Toddlers: Bears

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan



About a Bear by Holly Surplice***
Baby Bear’s Chairs by Jane Yolen
Bears in the Bath by Shirley Parenteau**
Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson*

Early Literacy Tip

Learning through play is relaxed, fun, and creative. Through “Sleepy Bear”, children are learning to take turns and follow directions.

Theme Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”**

Flannelboard: “Ten Teddy Bears”***

Puppet: “Sleepy Bear”**
(Tune: “Thumbkin”)
Where is bear? Where is bear?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.
(Have kids shout “WAKE UP BEAR” to do the song again.)
Credit: Preschool Education Music & Songs : Animals > Winter

Fingerplay: “Two Little Bears”***
Two little bears sat on a hill, (hold up two fingers)
One named Jack and one named Jill. (wiggle each finger)
Fly away, Jack; fly away, Jill, (put fingers behind your back)
Come back, Jack; come back, Jill. (bring fingers back)
Credit: Childhood

Song: “If You’re a Bear and You Know It”***
If you’re a panda bear and you know it, clap your paws
If you’re a polar bear and you know it, show your teeth
If you’re a grizzly bear and you know it, growl real loud
Credit: Childhood

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Dance Your Fingers Up**
  • Open, Shut Them***

How It Went

Tuesday morning
It was a hectic storytime this morning because of Veteran’s Day. I had several visiting siblings in the group and that always changes the group dynamic. Puppets were really engaging today (I had a set for “Two Little Bears” and one big one for “Sleepy Bear” — the kids were mesmerized.

Tuesday afternoon
This was a hard storytime because I only had one family (with two kids) show up. We went through the activities so fast and I felt like I was stretching to keep them entertained for the whole thirty minutes. But! This little boy has struggled so hard to open up and enjoy himself and this week, he had a breakthrough. Patience is so important!

Thursday morning
The kids in this class have our opening and closing routine down perfectly at this point in the seven week session. Also, this class had a lot of great parent involvement which I always love to see. “Brown Bear” became a chant during the flannelboard as nearly every caregiver joined in. The only downside is that there were a lot of sniffly noses. It’s getting to be cold season!

3 comments on “Toddlers: Bears

  1. Jen
    April 23, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    I’m curious how long your storytime is, and if you are using all of the 4 books and 7 songs/rhymes/flannels in your plan, or if you are planning extra so you can adjust on the fly. I’m new to storytime; have been doing storytime every other week for a 3 yr old daycare. I typically do 3 books and 5 songs/rhymes and it takes 30 min. I couldn’t imagine them lasting any longer, but I realize I’m not experienced and they don’t have parents with them to help.

    • Katie
      April 24, 2015 at 10:50 am #

      I talk about overplanning in this post:

      At my thirty minute toddler time, I generally read 1-2 books, do 1-2 flannelboards/props/puppets, 3-4 movement activities, and 2-3 songs/fingerplays.


  1. Storytime Essentials: Five Most Beloved Purchased Puppets/Sets | storytime katie - May 25, 2015

    […] bear available. (I think mine looks more friendly in the face.) This is a perennial favorite for the “Sleepy Bear” rhyme, singing “Grr Grr Went the Big Brown Bear”, hidden behind the flannelboard to eat […]

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