One of Hannah’s favorite books is, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” This was also one of my favorite stories from childhood, so it has inspired me to bring the story to life in our playroom. I can still remember tapping out the beat on my knees and swishing my arms through the grass when I was a kid. Maybe this will be one of Hannah’s first memories, too. If so, I hope she will pass along the fun to the next generation.
We start our bear hunt with Hannah’s favorite Teddy. The sign for bear is easy to remember, simply cross your arms across the chest and mimic dragging your fingers in a scratch. She also likes to practice making growl sounds. When I read the story, which is pretty much memorized at this point, I lay the book down so that I can make motions for each of the delays. The best part is when we find the bear and ‘race’ quickly back through all the detours. Hannah loves to hear me animate the fear in finding the bear and the excitement of the race.
After the book, Hannah helps the bear search for food from our brightly colored boxes. Each box contains two non-food items and one fruit. When she gives the bear food, I make him eagerly gobble it up. If she gives him a ball or crayon, he enthusiastically spits it out and asks for more food. He also sniffs around to help Hannah find what he likes best. She gets a huge kick out of hearing him snort. I’m not sure if she knows that it’s me making the noise, but she laughs and laughs about the silly sounds.
Next, Hannah sorts all the objects back into their boxes with my help or encouragement. She completes more of the task on her own if she’s not overly excited from bear tickles and snorts. Then I sing the song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” while moving the teddy up and down my arms. He perches atop my head for a little while, too. Those actions are silly, but they have helped me tell when Hannah wants to sing the song because she’ll bring the bear over to my head.
To round out our bear activity, we read the book, “Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you See?” I found a great demonstration of all the signs that go with the animals and colors on YouTube, so I’m slowly learning the collection. Even though the bear hunt book ends with the line, “We’re Not Going on a Bear Hunt Again” we always end up repeating this activity.