"We're Going on a Bear Hunt" Activities

Aug 28, 2013

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.

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

Sound Effects

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!)

Dramatic Play

This book is perfect for acting out the story as you go along. Focus on key words such as
  • under
  • over
  • through.
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.

Obstacle Course

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.

Sensory Tub

Make a sensory tub with the different elements of the story included for children to play and experiment with. Add things such as:
  • Pebbles
  • 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.

Bear Craft

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)
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • 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.

Happy playing and learning,
Debs :)

Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)


  1. Slinky Slimy Jungle Vines.....

  2. jojomuir@gmail.com
    Marvellous marshmellow mountains!

  3. Love the post Debs. So many great ideas to go with one of our favourite books. Hope the show comes to Sydney soon too. What scene would I add to it? Not sure... but I think my kids would love a space scene filled with Jedi knights. (Don't ask... but it would be fun right?!) xo P

  4. Pointy prickle patch - we used to always sing that line when I was a kid at brownies!

  5. Soaking wet rain. Great activity ideas to connect with the book, which is well loved in our house!

  6. Creaking, swaying bridge. What fab ideas, especially to re-connect wth a much loved book.

  7. Oooh, technically we are a bit old for this now but might do it just for the fun of it with my 6 and 7 year old. I love this book and used it all the time nannying and when the kids are little and it is getting dusty on the shelf.

  8. We can't attend so don't enter me but I had to comment to say how much my twins ADORED that book when they were little!! And I love your swirly snowy painting too!

  9. We vistited Arts Centre Melbourne a few months ago, and I promised my daughter that we'd come back regularly. We'd love to see Bear Hunt.

    I love a bit of alliteration, so we'd add the following to the book:

    Scorching, scratchy sand.

  10. melted chocolate puddles............

    Email - sapshu936@gmail.com

  11. Replies
    1. Hi Erica. You are the winner of the Family Pass. Congratulations! Please contact us at learnwithplayathome@gmail.com so that we can organise your tickets for collection.

    2. Wow thank you!! I just emailed you.
      How exciting! My 6 and 4 year old girls will be thrilled to see one of their favourite books recreated on stage!
      Thank you again!

  12. Hi there!
    Really enjoy stopping by your blog from time to time :) I am a mummy/teacher blogger and I'm writing a post all about "We're going on a bear hunt" and I came across your post via pinterest. I was wondering if I could have permission to use the image of your completed art work with the water colours? It's just gorgeous! I will of course link the image to your site. If not - no worries, just thought I'd ask.
    Lauren :)

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