This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic story, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It has long been a favourite children's book of mine, from my days reading it in the classroom, to enjoying the rhythmic story with my own children.
In exciting news, this award winning story is coming to life direct from London's West End, in a fun-filled children's musical extravaganza this summer at Arts Centre Melbourne 27th Nov- 8th Dec! This is the first time the show has come to Australia and tickets are selling fast. (The show is recommended for ages 3-7). For your chance to win a family pass to see the musical at Arts Centre Melbourne, see the details at the end of this post.
In anticipation of seeing the show this November, it was time to get our copy off the shelf and revisit it with the kids. As this is on regular cycle at our place, we're quite familiar with it.
There are so many different activities that complement "We're Going on a Bear Hunt". The book particularly lends itself to dramatic and language play.
"We're Going on a Bear Hunt" inspired Activities
When reading through the text with your children, encourage them to make the sound effects as they come up.
- Swishy Grass,
- Splashy River,
- Squelchy Mud,
- Tripping in the Forest,
- Howling Snowstorm,
- Tiptoe in the cave.
Brainstorm ideas together about items that could help make these sounds and collect them to help with the sound effects. ie. blowing the top of a bottle for howling snowstorm sounds. Have a look at this activity for some inspiration. (I love their squelchy mud sound effect!)
This book is perfect for acting out the story as you go along. Focus on key words such as
Practice the actions that go along with these verbs. A play tunnel is perfect for allowing children to experience these actions.
Brainstorm the different emotions that the children would be feeling at different parts of the book and emphasise these whilst acting out the story.
Set up an indoor or outdoor obstacle course, recreating the different scenes from the book and narrate the story as the children go through it.
Children can help brainstorm ideas to create different scenes, such as cushion mountains, fabric rivers etc.
Make a sensory tub with the different elements of the story included for children to play and experiment with. Add things such as:
- Grass (fake or real)
- Water tub or cellophane
- Mud or pudding
- Fake trees (made from sticks, twigs, paper tubes, popsicle sticks etc)
- Fake snow
Have children talk about the sensory experiences and use the language that accompanies it. eg. "thick ooozy mud!" How does it feel? Encouraging children to use all their senses will help them with their descriptive language.
Using a paper plate as the face, children can make a simple bear craft using the text from the story as inspiration.
- "One shiny wet nose"
- "Two big furry ears"
- "Two big goggly eyes!"
Cut holes in the eyes and add elastic to make a bear mask as an alternative and then use in dramatic play.
Language through Art
To further explore the use of descriptive language (adjectives) in the story, we created a simple art piece to represent the different elements of the story and the specific language used to describe them.
- Long wavy grass
- Deep cold river
- Thick oozy mud
- Big dark forest
- Swirling whirling snowstorm
- Narrow gloomy cave
Before starting we talked about how using descriptive language helps the reader/listener to form a more accurate picture in their mind. We also discussed how it makes the story more interesting and exciting.
Ask: Which sounds more interesting? "I walked through the grass" or "I walked through the long wavy grass." Which tells you more about it? Which is more exciting and descriptive?
Use the descriptive language as inspiration to paint the different scenes from the book in this simple art piece that can be done by all ages.
- We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
- Thick white paper
- 'Cave shape' cut from black paper
- Paints and bushes (we used watercolours and a little acrylic)
- 2 googly eyes (alternatively you could paint eyes)
- Coloured paper slightly larger than your white paper (optional)
- Glitter (optional)
Stick your black 'cave shape' into the centre of the paper and then divide the remaining white into five parts using your pencil lightly (so that it can be rubbed out at the end).
Read through the book, painting a segment at a time using the descriptive language of the scene as inspiration for each painting. We started with "Long wavy grass."
The beautiful illustrations in the book inspired us to talk about the different colours, lines and patterns we could see and try out different brush-strokes. Watercolour paints were perfect for this.
Even as she swirled the brown paint she couldn't help describing it as "thick oozy mud!"
Continue to read your way through the book as you go along. Maddie paid closer attention to the illustrations in the book than she had in the past, as the language and the art came together.
The watercolours weren't sufficient for the "swirling whirling snowstorm" so we used some thicker white paint and a dash of silver.
The thicker paint allowed her to bring texture into her painting and create a swirly, whirly pattern.
To finish off the cave she used brown fingerprints around the edges, some green flicks of paint for the grass and the pièce de résistance, 2 googly eyes!
Deciding that the snowstorm wasn't quite done, Maddie added a sprinkling of silver glitter to the still wet paint.
When your piece is dry you could mount it on a larger sheet of coloured paper for an instant border, or add a frame to make it look fancy! You can also add the text in or have the child write (or stick) the corresponding adjectives on the painting to finish it off.
"We're Going on a Bear Hunt" Live on Stage! will be playing at Arts Centre Melbourne from 27th Nov - 8th Dec for a strictly limited run and we have one family pass (which includes 4 tickets) to give away.
To enter, answer the following question in the comments below. You must leave a valid email address so that we can contact you if your comment is chosen. Competition closes Thursday 5th September, 5pm. Before entering, please read the full terms and conditions. ,
Edit: This competition is now closed. The winner has been contacted.
Which scene would you add to the book?
Describe a scene for the family to go through using 3 words.
(ie: they went through "long wavy grass", "deep cold river", "thick oozy mud" etc.)
If you can't wait, tickets are available via the Arts Centre Melbourne Website. There are also special show lunchboxes available for pre-order! See the website for more details. The show is recommended for ages 3-7.
Also, if you're in Melbourne, keep an eye out around town for Bear Hunt activities at your local libraries and major cultural centres.
Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
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