Monday, May 14, 2012

We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Activities for Kids

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end  ~ William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

Well I'm not sure if this is meant to be true after reading a small children's picture book, but sometimes my kids are exhausted after reading We're Going on a Bear Hunt. My kids love it so much that they don't just read it but they act it out with big exaggerated movements. And the only thing I'm required to do is applaud. And applaud the author, I do! It makes a very good bedtime story. My kids are not big on sleep, so the more exhausted they are, the better

We're Going on a Bear Hunt was originally written in 1989 and is retold by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It is a beautifully written story with repetition and descriptive language that will delight your child's imagination. The illustrations are equally good with a combination of black and white and coloured drawings. The black and white are used for refrain, the parts of the story in which the characters have yet to discover what is next on their hunt. The coloured pictures are used to illustrate the actions where the characters are trying to get past obstacles.

The Bear Hunt story moved to top position as my children's favourite story last month after we were lucky enough to go and take them to see the play adaption at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney. When we sat down in our seats, I must admit that I was a little surprised at the lack of set and props. I (cynical adult) thought that they (the actors) we're going to have to work really hard to make this a worthwhile excursion. Well, I was blown away. The three actors were amazing, as were the on-stage sound effects done by another person. It was simple, but very engaging and funny. 

I wonder why after watching this play I was more impressed than I have been after watching some big stage musicals? Maybe when I expect a lot and expect a big show it is easy to find things to be disappointed by. Because every element of the performance was in it's very simplest form, it allowed me to appreciate how clever each part of the production was. I was able to use my imagination to fill in parts of the play as I wished, as I wasn't being overly visually stimulated at a rate faster than my brain could keep up with. 

I didn't think that my kids would be able to take it all in, remember it and act it out later on. How would this small dark theatre with a single box as a prop compete with the tv shows that they were used to seeing every day? Well, they did notice it, and they loved it! You can see some photos from the show here.

It's amazing how the language from a book can become part of your everyday language and kids are the best at using it! Their imaginations are fantastic, not yet moulded by the fear of sounding silly. Above is a word collage from the book that I did using Tagxedo . Below is a chant from the story that we changed for one of our visits to the library.

We're Going on a book hunt,
We're gonna borrow a good one,
We're not scared,
What a beautiful day!

Ohhh, a shiny still book!
We can't read over it,
We can't read under it,
We're going to have to read through it!

What ever it is in life you are hunting for ...... HAPPY HUNTING!

Little Ladybird