bear snores onI like doing a bear storytime during this time of year because we talk about hibernation. It’s always fun to see which kids actually know the word hibernation. Most of them know that bears like to sleep until spring and that animals gather food to save during the winter. Those smarty pants. The first book we read is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson because it’s about hibernation and bear is one of their familiar friends from the other books we read. See Sick/Get Well storytime, etc. So, again, I like this because it has a cadence and rhymes. The kids like that the friends are always there to help out. This is a great book for teaching social/emotional standards. You can see bear’s facial expressions. I ask the kids, will the bear be happy, angry or sad when he wakes up. The kids say things like happy because his friends are with him; angry because he’s a bear and could eat those animals and they woke him up; or sad because he missed the party. It’s heartwarming. And then they confirm their predictions by looking at the illustrations.

To get their fidgeting out, we do the “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” song. The kids caught on this year to the fact that the bear goes to bed at the end, and they were like, we’re hibernating! And then of course it took a couple of minutes to wake those crazy kids up because they thought it was hilarious.

Old Bear by Kevin HenkesNext, we read Old Bear by Kevin Henkes. I know these aren’t new books, but they’re more of the newer classics. They always work. The kids really liked the imaginative paintings in this book. I ask them to identify the season of that page based on the color and picture clues. I ask them what they would dream about it they were a bear in hibernation (this group is super literal “fish” “spring”). We talked a little bit about each picture because, as you know, the pages don’t have a lot of text. They liked bear’s surprised face and they always like being “right” when they guessed the season would be spring when he woke up.

Our fingerplay was “Sleepy Bear,” which is a piggy back rhyme for Where is 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.

Wake up bear! (repeat)

GoldilocksOur flannel follows Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I use Amanda Askew’s version of the book because it is pretty simple, but not too much, and the pictures are pretty but still easy to see. The kids finally caught on to this familiar tale and they enjoyed making the papa bear, mama bear, and baby bear voices. Warning: the kids were getting visibly upset that all of baby bear’s stuff was getting ruined. So much empathy… precious.