We’re Going On A Bear Hunt: A Simple Pre-Writing Activity with just 3 resources!!

If there’s one book that has captured the hearts of children (and adults!) for generations, it’s “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen. Since its publication, this beloved children’s classic has found a permanent spot on bookshelves and in bedtime routines around the world. With its catchy, repetitive lines and vivid illustrations, it’s no wonder the book has achieved such enduring popularity.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – with a pre-writing twist

Did you know that before a child is ready to pick up a pencil and start writing, they need to know how to form pre-writing shapes first? It’s something that needs to be repeated over and over in order for it to really sink it with preschoolers.

That’s why we created this really simple ‘We’re Going on Bear Hunt’ pre-writing activity. It was an easy way to use a book we loved to practise skills needed to write.

We seem to do a lot of ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ activities around here. This is largely because familiar stories can help make activities more engaging. Bear Hunt is a very familiar story for us – we often sing it when we go on nature walks and the story is often read at bedtime as part of our evening rhythm. 


9 Pre-Writing Shapes

Before we begin with the activity in question, here are the 9 pre-writing shapes. As you can see from the photo below, these are very basic lines, crosses and shapes – the specific strokes and lines all needed to be mastered before a child can comfortably move onto other tasks such as writing their name.

Development of fine motor skills is absolutely crucial in order to build up the hand strength and pincer grip needed to hold a pencil both comfortably and accurately.

However, it’s worth noting that for this We’re Going on a Bear Hunt activity, I used a variety of other shapes and lines too.

A graphic showing the 9 pre-writing shapes that children need to master before being able to write. The shapes include a horizontal line, vertical line, circle, cross, square, diagonal lines an x shape and a triangle that can be used in a Montessori sensory salt writing tray

For this We’re Going on a Bear Hunt activity You will need:

  • Roll of paper
  • Crayons
  • Dot markers (or stickers)

How to create a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing invitation:

I simply used some of the pre-writing shapes  to create lines and shapes for my daughter (3.8 years at the time) to follow over with the dot marker. We recited the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt poem as we went along, although, as you can see from the photo above, we didn’t do it all in the usual order!

In total, we spent between 10-15 minutes on this activity, which is just right for her age.

independent play expectations by age featuring graphic of a boy dressed up as a pirate

Age Recommendations

Z was 3.8 years old and has  plenty of opportunities to develop her fine motor skills via playdough, threading, lacing and art, amongst other things. It is REALLY important that your child has had plenty of opportunities to develop their fine motor skills and hand strength before doing activities like this.

All of this means that I’m hesitant to put a specific age on this activity – but I wouldn’t suggest any younger than 3. This is because there really is plenty of time for these activities, no need to rush but rather judge when your own child is ready.

Helpful Preschool / Starting School Posts to check out next:

9 Pre-Writing Shapes for Preschoolers

9 Pre-Writing Activities to try with your Preschooler

Starting School with Confidence

How to Establish a Simple Before School Rhythm

How to Create a Simple After School Rhythm

Is your child starting school soon?

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Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.