"We're going on a bear hunt
We're going to catch a big one
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared..."
We're going on a bear hunt is one of my baby's favourite books. So, inspired by Jennie's Messy Play for Matilda Mae project, but not realising there was a Pink and Purple theme this week (doh!), we went on our own bear hunt in the garden.
First, we watched Michael Rosen performing his brilliant story on YouTube. My girl found his 'Oh no!' head-slapping action hilarious. I've had to up my story-telling game since.
I then spent a lot of time plotting and shopping. Finally, I'd collected all the stuff and I laid it out for her during her afternoon nap. She's a bit young for all this, I know. But I had fun preparing it.
First up: long wavy grass. We don't have anything approaching a lawn, so I used a pot of chives. We ran our hands through the stems, pulled the ends off with our fingernails and sniffed their oniony scent. Swishy, swashy, swishy, swashy...
Next: the river. The deep, cold river. Our river in the old baby bath wasn't cold (that felt mean) and it wasn't very deep either. But to make it more fun, we dropped a splash of blue food colouring into the pool. We watched the inky clouds curl through the water and my daughter got stuck in, stirring it with her hands, her colouring pencil and then her feet. She was wearing a swimming nappy, just in case...
Then it was time for the mud. Thick oozy mud - the messiest part of our messy play afternoon. I made it with chocolate custard (a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder added to our usual Bird's Eye) and I thought she'd sense straight away that she should eat it. But no. We made patterns, handprints then footprints, though she wan't mad keen on the squidge between her toes.
So we moved onto the forest, the big dark forest. This was more for decoration really, although we did end up pulling the twigs out of their playdough bases and dropping them in the 'river'.
There are probably hundreds of messy play ways to create a swirling, whirling snowstorm. But we blew bubbles. This turned out to be my girl's favourite thing by far. She didn't want to stop.
But it started to rain as our bubbles drifted to the sky, so we retreated to the narrow gloomy cave for a bear's eye view of the adventure.
And then we found him! One shiny wet nose, two big furry ears... But he was more cuddly than scary, in the end. And a lot smaller than the goggly-eyed bear in the story. But he still tried to follow us home, into bed and under the covers.
When she's a bit older and has more of an idea what's going on, I think we might try going on a bear hunt again...