We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen is one of the best books to read with kids. It is a fun story and will keep the kids' attention. Though it may seem like a simple book, it is a great learning story as well.
The book incorporates so many different skills and concepts, it is a great tool to teach kids. Some of the concepts involved in the story are five senses, descriptive words, rhythm and repeating skills, directions and basic geography, sequencing and order, and even facing fears. Not only that, but Bear Hunt encourages physical activity and creativity.
Below you'll find loads of activities to use with the book involving lots of different concepts, videos and performances of the story, links to worksheets for We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and much more related material.
Bear Hunt Five Senses Activities
Incorporating the five senses into We're Going on a Bear Hunt is very easy and will make the story more interesting to the kids. It will boost their learning as they approach the story from a variety of ways and actively use all their senses to experience the book.
- Act out the story. Use hand gestures. Get up and move around as you read.
- Draw pictures of the scenes in the story.
- Make visuals and props to go along with the book. Have some real grass, get a teddy bear, make a cave from furniture, and find things to use for all the parts of the story.
- Speak in a dramatic voice. Change your voice from loud to soft. Vary your pitch.
- Add sound effects as you read. As you cross each spot, make the noise, don't just say it. Or find items to use for the sounds. For example, fabric rubbing together can make a swishing sound for the grass.
- Clap your hands rhythmically in the story.
- Find some onion grass or chives to use for the grass. It has a distinctive smell.
- Go read the story outside and sniff various things like flowers and trees.
- Bears love to eat honey. Get some honey for the kids to smell.
- Ask the kids what a bear smells like. They smell musky like a forest and kind of like a wet dog smell, only stinkier. Are there any dogs or other animals you can sniff for an example?
- Gather real grass, water, and other props the kids can touch.
- Make snow to play with using instant snow or ice cubes ground up.
- Use a spray bottle and squirt them with water for the snowstorm. Squirt the water through a fan for a windier effect.
- Pack a lunch or snack for the hunt. Things like Teddy Grahams, honey, gummy bears, and graham crackers are good foods to bring. You can even put together a full picnic.
- Sample some "river water." Putting it into a canteen or other hiking-style container will make it more realistic.
- Use chocolate pudding for the mud and let the kids taste it.
Bear Hunt Props
Make Real Snow!
Though it is a simple story, the book is full of descriptive words and adjectives. It makes the story richer and reiterates word meanings. Explore descriptive words more with these activities.
- Ask the kids what each spot looked like. Have them describe the grass and the river and the other places. Talk about how the weather was. Then have them draw their own pictures.
- Practice opposite words using some of the descriptive words found in the book (long vs. short, deep vs. shallow, dark vs. light). Draw or find a picture of a small bear and a big bear, short grass and tall grass, and whatever other opposites you want to use. Have the kids practice telling you which is which.
- Change all of the description words to their opposites or to something silly or ridiculous as you read the story. The kids will get a kick out of it. For example, "Short, itchy grass" or "dry, dusty mud."
Sequencing and Order
Sequencing is an important early math skill that this story can teach. In the story, you cross through specific landmarks and then retrace your way across them to get back home. Help your kids practice putting things in order.
- Ask them if they remember the order of things you had to do to get to the bear's cave. Make an ordered list of them.
- Draw or copy scenes from the book and have the kids put the pictures in the right order from the book. The worksheet links below also have sequencing cards for the book that you can print out.
- Once the kids know the order and have it firmly set in their minds, ask them about the order they crossed each thing on the way from the cave back home. Make a new list and put the scenes in reverse order from before.
- When the kids have the order and sequencing down, you can mix up the order and create a new story. Have the kids list what order you crossed each thing this time. Then let them come up with their own sequence.
Directions and Geography
Bear Hunt is an interesting way to practice directional words and the concept of spacial orientation. At each stage of the journey, the path is reiterated and a new landmark is found. Help your kids learn about directions and geography by doing these activities with the story.
- Act out the over, under, and through parts of the story using pictures, a felt board, or even a real-life obstacle course.
