Plumkin's Choice

A Tobacco-Education Puppet Show
Curriculum Guide

Grades K to 3rd.

If you would like to print out this guide, please click here and download a PDF formatted version. For more information please contact

Lisa Bady
The Omax Pi Puppet Theater
P.O. Box 2343, Novato, CA 94948
(415) 492-0662
© 2004 Lisa Bady



Activity #1
Tobacco is an Unhealthy Drug

Activity #2
Tobacco is Bad for Your Body

Activity #3
Make a Healthy Choice

Make a Sock Puppet

Tobacco is an Unhealthy Drug

To help students understand that tobacco is a harmful drug.

Students will be able to understand that:
Some drugs are healthy and some are unhealthy.
Tobacco is an unhealthy drug.
The nicotine in tobacco is addictive and adversely affects the body.


Writing paper


Tell the class:
"Remember how Plumkin did not understand that tobacco is an unhealthy drug and almost started to smoke? Let's write him a letter to make sure he remembers how dangerous cigarettes are. Maybe he will even write us back!"


1. Ask the class:
"Who can tell me what a drug is?"
(It's a substance you take into your body that changes the way you mind or body works.)

2. Ask the class:
"Who can tell me one thing that all of us take into our bodies every day but is not a drug?"
(Food, water and air.)

3. Ask the class:
"Sometimes people have to take certain drugs. Who can tell me something about healthy drugs?"
(They are given to you to make your body healthy: usually a doctor tells you to take them; you take them for a special illness or injury; you take them only with the supervision of your parents.)

4. Ask the class:
"Who can tell me something about unhealthy drugs?"
(They hurt your body and make it unhealthy; they are addictive.)

5. Ask the class
"Why is it important to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy drugs?
(Drugs can be very dangerous. If yo know about this, you will know what to avoid so you can take good care of yourself.)

6. Ask the class:
"Is tobacco a healthy or unhealthy drug?"

7. Write the following heading on the board:
"Tobacco is an unhealthy drug."

8. Ask the students the following questions and write their responses under the heading on the board:
"Let's list the things we can tell Plumkin about cigarettes so we can remind him that tobacco is an unhealthy drug. First, what are cigarettes made from?
(Cigarettes are made from the leaves of the tobacco plant.)

"Cigarettes are addictive. What does that mean?"
(That means it is very difficult to stop smoking. You just keep wanting more.)

"Which drug is found in tobacco that makes it addictive?"

"What can we tell Plumkin about nicotine and what it does to the body?"

It speeds up the brain; then it slows it down.
It makes the heart pump too fast.
It speeds up the liver.
It clogs the lungs.
It is very important for children not to smoke because they get addicted to nicotine faster than adults.


Write a letter to Plumkin so he will remember why he should not smoke.

1. Instruct the students to write Plumkin a letter reminding him about healthy and unhealthy drugs.

2. Place letters in one big envelope and send them to
c/o Lisa Bady
P.O. Box 2343
Novato, CA 94948


D. Closure

Ask the students to relate times when they were sick or injured and needed a prescription from a doctor to get healthy again.

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Tobacco is Bad for Your Body

To show students that tobacco harms their bodies.

Students will be able to describe the effects of tobacco on the different parts of the body.


Two glasses of water.
A handful of dirt.
A spoon.
Drawing paper.

A. Introduction

1. Hold up one of the glasses of water and ask the students:
"Who would like to drink this water?"

2. Pick a volunteer to drink the water.

3. Spoon some dirt into the second glass and ask the students:
"Is the water good to drink now?"

4. Tell the students:
"Smoking cigarettes is like drinking dirty water; both are not good for your body."

B. Discussion

1. Tell the class:
"Remember how in the puppet show, Wiggly Worm was very proud of how strong and healthy she was? But then one day, something happened that changed all of that. What did Wiggly Worm do that was not good for her body?
(She began to smoke)

2. Ask the class:
"What happened after she started to smoke? Was she still healthy?"
(She began to cough a lot, could not run as well and became sick. She was not healthy.)

3. Write on the board:
"Smoking is not healthy."

4. Ask the class.
"What are some other ways that smoking is bad for your body?"

5. Write responses on the board: Here are some possible answers.

You can get lung cancer.
Your lungs can turn black.
You can have a heart attack.
You can have a stroke to the brain.
You can get yellow teeth.
It is hard to breathe and play sports.
You can get a hole in the stomach.
It makes you cough.
It makes your hair smell.

6. Tell the class:
"We need our lungs to be healthy so we can breathe, our heart to be healthy so it can pump blood, and our brain to be healthy so we can think."

C. Activity:
Draw a picture that shows why smoking is harmful.

Hand out drawing paper.
Give the following instructions:
"Write 'Smoking is not healthy because...' on your paper."
"Choose one of the ways that smoking is not healthy."
"Complete the sentence on your paper and draw a picture of the reason why smoking is not healthy."


D. Closure
Ask the class:
"Why they think people might choose to smoke if it is so unhealthy?"

(People may not know it is unhealthy, they see other people doing it, they don't think they will get any of the diseases, etc.)

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Make a Healthy Choice

To help students understand that they can make choices that are healthy for their bodies.

Students will be able to identify healthy and unhealthy choices.


A puppet for you and for each student. Instructions for making simple sock puppets are included at the end of this curriculum.

A. Introduction
1. Ask the class:
"When Wiggly Worm chose to smoke, was it a healthy or unhealthy choice?"

2. Ask the class:
"When Plumkin chose not to smoke, was that a healthy or unhealthy choice?"

3. Tell the students:
"We are going to talk about choices that people make that are healthy and unhealthy."

B. Discussion
1. Write on the board:
"Unhealthy choices" and "Healthy choices".

2. Ask the class:
"Who can tell me things that people might do that are unhealthy for them?"
"What can happen when they do these things?"

3. Write the responses under "Unhealthy Choices".

4. Ask the class:
"Why do you think people sometimes make unhealthy choices?"

5. Ask the class:
"Who can tell me things that are healthy, fun, and safe to do?"
"What can happen when you do these things?"

6. Write the responses under "Healthy Choices".

C. Activity:
Roll play healthy activities with puppets.

1. Introduce you puppet to the class to talk about healthy choices.

Sample conversation:
"Hello, my name is George the Puppet. You know, I spend a lot of time watching TV and eating a lot of candy. I don't feel so good."

2. Ask the students:
"Whose puppet can show my puppet some fun and healthy choices so he can be strong and feel good?"

3. Have the students' puppets demonstrate various healthy activities and say why they are healthy.

D. Closure
Have your puppets emphasize that there are lots of great things to do that are healthy for your body and that are fun to do instead of smoking.

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Make a Sock Puppet


Socks (ask students to bring them in.)
Construction paper.
Colored tissue paper.
Markers or crayons.
Masking tape (3/4" wide is easiest to use.)
Optional: fabric, ribbon, sequins, pipe cleaners, feathers, bamboo skewers (for the arms) and staplers (to attach the arms).


1. Put your hand in the sock so your thumb is in the heel and your fingers are in the toe section. Bring your thumb and fingers together to make the mouth "talk".

2. Add eyes and hair using construction paper or tissue paper. Masking tape will hold these to the puppet. If you want, add a nose, ears or what ever you imagination can come up with.

3. Optional: Add arms out of fabric or crepe paper ribbon. Attach bamboo skewers to one or both arms at the wrist to make them move. Tape arms to the puppet. (Don't forget to cut off the pointy ends of the skewers.)


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