Little Hands Learning is a children’s activity box subscription service that supports your child’s learning and development through the magic of books. October’s friendship-themed box contained the 32-page book, ‘The Boy and The Bear’ written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Sarah Massini. It is a heart-warming and thoughtful story that explores the theme of friendship whilst capturing the magic of seasonal changes. The relationship in the story slowly evolves throughout which creates a lot of interesting talking points about feelings and friendships. The bear in the story also hibernates which was a completely new concept for my little girl to comprehend but it’s done so in a very sweet and gentle way.
The multi-sensory activities that accompany this month’s book (which is carefully selected by experienced teachers) are designed to explore the concept of friendships and belonging whilst bringing the story to life. October’s box included the following materials: detailed activity cards with easy-to-follow instructions, tips, keywords and interesting talking points; a game board template, crayons, wooden dice, peg dolls, a bear frame, paper and playdough.
Activity 1 – Boat
The characters in the story exchange messages on paper boats, so our first activity involved making our own origami boats by watching a video (the QR code is provivded) and following precise instructions. This was tricky for my little girl, Penny (5), however, we took our time and she was delighted with her creation. We paused and rewound the video and took our time to follow each step. She got a bit frustrated at times but managed to remain calm and focused. It was a challenging activity but this made Penny even more proud of her finished creation. She, of course, then decorated her boat using the crayons provided.
Activity 2 – Game Night
Penny and I love playing board games together so she couldn’t have been more excited to create her own. She decorated her peg dolls and got to work thinking about different challenges. Older children would also enjoy creating and experimenting with more complex rules and concepts. She wanted numbers on her squares so I made a dotted outline of each one which she then traced. This was a brilliant opportunity to develop her numeracy skills whilst having fun and being creative.
Activity 3 – Bear Hunt
For this activity, we ventured outside with our bear frame. We also used this opportunity to gather twigs, leaves, stones, and other natural treasures for our small world (activity 4). We took a calming walk through the woods next to our house and we held the bear frame up to the trees and sky to find different patterns, textures and colours. She loved placing it in front of the hay bales in the fields and the piles of leaves gathered by the side of the path. She described what she saw and identified how the leaves, weather and ground had changed. She also spotted mushrooms, acorns, and sycamore leaves. The activity cards provide lots of important talking points and helpful keywords to promote deeper thinking and understanding if your children need some inspiration but, honestly, the joy of activities like this is it’s mostly child-led. This was a peaceful activity that helped Penny to become more conscientious of the world around her and develop her awareness of the changes of the seasons.
Activity 4 – The Boy and the Bear
Penny enjoyed all of the activities in her October box but creating her own small world was her favorite. She used the playdough (which is always incredibly sort and pliable) to create the water, popped her origami boat on top, place her peg doll characters inside and decorated it with the natural treasures we found during our walk. We talked about her friends and how they are similar and different from her and how we can make new boys and girls feel welcome in her class at school.