We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury is about a family going on a hunt for a bear. On each page the family have to overcome different obstacles they come across in order to continue their hunt. As the family encounter each obstacle, they describe it by using sensory descriptions such as; long, wavy grass, a deep, cold river, thick, oozy mud, a big, dark forest, a swirling, whirling snowstorms, and a narrow, gloomy cave. By using a range of descriptive vocabulary, the reader can imagine themselves on the hunt. It’s a fantastic journey!
Within this book there is a transition between two genres. At first the genre is fiction (the family going on an adventure is plausible). However, as soon as they see the bear, the genre switches to fantasy (the family out- running the bear). By exploring two different genres in the book, Michael Rosen is allowing the reader to put the story in a real life context but also letting the reader use their imagination. ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ can be used in different contexts with different age ranges. Foundation Stage and Key Stage One children will thoroughly enjoy it as there’s lots of use of repetitive language patterns that children can join in with or re-enact. By using this language pattern and the lovely illustrations, children will love interacting with the story regardless of whether they are able to read the story themselves. The children can also interact with the story by taking part in the actions the teacher and the children come up with.
This book is ideal for younger children because the verses of the story are repeated, observations and vocabulary are age and developmentally appropriate. There are many different activities that can be created by using the book and children will love them all.
Here’s a fun binocular and map craft inspired by the popular children’s book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! This kids’ activity is a great way to bring the story to life for kids of all ages.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Map & Binoculars
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of my favorite books to read to children. It’s impossible for kids to resist participating in the repetitive text, and the book lends itself to all kinds of imaginative play. I created my own maps and binoculars so I could bring the story to life right at school and home!
Making the Binoculars
Start by decorating two empty cardboard tubes (we used toilet paper rolls). (I found a mini roll of duct tape (similar to this one) at our local craft store and used it to decorate the two tubes.)
To create a space between the two tubes, cut a small piece of cardboard from an empty cardboard tube you aren’t using. Fold the sides of the small piece of cardboard down.
Glue or tape each folded side to each cardboard tube to form your binoculars.
Punch one hole into either side of your binoculars. (This is my favorite single hole punch. It easily punched a hole through the cardboard!) Tie a long piece of yarn through the holes, and you’re done!
Making the Map
This map activity is a great way to create art while retelling the events from the story. I made our map using art and craft supplies we already had at home. I’ll describe to you how we made each section, but you can easily modify the map based on supplies you have readily available to you.
What We Used for Our Maps
- Large sheet of paper (For one map we cut up a brown grocery bag!)
- Construction paper in green and brown
- Shiny blue paper
- Brown tempera paint
- Small bit of sand
- 4 Mini popscicle sticks
- Cotton balls
- White, iridescent glitter
- Black marker
How We Made Our Maps
1. You’ll be making six little pictures on your map. Older children can probably visualize where to put the pictures, but I found it was easier for my 3 year old to already have the paper divided into six sections. To make the six sections, I folded the paper in half horizontally and then folded each side in to create thirds. When you unfold it you have 6 spaces.
2. In the first space we created the “long, wavy grass”. To create my grass, I cut out a small rectangle from green construction paper. I then cut lots of tiny slits to create the grass and glued it onto my paper.
3. Next I made the “deep, cold river”. I had a sheet of shiny, blue scrapbooking paper that was perfect. I cut our rivers out of the paper and glued them onto our maps.
4. The “thick, oozy mud” was the kids’ favorite part of the map! We dipped our fingers into some brown tempera paint and used our fingers to paint mud onto our maps. I then sprinkled some sand onto the wet paint to really make it look muddy!
5. Up next was the “big, dark forest”. I used mini popsicle sticks and green construction paper to make our forests. (I pre-cut the treetops for Theo.)
6. To make the “swirling, whirling snowstorm” we pulled apart cotton balls and glued them down as snow. I also drew snowflakes with liquid glue and sprinkled some snow-like glitter onto the glue. (Younger children will find it easier to make snowflake dots with the glue rather than draw snowflakes.)
7. The last section of the map is the “narrow, gloomy cave”. I cut out our caves from brown construction paper and cut a door into the caves that can open and close.
8. For the finishing touch, I used a black Sharpie to create a path on our maps.
Here you can see my three year old’s map. I used crinkled paper for the grass and made glue dots rather than flakes for the snow.
Bringing the Story to Life
Prior to making our maps and binoculars, I had read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt over and over during the previous few weeks.
After becoming familiar with the story and having acted it out, I took our maps and binoculars outside and went on our own bear hunts in the backyard!
When we were done going on our bear hunts, we put our maps and binoculars (along with the book) in a basket right by our backyard to be enjoyed again and again!