Improve your early years practice
Every week, we'll send you expert early years insights, resources, tips and inspiration straight to your inbox
No wonder We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is one of the most celebrated books in children’s literature. A story about a venture to find a bear, with various natural obstacles in the middle, it's long been a favourite from pre-school to beyond!
With rhythmic and clear language, the book combines several concepts and skills in a repetitive style and expression. This creates the perfect setting for children to act along and take part in dramatic play.
With basic directions, descriptive words, and sequencing, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt holds different concepts that encourage imagination and inspiration.
Here is a selection of 8 ideas for fun activities, so you can have your own 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt' fun!
Source: the imagination tree
Sensory storytelling spoons or sticks are a perfect resource to bring the different places in the story to life. Children can join in with the tale by waving spoons and repeating phrases like “Swishy Swashy” from the book. Keep children interested by asking them to raise their spoon when the characters come to that part of the story, while you read the story aloud. For example, the child holding the mud spoon acts out the mud section of the Bear Hunt.
How you do it: The children start by cutting different stripes of green ribbons to create green flowy grass and glue them onto the spoon. You can use real twigs and branches from your garden and add some green felt to fashion the dark forest on the spoon. Create the swirling, whirling snowstorm by glueing cotton balls to the spoon, or use white glitter for extra sparkly snow. For the oozy mud, you could texture some brown paint, or add mud from your mud kitchen! The foil can be moulded to create the Bear's cave. Now you just need the Bear!
When you go on your very own Bear Hunts, of course, you'll need the right tools. It’s a great way to explore and look for new hidden things in your surroundings through your very own binoculars. Children will love the creative process of crafting a tool in a simple yet innovative way.
How you do it: Glue the two tubes side by side to create the basic binocular shape. You can also use tape to secure it. Punch two holes in the top right and left corner and use the string or yarn to tie around it for the strap. The children can decorate their binoculars with paint, stickers, or glitters. Once the binoculars are complete, it’s time to head out and search for the bear. Talk about what you can see through your binoculars as you explore. Watch out in the cave!
Sensory play in the Early Years supports children's developing sensory-motor and investigation skills. Encouraging the children to create mud also helps support understanding processes and mixing materials. Describe about the textures of the mud as children investigate it, introducing new vocabulary and making comments about how the mud feels. Walk them straight through the squelchy muddy tray like the family from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt while you read aloud - don't forget the squelchy-squirchy sound effects!
How you do it: Doing experiments is one of the best methods of teaching and making mud is no different. Encourage the children to mix the baking soda and water until you get to the required mud-like consistency. Then just add some dark paint. The children can walk across the mud, acting out the muddy scene from the book, or grab some toys to squelch through the mud too.
You could, of course, just use real mud by mixing soil and water. What's more, real mud is free! You can also substitute the baking soda for flour or cornflour, and the paint for food colouring, if you're working with ages likely to try to eat their mud.
Source: Learn With Play at Home
An outdoor obstacle mission supports decision-making capabilities as children risk-assess, navigating how to safely conquer the course. Imitating the movements from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt can also support physical development and gross-motor skills.
How you do it: Like the characters in the book stumble in the forest or tip-toe in the cave, encourage the children to imitate their movements as you read the story aloud. Walk or jog around a lawn, imagining long flowy grass. Take slow long steps in the muddy area copying the feeling of getting stuck.
The bear in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has two big googly eyes, a shiny wet nose, and two furry ears. Children can practice their fine motor skills as they draw the mask and bring the Bear from the book to life.
How you do it: Use the paper plates for the face and the cup for the shiny nose. To extend the activity, support the children to design the face themselves. Depending on age and ability, the children then cut two holes for the eyes and connect the string or elastic from both sides of the plate. The children are free to decorate their Bear masks however they choose. Once the mask is complete, you're ready to be the Bear.
You can customize scavenger hunts according to the children’s interests and abilities. Support the children to problem-solve and act out the Bear Hunt on a hunt of their own!
How you do it: Create an interesting map of your backyard or part of your setting where you can hide the bears easily. Next, give examples of how the children have to travel to each hidden bear, like tip-toeing, or making the "swishy-swashy" sound effect on the grass. Draw cutouts or print pictures of bear paws and put them near the hidden bear. Support children to work cooperatively to find all the bears!
Water with different temperatures and textures improves sensory and motor skills in children. It also helps with cognitive benefits as your child experiments with new concepts such as floating and sinking.
How you do it: Fill the bowl with water and add blue paint to give it an ocean effect. Add a few toys and let your child move the animals creating splashing sounds as you read the book with characters crossing the river with a ‘splash splosh’. This helps the children create a connection with the characters. Add a few boats or ships that he can use to help the toys cross the river safely.
Source: HomeGrown Friends
Children visually and physically learn being around nature, such as soft pointy grass or bright blue water, and much more. This activity encourages children to focus on the Bear Hunt story, both as they collect the items, and as they listen for the right line to add their material to their collage.
How you do it: Read aloud, encouraging the children to collect real items from the Bear Hunt from the garden, like mud or grass. Snow might be a bit tricky, depending on the season and where your setting is! The children can then use these items to create a collage of Bear Hunt art or a picture from the story. Begin to reread the book so that the children can start glueing their elements on the cardboard piece, in the order the family see them in the story. Whether the children make the collage in a sequence or blend all the natural obstacles, the experience will be unique.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.