- Practice the directional words by leaving a trail of paw prints for the kids to follow. Put them under things that the kids will have to crawl through and on top of things. Have the kids tell you what they are doing along the way or have them describe the path afterwards.
- The story is a great introduction to basic geographical features like a river, forest, and cave. You can add other landmarks like a mountain, a city, or even an ocean. Have the kids describe the new places.
- Draw a map of the path you took on the bear hunt. Make sure to include all the things you went through to get to the bear.
Rhythm and Repeating Skills
We're Going on a Bear Hunt teaches rhythm and other basic musical ideas as well. There is a lot of repetition, which helps kids to remember the story better. And you can sing the story or clap a rhythm as you read. Make the story even more of a musical experience with these tips.
- Clap your hands or slap your legs in a steady rhythm as you read the story. The kids will love it and will start keeping time with you.
- Sing the story. There are several bear hunt songs out there. Or just sing it however sounds best to you. Listen to the sing-song way Michael Rosen, the author, performs it in the video below.
- Add a call and response to the story. Whoever is telling the story says, "We're going on a bear hunt." Then everyone else repeats it. Then the storyteller says the next line, "We're going to catch a big one." Then everyone else repeats it. Do a call and response through all of the sections that repeat throughout the story.
The Story Read by the Author Michael Rosen
Bear Hunt Language Worksheets
- Bear Hunt Lesson Plans
Sequencing cards, worksheets about being scared, directional prepositions, a color bear hunt, following directions, and more activities for the story.
This story is actually a good lesson about facing fears. Big creatures like bears are something that most kids would be a bit afraid of. But we go out looking for one anyway. The phrase "We're not scared" repeats after each obstacle. Here are some ways to discuss fears with your kids.
- Ask them what other kinds of creatures they would want to go on a hunt to see. Ask them what they wouldn't want to see on a hunt. Then talk about why or why not.
- Have the kids draw pictures of things that scare them. Then talk about things they could do if they see the things they are afraid of. For example, if they are scared of spiders and they see one, they can call an adult to get rid of the spider or they can go play somewhere away from the spider. Knowing what to do in a scary situation can help reduce anxiety and make the object or event less frightening.
- If they are feeling brave, you could go on a hunt for something that frightens them a little, like a ghost hunt or a zombie hunt. Instead of crossing through things to get to a bear cave, go on a ghost hunt to a spooky old mansion. It is a fun way to face your fears.
- Learning to overcome fear is a big accomplishment, but sometimes caution is a good thing. Bear Hunt also teaches when you should run from or avoid danger. In the story, when they find a real bear, they run away. Talk about why you should be careful around real bears, especially in the wild, without making them afraid of bears. Give them examples of when a bear would be safe for them to be around like at the zoo or a wildlife park. Talk about other things that you should be careful about because they could be dangerous. Make sure to explain the difference between being careful and being afraid.
- We're Going On a Bear Hunt Obstacle Course
Grass made from construction paper, containers of blue water, paw prints, sandy water, and more to create a fun and engaging bear hunt.
Active and Moving
This is one book that kids won't fall asleep listening to. It actually encourages movement and active involvement. Get the kids really engaged by physical activity.
- Act out the story or use motions as you read. Move your hands and clap your hands. Watch how active Michael Rosen is in the video.
- Make a real bear hunt obstacle course for the kids to go through. Go outside and let them run through grass. Let them splash in containers of water for the river. Use sand and water for the mud. Build a cave with a blanket or tarp.
- Hide stuffed bears in a room and have the kids look for them.
- Make a scavenger hunt with clues leading to where a bear is hiding.
- Take a trip to a zoo to look at real bears.
- Go on a hike through a forest, visit a cave or a river. What kind of creatures do you see? Does anything remind the kids of the story?
There are tons of ways to extend on the book and get creative. The story can spark some great ideas and new learning experiences.
- Make up new landmarks to cross like a mountain or a beach. There are several different story versions out there.
- Change up the weather in the story. Go for a hunt on a cloudy day or a windy day. Come across a rainbow or even a twister.
- Make up different lyrics to go with the song. Make up a story about hunting around the playground for a squirrel or go for an alien hunt and search through each planet. The possibilities are limitless. Find something that will get the kids excited.
