The Bear Hunt

Are you ready for your next “imagination destination”? One of my favourite books is Michael Rosen and Helen Oxbury’s “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, (if you haven’t read it, do so, it’ll change your life….well maybe not, but it is a lot of fun). If you don’t have the book, you can find the story online here:

Just remember all of these activities are for your child (as much fun as I’m sure you’ll also have) and they should be the ones to make suggestions and decisions. Of course you can facilitate them initially but then let them lead the way!

Destination: Imagination!

Our imagination task is going to encompass a lot of different skills that your child is learning in preschool, and I’ll begin by talking about sensory skills: in the story, the family go on a bear hunt (could you tell that from the title?) and they encounter lots of obstacles.

First, read, watch or listen to the story and see how the author/narrator describes the obstacles (swishy-swashy, splodge-trudge, stumble-trip, etc.) and have fun with your child while making those different noises. Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find items in your house that may help you make these noises too.

Expand your child’s ideas and imagination by questioning them, and encouraging enquiry skills. The first obstacle is “grass, long, wavy grass” –  “what could you use to make the “swishy-swashy” noise?”. Experiment with different things, think and talk about why some worked and some didn’t.

If your child needs a bit of prompting, use leading phrases and ask ask leading questions:

“perhaps you can use a broom, how does that sound?” “What about some scarves?”

Next up is “a river, a deep cold river”, this one’s going to be simple, no? Get some water, perhaps in a bowl, experiment with making the water hot and cold and agree on how much water you need to make it “deep”, then it’s time for making those “splash, splosh” noises. 

And so on and so forth.

Let your child take the reins

Remember, this should be child-centered so let your preschooler come up with the bulk of the answers here. Do this for each of the “obstacles” and then go through the story once again, this time allowing your preschooler to make the different noises with their chosen items. 

What skills have we practiced here? *Auditory and retention skills, problem solving skills (in making choices and deciding which items to use), science skills, etc. and that’s just one activity! 

You can even take it further and make a video, a video call or just save it for others to see when they come home. You are continuing to build your child’s confidence in their abilities and decision making and also helping improve their speaking as well as listening skills. 

Independent play

“But Hayley, what about me? The parent who really needs to be on this conference call/put this load of washing on/have a five minute break before my head explodes?”. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you (superhero theme plays in the background). You can set your preschooler off on their own bear hunt by making an easy map or printing one off like the one below:

If you don’t have a printer then maybe you could draw one with your preschooler before letting that brave adventurer go off to find a bear. 

You can also build on this by helping your child, or encouraging them to do so independently, to make binoculars out of toilet roll tubes (not quite as precious as the paper itself is, I’m sure), as it’s pretty hard to go on a bear hunt without some top-notch bear hunting equipment!

As always, don’t forget to send me pictures of your “Bear Hunt” theatre, maps, binoculars and your intrepid adventurer(s). Have fun, stay safe and watch out!…there are bears about!

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