This book is so cute and sweet and makes a great bedtime story, but if your littles like it as much as mine did, they will want to read it any hour of the day. It’s also a great way for littles to examine their fear of the dark and to see that it is nothing to be afraid of. Barbara Firth’s illustrations are soft and lovely, with all the wondrous personifications a little likes to see in his story time animals. Big Bear’s patience with Little Bear’s fears is gentle and soothing, and a bit of a reminder to us mamas who are dead on our feet at then end of a long mama-ing day to take our littles’ feelings seriously and address them without frustration. Win.
But if you’re going to read this book at a time other than bedtime, you’re going to need some activities to go with it, now aren’t you? And you know how I love to provide them! So let’s get to it.
Because the personification of this book is such a wonderful feature, take some time to talk to your little about how storytellers use it to help us relate to our own feelings and to animals and other objects in our world. This free personification worksheet is in my subscriber freebies.
Want a fun way to make your littles less scared of the dark! Teach them to make shadow puppets! You can have a conversation about how without dark the light wouldn’t be so cool. Blifaloo has a great pictorial to give you some ideas.
Have your littles move their light closer to their hands and farther away so they can see the difference proximity makes in the shadow. Explain to them that their hands interrupt the light, causing the shadow to appear on the wall, the same as their whole-body shadows on a sunny day. The dark is easier to understand when you realize it’s caused by an object being between you and the light. And knowledge trumps fear. There’s a really great lesson plan on ARTSEDGE if you want to study shadows more deeply. It’s for 6-8 grade, but I think you could easily tweak it for any age. You got this.
Big Bear brings bigger and bigger lanterns to Little Bear’s bedside to chase the shadows away. Your little can make his own lantern night light with a few simple supplies.
What you need:
- 8 1/2 x 11 paper (I cut down some pretty scrapbooking paper with my handy dandy paper cutter)
- Double-sided tape (or you could use a stapler, but the tape gives a cleaner finish)
- Flameless tealight candle
What you do:
- Easy peasy. If you’re paper is not already 8 1/2 x 11, cut it down. Either way, you need to cut a 1-inch strip from it first thing (it doesn’t matter from which side) for the handle.
- Fold the paper in half longways
- Mark a 1-inch strip along the unfolded edge. This is the part you won’t cut.
- Mark 1-inch strips off from the folded edge to your original mark
- Cut those strips
- Unfold paper
- Put a strip of double-sided tape along the front of one short edge
- Roll the paper so that the two short edges meet up
- Press down onto tape (or if you’re using a stapler, staple the top and bottom and somewhere near the middle)
- Put a piece of tape on the front edge of each end of your 1-inch strip. Attach to either side of the lantern from the inside
- (or staple it)
- Turn on your flameless candle and put the lantern over it.
I told you this was easy.
Bears and honey, duh.
Peanut Butter Honey Balls
I’m telling you. Easy. And Healthy. Not making this up.
What you need:
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
What you do:
- Dump all that in a bowl
- Stir it around
- When it’s all mixed together, grease your hands
- Roll into 1-inch balls
Told you I wasn’t making it up. Now, you can add chocolate chips or dried fruit or whatever else tickles your fancy (about 1/2 cup will do), but this basic recipe is delicious and good for your littles. Also, you can refrigerate them for an hour or so to harden them a bit, but if your littles are like mine, they aren’t going to want to wait. And that’s okay. Their pretty good while still slightly gooey.
Next time your little can’t sleep or is feeling afraid of the dark, pull out this bag of tricks and teach him something. Yeah yeah, my friends. That’s the stuff.