I am super excited to share with you a 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt's' Small World we have made!
If you follow us over on Instagram you will know that we are very outdoorsy. Whilst out on our ventures it's common for stories to creep into what we are doing and we enjoy reciting and chanting parts of the story. We're Going on A Bear Hunt is one that we do quite often, especially as we reach the squelchy mud!
It's a story that's been a favourite world wide for a quarter of a century - children (and adults) love it! If you haven't seen the animation that they released Christmas 2016 - put it on your to do list! It's brilliant! Today I am sharing with you how you too can make a small world inspired by this wonderful book.
I was seeking for some resources to help bring the small world tray alive. I have been enjoying painting story stones lately. You may have seen the Space themed set I created. Although I do enjoy making them, they take so much time to create.
By the time I get chance to sit down and paint the spark with the children has sometimes well and truly gone. I decided to have a search online and that's when I came across Emma's business - Through Play we Learn. We had Emma do a guest post recently on our blog sharing the importance of Loose Part Play for developing learning.
I approached Emma about making some items for this story. To no suprize Emma already makes a wonderful set for We're Going on a Bear Hunt including peg dolls for all the family and story stones to help mark the different areas featured in the story and great for sequencing!
The items arrived promptly, wrapped in bubble wrap to keep them protected and packaged in a beautiful stripy bag!
I was so excited to open them and the attention to detail really pleased me! I just love he furry ears on the animals! (You can purchase the set from here too - Through Play We Learn)
It was time to get to work and get a small world for one put together. Seeing as this was for my daughter to play with I wanted to try and create something on a smaller, more intimate scale. We have used the Tuff Trays, Welly Trays and Planting Trays in our small worlds which are excellent for more than one child playing alongside one another.
I had found trays but they had handles cut out making them unsuitable to fill. I was up cleaning my daughters bedroom, adamant to be ruthless and throw unused items away. I came across a stamping set I brought and the tray was taking up much more room than the stampers needed - so I transferred them into something smaller and initially went to throw the tray away!
I don't know about you but I do find it difficult to throw out items. When you work with children there are so many differed uses for things! You can guarantee the moment the bin man has been the items you have dis-guarded spring to mind being the perfect materials for a new project!
Luckily I didn't make the bin before realising actually this would make the perfect box for a lap small world. The box is created by Melissa and Doug and comes complete with lots of ink and stampers! If you have a set lying around you may want to empty it and utilise it!
I have a box full of odds and sods that I have collected over the years. All different materials - it was my first go to when thinking about the textures I would need. I have some artificial grass samples. You can approach any company selling artificial grass and ask them to send you some samples. Many companies do offer this for free but I would always encourage you to be honest about your idea of use and offer to cover costs. I have pretty large samples and only paid £1 a piece. I was contacted by a follower of the blog telling me she had found the rectangular slices of fake grass on sale in B&Q for only £2 each. So that maybe another shop to check out.
I used a slice of brown leather fabric to represent the mud. Trees and bushes I have in a train track set. Tin foil to construct a pathway for the river (which I filled with blue water beads). Artificial snow I brought over Christmas and split peas for the forest.
To make the cave I used brown paper scrunched up. I made sure there was a little hole which my daughter pointed out right away.
I was quite egar to add the stones and characters as I was really pleased to see how it all came together.
My daughter couldn't wait to get stuck in and was busy taking on the role of all characters including a deep, gloomy voice for the bear! She was able to sequence the story well and that was something I could observe just from watching her play and the order she went about visiting the areas on the tray!
The snowy area in particular proved to be a hit! I don't think it's any suprize that Frozen soon crept into this small world.... 'Let it gggoooooooooooo'.
It wouldn't be right to not share a visual 'how to guide' on how I put this tray together, complete with a little bit of play time of course so here it is.
Small worlds are really so much fun to put together. They work brilliantly at getting children engaged. You can bring to life stories that are close to their hearts. Give a hands on insight to any topic work and ignite the imagination.
I used to love using small world set ups with children who would struggle with writing. I found the visual set ups really helped them focus and piece together their work. It provided the opportunity to break away from their writing when it got a little too much and move items around in the tray before continuing.
Pictures are great but sometimes physical objects to move and touch are much more beneficial. Once you start gathering materials for small world play you will soon discover that many of the same materials can be used within other small worlds too.
Have you enjoyed any We're Going on a Bear Hunt inspired activities?
I would love to see what you have been busy doing!
Do get intouch with us and show us your photos!
Until then keep Learning and Exploring Though Play!