Make Way for Ducklings. We'll definitely be playing again soon!

More Make Way for Ducklings Book Activities

Can't get enough of the Mallard family's adventures? Try these great activities inspired by the book too!

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Laura R

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  1. I love the path building idea. We will have to try this today!

  2. My kids love making maps and doing a really big one will really get their imaginations going!

  3. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing it!