- Make your own book of the story. Staple paper together. You can even find textures to put on it like fake fur for the bear.
- Talk about what you are going to do when you catch the bear. Build a bear trap or a bear park for him to play in.
- Pack a bear hunting kit and take it along with you. Things like binoculars, a net, snacks, bug spray, honey, a walking stick, a safari hat, and so on can be stuck in a backpack as you "set out" on the bear hunt. Or pack things like scarves and hats for the snowstorm, swimming gear for the river, flashlights for the cave. Pull out the items as you need them in the story.
- Play a bear hunt memory game. Have everyone sit in a circle. Start by saying, "We're going on a bear hunt, and I'm taking a _________." And the person will name an item to bring like a raincoat. Then the next person in the circle will say, "We're going on a bear hunt, and I'm taking a _________ and a _________" naming what the first person said and then adding his or her own item. Like a raincoat and a flashlight. Then the third person will go, naming the first two items and then adding his or her own. Go around the circle until everyone has added an item. How long can the list go before you forget what everyone's bringing?
ahsan ali on December 09, 2013:
good article thanks
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on June 08, 2012:
Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments! Enjoy the bears.
TahoeDoc from Lake Tahoe, California on May 26, 2012:
This is great! Super ideas that kids will absolutely love! The photos and videos are great too. Nice work.
Dan Reed on May 25, 2012:
What a neat idea. I'd read a lot with my kids but never quite like this. Kids will definitely enjoy this. Thumbs up! and thank you for sharing.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on May 24, 2012:
What a totally cool hub! I haven't heard of this book - it came along way after my kids were past that stage, and I don't work with kids in my career. Maybe I can just do a Bear Hunt on my own or something!
Voted up and up!
Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on May 22, 2012:
That was so not what I was expecting when I read the title. You can tell I'm the one without kids! But what a brilliant hub. You have such great ideas to get children having fun and learning.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 21, 2012:
Melovy - That sounds like an amazing birthday party! I bet the kids loved it. Thanks so much!
Yvonne Spence from UK on May 17, 2012:
Great hub. My kids loved this story when they were little so we did a fair bit of acting it out. Once we went to a little girl’s birthday party where the main part of the party was going on a bear hunt. They even had something for the river and for the mud, but it’s a while ago now so I can’t remember what. I do remember we took wellies (rubber boots) to the party!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 15, 2012:
Nare Anthony - Teddies are the best. Thanks so much!
Nare Gevorgyan on May 14, 2012:
Ohh, what a cute idea! I love teddies, gonna share this everywhere lol :d
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on May 13, 2012:
@ twoseven - Most kids can't get enough bear hunts. Hope your son enjoys it! Thanks!
@ pstraubie48 - Kids do love the story and it is great learning. Thanks so much!
@ summerberrie - I remember being fascinated with grasses that people could eat when I was little. That bear and I go way back. Thanks for noticing and everything else!
@ Mmargie1966 - You are proof of how memorable the story can be. That's awesome that you have such good childhood memories of bear hunts. Glad you got a refresh of it. Thanks!
Mmargie1966 from Gainesville, GA on May 13, 2012:
This has got to be one of the best hubs I've seen! My elementary school principal used to gather all the children in the auditorium and we would go on a bear hunt once a year! I am 45 years old! You have added quite a bit to the story, but it is very close to the story he told.
Thanks for bringing back such fond memories. By the way, I know all about my senses now! Voted up up up!
summerberrie on May 11, 2012:
I loved your bear sitting outside and what kid would not like eating "grass". This was so fun and entertaining for me, I know kids would enjoy an adult taking the time to make a story come alive using the five senses. Voted up and awesome.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 11, 2012:
Going on a bear hunt and other such activities are ss engaging. Kids love these. You have a nice variety of ways kids can experience and learn. Thank you for sharing this.
twoseven from Madison, Wisconsin on May 11, 2012:
Wow - what a wealth of ideas! My son (2.5 years old) loves it when they go on a bear hunt at his preschool, and now I have some great ideas for how to do it at home with him too! Thanks for the great ideas!