We’ve been going on bear hunts for at least two years. You could say we’re bear hunt experts. We’ve hunted for big bears and small bears. We’ve hunted with our friends and we’ve hunted by ourselves. We’ve hunted indoors and we’ve hunted outdoors.
In fact, I think we’re pretty close to being honorary bear hunters.
Today’s bear hunt was a different one. Today our little Playmobil friends got to have a turn. Of course we were there every step of the way to provide encouragement and practical advice, the way only a four year old can.
Read on and see how it all went down.
The Original Bear Hunt
In the very unlikely event that you have no idea what I am talking about: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic children’s book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
It’s a captivating story about a family going on a bear hunt … Now, sit back and relax as you are about to relive the epic adventure one more time, in a small world sensory play kind of way. Enjoy!
Setting up our Small World Sensory Play Scene
In setting up our small world sensory play scene, we kept it simple this time. I set up a little small world, featuring the most important parts of the story. The 5 challenges (grass, water, mud, forest, snowstorm) our family encounters on their journey are presented in little sensory bins.
The images speak for themselves, but I’ll talk you through each one in case you’d like to recreate this gorgeous little small world at home yourself.
I grabbed a little basket, put it on it’s side so it could serve as ‘house’. I set up a little table and chair downstairs and put one of our large diy felt sleeping bags upstairs. Then I quickly made a ‘wall with a door’ from a cereal box and some craft paper. I figured my daughter would like to play out the important part of closing the door for the bear at the end of the story.
We decided on using some of our Playmobil people to act out the story. You may have noticed the big sister (my daughter keeps insisting she is the mommy) is in her fairy outfit today. That’s because she really is a fairy in real life. If you want to have a look at the very popular Playmobil fairy set(s), you can do that here.
I have no idea where that dog came from! It was just there one day. I think the dog in story is more of a border collie. (I don’t know anything about dogs! It looks like this.)
But anyway, our family is ready to set out on their bear hunt adventure.
The first stop is the long wavy grass. I put a piece of green felt on the bottom and simply added some freshly cut grass from our own back yard.
After they’ve made their way down the grassy hill, they get to a deep, cold river. I put a blue piece of fabric in the plastic container, added water, some little rocks and glass gems.
Then there’s mud, oozy, oozy mud. I loved preparing this little sensory bin. I took some sand from our sandpit and added water, sticks and stones. My daughter thought this was the most fun ever and the people walked around in the mud for a long long time.
For the forest I filled the plastic container with dirt. I cut a few tiny branches from trees and bushes around our home. To keep then standing up I stuck them in some clay. Playdough would do the trick too. Then I also ‘planted’ some leaves as shrubs and sprinkled some grass and pieces of decayed leaves to make the forest floor look a bit more realistic. (Well, as much as that is possible in a little plastic container!)
After the forest comes the snowstorm. This was easy, as I simply threw in some wool (you could also use synthetic stuffing).
Then things got real. We’ve gotten to the cave. The cave is a book, covered with grey fabric. Inside is a cute looking stuffed teddy bear. Besides he cave is blue linen representing the sea, and lots of rocks and shells. If the book is large enough you can really create a space for those little hands to go in and feel around: rocks, something fluffy, eyes, nose, … A BEAR!
The bear chases the family all the way back to their home. Daddy luckily manages to close the door just in time. Everyone goes upstairs to hide under the blanket. “We’re never going on a bear hunt ever again!”
In the distance the bear has returned to his cave, he’s going back to sleep. He doesn’t like people waking him up.
And that’s how simple it is. Lots of small world and sensory play fun.
The Importance of Small World Play
If you’re a regular visitor of this blog you’ll know that I just love small world play. I’ve written a great post about small world play, how it could benefit children in their development and how you can easily create them at home.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, you might want to have a look at some amazing small worlds I’ve created, you can find them all here.
Loved this post? You can pin it here.
This is such an amazing small work that you have created — love it! I love all the little details… wish we could come over for a play 🙂
Helena @ babyfoote says
That is brilliant! Now I wish we had some playmobile, or just any kind of people. We kind of just go for cars and trains here! I’m sure my son would love this – We’re Going On a Bear Hunt is one of our favourites.
Have you seen Michael Rosen reading it on YouTube? It’s like a song 🙂
Ann Maes says
Thanks! It’s well worth getting some Playmobil at some stage, we use those little people for just about any play! You’re not the first one I hear talking about being overtaken by cars and trains, lol. I haven’t seen the you tube video yet but I grew up with the bear hunt song we sang when I was little. I never realised it was a book until I had children of my own! (I know, under what rock have I been living?)
Nicola - Multicraftingmummy says
My daughter received a copy of this for her birthday recently and is fast becoming a favourite with her. The only problem is i can’t seem to read it, it just has to be sung!!!
Lovely idea for a small world play set up. Thanks for linking it to Family Frugal LInky
Ann Maes says
Lol, it’s a common problem!
Marianne Botting says
I love this idea! My son and I act out this story regularly in the local park. I know he would love this small world. Thank you for sharing!
Ann Maes says
You’re welcome! It’s nice to hear I’m not the only parent hunting for bears in public places!