Our first week back from winter break was a short three day week, so I centered most of my plans for bears and hibernation around the book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Amazon affiliate link) by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen.
The first craft involved painting the backs of paper plates with brown paint and scrapers. This project was inspired by this one for Brown Bear. The paint scrapers/brushes are similar to the ones with the green handles in this set below. After students painted with their choice of scraper/brush, I cut the shape to make the mask. The next day students attached ears and nose.
Some students used their masks to be the bear in our pretend play area. I utilized a discontinued Cranium building set to make a large open cave area so that I could clearly see what students were doing while pretending to be a bear. You could also utilize a pop-up tent.
I found a map set that matches the order of events in the Bear Hunt book. Part of this was also used on my easel to put the map in order after reading the book together. I also used signs around the room to use with the map to travel around the room to find the bear. The map was laminated and put on a clipboard for the two students who were searching for the bear to follow around the room until they reached the cave and the bear. The bear was the third student playing in the pretend play area.
Students could also re-create the Bear Hunt in the block area, where I provided the characters as well as some winter trees and some blue and brown felt which could represent the water and the mud in the story.
Our question of the day related to hibernation all week, including the one above. There were actually a few children who voted to hibernate all winter. The hibernation questions can be found in my Question of the Day Bundle, or in the smaller set of questions here.
I played a matching bears game with a few students during this short week. This gave my students a chance to see that there was more than just brown and white for types of bears.
Always a favorite with any set of cards is the Cranium Cariboo. This is also no longer made, so if you see one anywhere be sure to snag it. My only challenge is to remind my students to use the cards to pick which door to open because they get so excited about finding the balls that they forget. The winter themed cards were a freebie on TPT.
The Roll and Cover game was matched with the size sorting bears and a foam die. This game suffered the indignity of being at the same table as the Cariboo game, so was sometimes ignored or played while waiting for a spot to open up for Cariboo. The bears below come in three sizes. I am not sure where we got ours as they come in four sizes with the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 on their bellies, which I just discovered this year. I had always assumed they were three different sized until I noticed the numbers.
Play dough is a great activity for any week. It is especially good for back to school after a break. The play dough mats I used came from Child Care Land (I don’t see the exact one there right now but she has some cute printables for play dough.) and Sparklebox.
We also worked on some letter activities during the week to go along with the letter I, including punching. Students work on recognizing the letter as well as building hand strength. I use regular hole punches as well as some crafting ones I found at the dollar store that seemed to be a little easier for some of my students to use.
I tried to have some bears in my sensory bin but students kept thinking they were just in there by accident from the roll and cover bear game. The bin is white rice, winter pasta, silly bands shaped like the alphabet, snowflake table scatter, flat clear glass beads, a snowflake container from the dollar store as well as a large scoop I just picked up from Dollar Tree, along with a few other tools to pick up things. The scoopers below look great and will probably be added to my list soon. The set I have I believe were from Oriental Trading Company. I like them but they do occasionally come apart when students try to use them with two hands instead of like scissors.
I was happy to discover one new book for this week on Christmas clearance at Walmart as well as one at our local used book store. Favorite books this week include the following: