Updated: May 26, 2021
A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
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Learning with Lovable Friends
Teddy Bears are a symbol of childhood. They are friends, confidants and cuddle companions. I loved that this unit gave us an opportunity to include them in our learning and that doing so naturally turned into role play. The teddy bears' (and other furry friends) picnic was the perfect culmination of this unit and one of those memorable activities that made me so grateful to be his first teacher.
Building Background Knowledge
Most people know that the teddy bear is named after President Theodore Roosevelt. If you want the full story, you can read Who Invented the Teddy Bear? but you may want to censor it for small children. Beyond that, children are usually already pretty familiar with these cuddly companions.
In addition you may want to think about teaching vocabulary words like "porridge" or "picnic" before reading. We actually made oatmeal to get the full effect.
Teddy Bear Picnic Song by Anne Murray
Animated Story: We're Going on a Bear Hunt
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Alperin, Mara
Where's My Teddy? - Alborough, Jez
We're Going on a Bear Hunt* - Rosen, Micheal
Corduroy* - Freeman, Don (diverse characters)
Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light - Stott, Apryl
The Teddy Bear Picnic - Kennedy, Jimmy
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also the suggested books in another unit.
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear - Mattick, Lindsay
Winnie: The True Story of The Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh - Walker, Sally M.
National Geographic Readers: All About Bears - National Geographic Kids
American Black Bears - Kolpin, Molly
Which is round? Which is bigger?* - Mamada, Mineko
Teddy Bear Patterns (McGrath Math) - McGrath, Barbara Barbieri
Too hot? Too cold?: Keeping Body Temperature Just Right - Arnold, Caroline
Paddington* - Bond, Michael
The Curious Cares of Bears - Florian, Douglas
Bear Snores On* - Wilson, Karma <-- More in the "Bear" Series
Bear Has a Story to Tell - Stead, Philip C.
Old Bear - Henkes, Kevin
Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne
Honey - Stein, David Ezra
Baby Bear - Nelson, Kadir
Something About a Bear - Morris, Jackie <-- Beautiful illustrations of bears around the world
Orange Pear Apple Bear - Gravett, Emily
Any of the Berenstain Bears books - Stan and Jan Berenstain
Big Bear, Small Mouse - Wilson, Karma
Bear Sees Colors - Wilson, Karma
Who Wants An Old Teddy Bear? - Hofman, Ginnie <--This was one of my favorites as a child, but it is sadly out of print. Let me know if you find it!
Bears in Pairs - Yektai <-- Another oldie
Three Snow Bears - Brett, Jan <-- A retelling of Goldilocks with an Inuit girl and a polar bear family (diverse characters)
Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks! (The Other Side of the Story) - Loewen, Nancy
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? - Carle, Eric
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Carle, Eric
Use the Melissa & Doug Wooden Bear Dress-Up Play Set to retell the story of Goldilocks.
Practice sewing like Lisa in Corduroy with Melissa & Doug Deluxe Dress-Up Lacing Wooden Bear Play Set
Developing life skills: Visit a Build-a-Bear franchise and design your own cuddly friend to take home and care for or simply learn how to sew on a button like Lisa in Corduroy.
Field trip: Go to the zoo and see the bears. Be sure to pack a picnic!
Playdate Activities: Winnie the Pooh Honey Bee Playdate Activites
Themed Activities: Check out Toddler Approved's Three Easy Bear Themed Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
I had to front-load the concept of a picnic for my son. You may have a regular habit of eating on a blanket in the grass, but I am embarrassed to say that I wasn't sure that my toddler even knew what a picnic was, much less what it was called. So before we hosted our teddy bears' picnic, I made sure to talk about and show him pictures of people picnicking. When the time came, my toddler knew exactly what to do!
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Guides→ Teddy Bears
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!
Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 8 - Things Go Together
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses