My kids are eager for sledding and snowmen, but this time of year just makes me want to curl up and hibernate like a bear. This story time is for the sledders, the hibernators, and all animals fans alike.
I was excited when I read that Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming was the Virtual Book Club for Kids featured title this week. Denise Fleming has written some of our favorite books.
My kids love nature and outside that are the focus of most of her books. Barnyard Banter, Beetle Bop, and Underground are just 3 of our favorites about animals and nature by Fleming. She’s a great author to introduce to kids and families.
Note: Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
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Books about Bears
Featured Book: Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
Winter is coming, Bear knows it is time for his winter nap. However first Bear wants to tell snail. The snail in turn wants to tell seal. A relay of sorts goes through the woods, until ladybug crawls back to a very sleepy bear. Sweet bedtime story and discussion of winter.
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
A bear is asleep in his cave and one by one animals gather. Will they wake up the sleeping bear? This is one of my all time favorite books to read aloud. It is perfectly paced and building beautifully to a climax. I love to play with volume and pacing when I read it aloud to draw in my listeners. On top of that, it is just a fun and suspenseful story.
Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
There are a lot of versions of this book, but Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations can’t be beat. This is another fun one to read aloud because it is full of excellent words, repetitive phrases, and again that building tension. A family is going on a bear hunt, which includes all kinds of positional vocabulary, but what will happen when they ultimately find a bear? Fun book for story time! You can watch Michael Rosen tell the story here!
Read Also: Hoot Owl Story Time
Songs + Rhymes about Bears
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear from Kiboomers
Act out We’re Going on a Bear Hunt after you read it.
Bear Brain Breaks from Sugar Aunts
Sorting Animals Story Time Group Activity
Many kids this age adore animals and will be obsessed with all the characters in this book.
We talked a lot about big and little in other group times and activities, so this activity introduced the idea of Medium. If you are interested in doing this activity with younger toddlers you could eliminate the word Medium and just sort into 2 categories.
Download and print out the Animal Sorting Cards. Cut them out and laminate for durability.
You will also need:
Velcro to attach cards to a felt board or Masking Tape
Felt Board or Other Surface to tape cards to during group time
On the board I attached the words: Big, Medium, and Little. I read each word aloud and we practiced saying them while stretching our arms to demonstrate the different size.
For example, we read “Big!” in a loud voice and stretched our arms out as wide as they could go.
Then I showed my preschoolers the Animal Sorting Cards for the characters from Time to Sleep and explained that we were going to sort them into Big, Medium and Little.
We went back through the book again and this time we taped each character onto our chart as they appeared in the story. To make it more fun and interactive, we also pretended to move like each character.
We did this as a group with them calling out which word they think best represented the animal. If you are working with a smaller group or at home, your preschoolers could help attach the animals to the correct spot on your chart.
Me: “Let’s see. What’s this animal called?” (Holding up the bear card)
Kids: “A bear!!”
Me: “Show me with your hands, is the bear Big, Medium or Little?” (Holding the card below the different words)
Kids: “Big” (Stretching their hands out wide like we practiced at the beginning of the activity)
Me: “What does a bear sound like?”
Kids: Loud roaring
Continue through the story until all the animals are sorted.
- Older kids might want to also work together to put the animals into order from biggest to smallest or smallest to biggest.
- The cards can also be used to retell the story in your literacy area after story time if you’re doing this in a classroom.
The Goodbye Train is Leaving. (Watch on YouTube) from Jbrary
Table Invitations about Bears
Here are some awesome ideas for after story time from my Virtual Book Club for Kids co-hosts. They would work great at home or with a larger group in a classroom or at the library.
Alphabet Activity: Upper & Lowercase Bear Themed Puzzles from Sea of Knowledge
Alphabet Activity: Bear Paw Alphabet Tracks from Inspiration Laboratories
Name Activity: Bear Paw Names from Rainy Day Mum
Cooking Activity: Teddy Bear Bread from Messy Little Monster
Cooking Activity: Bear Paw Cookies from Clare’s Little Tots
Cooking Activity: Three Easy Bear Themed Activities for Toddlers + Preschoolers from Toddler Approved
Color Activity: Color Games for Kids with a Bear Theme from JDaniel4s Mom
Color Activity: Dress Up Bears from Mama Smiles
Pre-Writing Activity: Preschool Bear Craft from Preschool Powol Packets
Pre-Writing Activity: Bird Seed Craft for Kids from Views from a Step Stool
Shapes Activity: Build a Shape Bear Paper Craft + Printable from To Be a Kid Again