I had the opportunity to review two recently published bear theme books. Both are fiction, but have information that educate as well. I thought the stories were entertaining and easy to add activities that will send each story across the curriculum.
The Best Kind of Bear by Greg Gormley
A young bear named Bear met a little girl named Nellie. She asked Bear what kind of bear he was – and he just didn’t know. So, Bear decided he was going on an adventure to meet a variety of bears to see if they could help him with his identity. On his travels he met a Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear, Spectacled Bear, and a Black Bear. Disappointed Bear had no luck identifying his species, so he went home. Nellie met him with open arms to cheer him up. She said, “You’re wonderful bear with funny stitches on your belly and a washing tag on your bottom. You are my kind of bear."
After reading this story, your kids can guess what kind of bear this Bear is. Yes, a teddy bear! Here are a few bear theme activities to enhance this book.
Make a Bear Spinner
Invite each child to spin the wheel in order to guess Bear’s species.
Draw and cut out two circles from poster board (one smaller than the other).
Divide the larger circle into 5 sections. Label around the circle with the names of bears from the book.
Write the name Bear and add a ? (question mark) or an arrow to this small circle. Use a brad fastener and puncture a hole in the center of the small circle. Place this into the center of the larger circle and fasten it.
Now, you can spin the small circle to land on a bear species.
Enjoy a Bear Bounce
Place a blanket on the floor and place a teddy bear in the center. Invite two to four children to grab a corner(s) of the blanket. Let them have fun tossing and catching the teddy bear as it goes up and down in the air.
How Much Does Teddy Weigh?
Ask the children to bring in teddy bears from home. In class, review the concepts of light and heavy. Let each child hold a variety of bears and try to decide which bear is lighter? Which bear is heavier? End this activity by placing the bears on a tabletop scale and taking weights to compare the weights of the different teddy bears.
The Boy and the Bear by Tracey Corderoy
There was a lonely little boy who wanted a playmate to play catch or hide-and-seek. There wasn’t any one around. There was also a bear that needed companionship as well, but he was very shy. One day, the boy found a paper boat floating in a stream. It said, “boo." The boy and the bear began communicating and finally met each other. They played and played. Until one day as winter began, the boy didn’t see or hear from the bear – he became lonely again. As spring approached along came a paper boat down the stream asking to play. Bear was back and both were very happy.
This story is an excellent tool to discuss hibernation. Many animals hibernate (sleep) when the weather turns cold. These animals find sheltered places and sleep for a long period of time. They breathe very slowly, their heartbeat slows, and their bodies become very cold. They look somewhat dead. But after a long winter’s nap, the weather changes and these animals come out to eat and roam again.
Paper Plate Bear Fork Art
You will need:
*Small paper plate (not the foam kind)
*Construction paper or felt for ears and nose
*Plastic wiggle eyes
- Place the brown paint into a shallow container.
- Use the fork to apply the brown paint to the paper plate. Let the children enjoy this new process of painting.
- While the paint dries, draw and cut out two ears and a nose. You can create ears with a pink center if you wish.
- Glue the facial features in place along with the wiggle eyes.
No matter which bear book you and your class read, there is always a yearning for a sweet treat. Bake these cupcakes below and decorate them in a bear theme.
Bear Cub Cakes
Nothing is cuter than paw-print cupcakes aka bear cub cakes. They are simple to make. Either bake the cupcakes at home and bring them to class or if you have kitchen facilities make them together.
The decorating is the fun part. Frost the cub cakes with white frosting and if you want a furry cake, mix in shredded coconut in the icing. Top each cake with a chocolate mint patty candy or a thin chocolate wafer cookie. Then place three chocolate covered raisins or chocolate chips (points up for claws). Beware; these delicious cub cakes walk away with the kids fast.
For more bear theme books and activities check out Bright Hub Education:
The Best Kind of Bear by Greg Gormley, Nosy Crow (Candlewick Press), 2019
The Boy and the Bear by Tracey Corderoy, Nosy Crow (Candlewick Press), 2018
Personal experience in the classroom
Paper Plate Bear Fork Art adapted from Crafty Morning
Cub Cakes from One Little Project at a Time