Island Story Time
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Island Story Time

It’s Bear-y Cold Out!

Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash

It’s getting colder outside (well, 65 is cold for Florida), so I did a story time on bears, since some types of bears are hibernating now. Here in the south, we have Florida black bears, and I was lucky enough to see one strolling alongside the tree line as I drove through on the state forests in the northern part of state.

For this story time, I had way too much fun learning about different types of bears. I also learned about the real bear species that inspired literary bears such as Paddington Bear — who is a spectacled bear — and Baloo from The Jungle Book — who is a sloth bear.

Welcome Song

It’s Island Story Time

Book #1

Little Bear Dreams Big, Paul Schmid

Game #1

Brown, Bear What Do You See?

For this chanting game, I printed pictures of different bears on cardstock and glued them to Popsicle sticks. I started by showing everyone the brown bear and stated a fun fact about them. I handed it to the first child. We chanted “brown bear, brown bear, what do you see, I see a…. [I pulled out another bear from behind my back] … polar bear looking at me!” I stated a fun fact about a polar bear and handed it to the next child. Then, we chanted “polar bear, polar bear, what do you see…” and so forth until everyone had a bear.

The last bear was a teddy bear just to be silly and cute. At this point, you could give every child a small teddy bear to keep if your budget permits. This chanting game is a lot of fun and was adapted from my Trucks Story Time where I had different trucks on sticks that “drove away” to each child as we sang to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin” (“Where is Pickup Truck”). I like this style of handing each child something as a change from them bringing something to put on the magnet board like we do with my matching games. There’s fun elements of anticipation and surprise, and they love taking the popsicle stick pics home with them to play with, which encourages them to continue to think about what we did at story time.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do See?

Brown bear, brown bear, what do see?
I see a polar bear looking at me!
Polar bear, polar bear, what do you see?
I see a sun bear looking at me!

Bear Facts:

· Sloth bears live in countries such as India and Nepal. Baloo from The Jungle Book is a sloth bear.

· Black bears live right here in Florida! They’re one of the smallest types of bears.

· Spirit bears live in British Columbia, Canada. They’re also called the Kermode bear and their fur can be very light.

· Giant pandas live in China and they love to eat bamboo.

· Sun bears live in tropical forests in places such as China. They are the smallest type of bear, but their tongues can be 10 inches long! They’re also called honey bears.

· Himalayan red bears live in places like Nepal and Tibet. Have you hear of the yeti or the abominable snow monster? Some people think Himalayan red bears inspired such stories.

· Spectacled bears live in the Andes mountains. Paddington is a spectacled bear from Peru.

· Polar bears have white fur and live in the Arctic Circle.

· Gobi bears live in Mongolia and are very rare.

· Tibetan blue bears are found in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal. They are very rare.

· Moon bears live in the Himalayas and they love to climb trees! They spend up to half of their time in trees.

· A lot of Grisly bears live in Alaska. They’re one of the biggest types of bears.

· Brown bears live all over most of the world, and a lot of bears we’re learning about today are different types of brown bears.

· Teddy bears are my favorite type of bear! The first teddy bear was sewn over 100 years ago.

Game #2

Can You Growl Like a Bear?

My story time listeners LOVE to get loud and rowdy, and this game is a perfect way to do both. I had everyone stand up and pretend to be bears. Games like this engage the parents really well, too, and there’s a lot of laughing for everyone. I asked each question and acting out the movements — which felt like a quick workout!

Can You Growl Like a Bear?

Can you growl like a bear?
Can you stand up on your hind legs like a bear?
Can you scratch your back like a bear?
Can you climb a tree like a bear?
Can you catch fish like a bear?
Can you pick berries like a bear?
Can you eat like a bear?
Can you hibernate like a bear?

Book #2

Hibernation Station, by Michelle Meadows


I found the first two songs on Jbrary (love them!) and tweaked the lyrics a bit. I also added in a classic song that most kids have heard before.

Bear is Sleeping

Grizzly Bears Are Big and Brown

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around

Book #3

Bears in the Bath, by Shirley Parenteau

Bubble Break!


Bear Den Paper Plate

One of my predecessors left this bear den paper plate craft in my craft cabinet of doom. The kids really liked it.

Supplies Needed

Paper plates (cut in half)
Cut out of bears



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