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Seven Pennies to Spend on Candy

 Family lesson on being Generous

I love this felt story for little children, my mom taught it back in the early 80's. If you're using this as a lesson with a child as your assistant, you'll use the felt pieces and have them add them to the story board one at a time. Start with the backdrop and the sunshine and tree, or use your imagination and be creative as you make your own.

Once there was a little boy named John. He was a very good boy and lucky too, because he had seven pennies. “Wow,” he thought.

 "I have seven pennies to spend on candy

All for myself

Isn’t that dandy?"

 His mom gave permission to walk through the woods to the store nearby. He knew the way and promised to be very careful. It was a beautiful day and he was happy. As he walked along through the forest, he whistled to himself, admiring the trees and plants and flowers. Just then he saw a cat, and couldn’t help but share the good news. He said to the cat,

 I have seven pennies to spend on candy

All for myself

Isn’t that dandy?

Mr. Cat replied back:

"If I had seven pennies

To spend as I wish,

I’d buy myself

A delicious fish."

 John smiled and kept walking. When he heard a bird singing in the tree, he shared his good news: 

I have seven pennies to spend on candy

All for myself

Isn’t that dandy?

 Mrs Bird tweeted back:

"If I had seven pennies

For what I’d like best

I’d buy cotton

To line my nest."

 John smiled again and kept walking. All of a sudden a frog hopped out of the pond, so he shared his good news with Mr Frog.

I have seven pennies to spend on candy

All for myself

Isn’t that dandy?

 "If I had seven pennies

Said Frog with a yawn

I’d buy a lily pad

To lie down on," said the frog.


Bear was nearby searching for blackberries. He heard when Johnny said: 

I have seven pennies to spend on candy

All for myself

Isn’t that dandy?

He growled softly:

"Oh dear little boy

A penny’s worth of honey

Would bring me great joy."


Mrs Rabbit was listening carefully and said:

"Oh no, Mr Bear

Honey wouldn’t do

With a penny

I’d buy a carrot or two."

 John kept walking and finally he reached the store. He walked inside and looked around at ALL the toys and candy, and started to fill his bag with LOTS of delicious things: cotton candy, peppermints, lollipops. With seven pennies, he could buy seven things. Then he remembered his animal friends in the forest. He thought, “Maybe I’ll share something with my friends too.” Remember what Mr Cat had said?

He decided maybe he didn’t need to spend all his pennies on candy. So he asked Mr McCoy, the storekeeper, to help him find a fish, and some cotton, and a lily pad, and some honey, and a carrot. Each of the items cost one penny. He put back some of the candy he'd thought about buying, and decided on a lollipop and some fruit snacks for himself. (use whatever candy you have in your house, and demonstrate which candies he bought.) He smiled to himself again, thinking of how much fun it would be on his walk home, to share with his animal friends in the woods. He found his friends again, first Mrs Rabbit, then Bear, and then the frog, and the bird, and Mr Cat. Each time he reached into his brown paper bag, finding just the right gift for his friends. The bag felt lighter now, and he couldn't wait to get home and eat his lollipop and fruit snacks.


When he arrived home, he saw this note in the bottom of the bag:

"To a very good boy

From Mr McCoy."

Mr McCoy had seen John’s generous heart, and there in the bottom of the bag, after digging out the fruit snacks and the lollipop, was another surprise. Smarties! (Find whatever smarties or candy you have around the house, or use your child's favorite treat, and add it to the bottom of a brown paper bag.) He couldn't believe it, what a wonderful bonus!

At this point in the story, depending on your kids' ages and understanding, and their attention span, you chat about the following: 

  • what is the golden rule? (do unto others and you would have them do unto you)
  • the law of the harvest (you reap what you sow) 
  • karma (what you send out comes back to you)
  • How do you feel when somebody does something kind for you? 
  • How do you feel when you give another person a present? 
  • What can I do when I see somebody less fortunate?
  • Heavenly Father sees our good deeds and blesses us.
  • Matthew 25:35 "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in." See more thoughts here

PS. As I'm writing about being generous, I need to carefully point out that balance is necessary. If you're already giving too much, or doing too much, or being too generous, then I recommend the following two posts: here I talk about swinging the pendulum more to self care. And the novel Atlas Shrugged presents a different theory of operating.



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