Alexander the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts

CONCEPT: Self Esteem, Understanding PKU



The children watch a video about an elephant who is allergic to peanuts. They discuss the similarities between PKU and a food allergy.



After completing this activity, children will be able to:

  • understand that food allergies are similar to PKU
  • understand that other people have differences and need to avoid eating certain foods



  1. Set the stage:

    Explain: "Today we're going to watch a cartoon about an elephant who is allergic to peanuts. Who knows what an allergy is? Who knows somebody who has an allergy? What are they allergic to? (When somebody identifies a food allergy): What happens when he/she eats _____? Does he/she get sick? What happens when you eat "no" foods? Do you get sick?

    "PKU is not an allergy, but it is kind of similar. People who are allergic to foods can't eat certain foods; people with PKU can't eat certain foods too."

  2. Watch the video:

    Watch the first half of the video, "Alexander, The Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts".

  3. Discuss the video:

    • What was Alexander allergic to? Peanuts
    • What did Alexander (or any of the characters with allergies) have to remember? Not to eat peanuts (or the food they're allergic to)
    • Are there foods that you have to remember not to eat? "No" foods, foods that are high in protein or in phe
    • What did Alexander do when he wasn't sure if he could eat a food or not? He asked his mom or dad
    • What do you do when someone offers you a food that you're not sure you can eat? Decide if it is a "yes" or "no" food--and check with your parents if you're not sure; say no thank you; check with Mom--or say I'll check with her later
    • What did Alex's mom tell him to do if he accidentally ate a food he shouldn't have? Tell her right away
    • What should you do if you eat something that might be high in phe? Tell someone who knows about your diet
    • What was the seal's special secret? She ate hamburgers shaped like fish. Explain that there are foods that look like high phe foods that are actually "yes" foods--like the special low protein pasta and bread. Sometimes kids with PKU take their own special treats to places where they know there will be high phe foods.
    • Were there lots of characters with allergies? What were they? Lion/milk, seal/fish,... Explain that lots of people have special allergies--or reasons why they have to eat certain foods. This makes them different--but it also makes them special.
    • Alex felt better when he found out that other animals had allergies too. Look around, most of the people in this room have PKU and know what it is like to eat low phe foods. It's neat to come to clinic where you can meet people who eat the same foods that you do--and learn about other foods you can eat.
    • Explain that PKU is not an allergy. People who have allergies get very sick right after they eat a food they are allergic to. People with PKU get sick--but it doesn't happen right away.
  4. Complete the activity sheet and talk about the answers together.



  • DVD Player and TV
  • Video: "Alexander, The Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts", available from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, ordering information on the FAAN website
  • acrobat reader logo Activity Sheet
  • Crayons



Adapt the above discussion for a one-on-one interaction with your child.



[top of page]