Michael Rosen has been one of my favourite poets ever since I received a copy of Quick, Let’s Get Out Of Here (I was 8 years old at the time), and discovered that poetry doesn’t always have to have rhymes in it. Discovering the world of free verse really helped me to develop into the pretentious person that I am today – huzzah!
When J was born, one of the first books that I bought for him was Michael Rosen’s We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. This story is based on a very old folk song, but Michael Rosen lengthened the adventure to include more varieties of terrain that the explorers have to cover in search of the elusive bear, and he also added a little twist of onomatopoeic, alliterative language which really brings life to the environment.
With its gorgeous watercolour illustrations by Helen Oxenbury and catchy rhythmic phrases, this little story quickly became one of our favourites. I have read it so many times to both J and Little E over the last 6 years, that we all know it by heart.
When the fine folk behind KidsFest 2014 invited my family to watch We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! live on stage, I was so excited about the opportunity that I grabbed the kids and did a happy dance with them in the living room! Since then, we’ve been reading the story together more often and reciting it in the car on the way to school with all the appropriate sound effects.
I did not want my kids to think that the stage show was going to visually resemble the paintings in the book, so in order to prepare my kids for the performance, I showed them the official stage show trailer, which you can see below:
By the way, if you don’t already own a copy of the book, you can get your kids familiarised with the story by letting them watch this brilliant reading of the book done by the author, Michael Rosen. This will help your child anticipate the different elements of the story in preparation for the interactive nature of the play!
Yesterday, we watched the opening performance of We’re Going On a Bear Hunt at The Drama Centre and it was absolutely marvelous! My five year old J was so caught up, he was clapping and frolicking along to the music, laughing his head off. There was plenty of audience participation, which was absolutely brilliant for my wiggly two year old Little E, who even joined in the singing towards the end.
The cast retells the story in a creative (and messy!) way with an animated and engaging performance, and the bear’s appearance at the end – although tense and exciting – is still cuddly enough to keep the younger members of the audience from freaking out.
The children were very inspired by the sets and ingenious use of props, and after the show was over, they both immediately started discussing ways they can recreate different scenes at home! I foresee some very messy craft sessions coming up in the following weeks!
Afterwards, we had the chance to meet the cast during the KidsFest+ autograph session. All of the cast members, Gareth Warren (‘Dad’), Emily Smith (‘Daughter’), Adam Collier (‘Son’) and Ben Harrison (‘Buddy the Dog’) were delightful in person and very patient with all of the children, although there was not much time for the kids to really interact and ask questions whilst being hurried along the queue.
The kids enjoyed themselves so much today, I really wanted to prolong the experience with some related activities and crafts.
Here are some brilliant learning activities that I found for kids who are fans of the book and the live stage performance! (I also think they would come in very handy for anyone planning a Bear Hunt-themed party.)
Just click on the links below to download the free handbook and printables:
KidsFest 2014 will running until the 9th February 2014 and there is something for both the tiny tots as well as the older children. I really recommend going to watch We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, but there are plenty of other shows that are worth a look!
Recommended for children aged 2-3 and above:
- The Gruffalo: 25 to 26 Jan 2014 at the Drama Centre
- What the Ladybird Heard: 21 Jan to 1 Feb 2014 at the DBS Arts Centre
- The Snow Dragon: 29 Jan to 2 Feb 2014 at the Drama Centre
- The Boy who cried Wolf: 31 Jan to 9 Feb 2014 at the DBS Arts Centre
Recommended for children aged 7-8 and above:
- Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians: 31st Jan to 1st Feb at the DBS Arts Centre
- Horrible Histories Terrible Tudors: 1 Feb to 9 Feb at the DBS Arts Centre
- Private Peaceful: 22 Jan to 2 Feb at the DBS Arts Centre