I will preface this post with this statement: I was not planning on doing anything related to a bear hunt this week! That said, things change! One of my daughters went on a bear hunt this week at preschool. She had a fantastic time and came home very excited and ready to tell us all about her day. This got one little two-year old in my house extremely jealous. In fact, he became very sad and upset that he did not get to go on the bear hunt. To make him feel included I promised him that I would put together a bear hunt day for him too. So, after digging through my bag of tricks the below is what I came up with. The kids loved going on a home bear hunt and it made for a great way to spend the day!
1. My Two Favorite (and Free!) Bear Hunt Printables: Both of the below printables come from Homeschool Creations. This site has many great printables that I’ve used with my kids. These printables are based directly off of the book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” and were perfect for our day. This site has created so many wonderful We’re Going on a Bear Hunt printables so I am not going to list them all. That said, the below links will lead you right to them.
*Below are two of my favorites!
2. Bear Hunt in Theraputty: One of my daughters has cerebral palsy that affects her gross and fine motor skills on the left side of her body. Thank goodness she has been very blessed with a tenacious personality. She works very hard to overcome her obstacles and because of that she is doing incredibly well! That said, I have found that using scissors is very difficult for her. A wonderful occupational therapist that we know suggested that I use theraputty (a resistance hand exercise material) with her. Consequently, I recently invested in theraputty and am very happy with it. I hide things inside the theraputty which incentivizes my daughter to pull the putty apart looking for the hidden treasure. She loves it! In fact, all of my kids think that theraputty is a lot of fun. Since we are doing a bear hunt theme this week I hid twenty little plastic bears in the theraputty for the kids to find. Once the kids found all of the bears we used them to practice our counting.
- *Note: If you decide to use theraputty make sure that you order the appropriate resistance level. From what I’ve seen, resistance levels can range from extra-soft to extra-firm (extra firm gave me quite a work out!).
3. Going on a Bear Hunt Sensory Table: I stumbled across this site while looking for some bear hunt inspiration. I loved her Bear Hunt sensory table so I decided to recreate it (tweaking a few things here and there to better suit my kids and to accommodate what I already had in the house)! Essentially, I created a separate sensory bin for each of the different experiences faced in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: the grass, the mud, the river, the snowstorm, the forest and the bear cave. The kids loved playing with the different bins! Here’s how they turned out:
- The Mud: The site that I pulled this idea from suggested using chocolate pudding for the mud. I liked this idea but wasn’t that brave! I thought that my two year old would make too much of a mess of chocolate pudding – and who could resist eating it? So instead we used play-doh to recreate the squishy mud. In an ideal world I would have had brown play-doh on hand but unfortunately I didn’t. We had some very colorful “mud”! I also gave each of the kids some play-doh letter stamps and some small plastic bears to stomp around in the mud.
- The River: For the river I set out a large bowl with some water in it (you could dye it blue with food coloring if you want to). I again gave the kids some small plastic bears to splash around and gave them some cups and bowls to play with in the water. Have some towels on hand because it could get wet!
- The Snowstorm: I used some translucent Easter grass and some clear and white glass beads to create our snowstorm. I also had these very big snowflakes lying around that I threw in.
- The Forest: I pulled out some fake plants and moss that I have collected from the dollar store. I threw them all in a bin with some twigs.
- The Bear Cave: To create the cave I put A LOT of rocks in a bin along with our (very cute) Calico Critter Bears.
4. Bear Hunt Snacks:
- We made some “Bear Munch” for snack. Our “Bear Munch” included Teddy Grahams, M&M’s, Peanuts and Dried Fruit.
- Of course, the kids wanted to create a special treat for our Bear Hunt day so we came up with this: A Rice Krispie Treat Bear Cave. We made rice krispie treats, let them cool and harden, and then molded them into a cave. The kids and I then frosted our bear cave and put some gummi bears inside the cave to hibernate! (We probably should have frosted the inside of our “cave” to make it look nicer – that said it sure tasted good!)
5. Gummi Bear Sorting and Graphing: Since we had gummi bears I couldn’t help but do a little graphing exercise with the kids. We sorted the bears into different colors, counted the bears of each different color and then graphed our results.
6. My Favorite Bear Themed Books!
- We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Eric Carle
- Bear Has a Story To Tell, Philip Christian Stead
7. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: There are some very fun (toddler approved) bear songs out there. We’ve listened to our “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” song many times over the past few days and the kids still can’t get enough of it! Here are a few of our favorite bear songs!
8. Gummy Bear Science: Last but certainly not least is another great activity from Teach Preschool. Teach Preschool just posted “Gummy Bear Science” this morning and it could not have come at a better time! Please visit her site to learn how to do some gummi bear science. I plan on trying this with my children this afternoon to wrap up our bear hunt theme. We love to do science experiments in our house – especially ones that involve candy!