How to make a ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ Story Basket

Making a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Story Basket couldn’t be easier. All you need are some everyday resources from around your home, a few of your children’s toys and items from the craft cupboard.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is such a classic – I imagine you might just have a copy in your own home. For decades, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen has been a staple in the lives of both kids and adults alike. Ever since it was first published, this cherished children’s story has earned a lasting place in households and bedtime rituals globally. Its memorable, rhythmic phrases and colourful illustrations explain why the book continues to be a perennial favourite.

The magical rhythm of the story means it’s on high repeat at ours – our well-worn copy of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is at least 12 years old and has been a bedtime favourite for all three of my children over the years. And it’s the ‘on repeat’ nature of this book that means its perfect for bookish play too. That’s why a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers alike. It could even be used with older, school-aged children as a way to retell the story.


a toddler is exploring a We're Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

Why Create a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket?

Story baskets offer a wealth of advantages for toddlers and preschoolers, enriching their learning experience in a playful and interactive manner. Filled with objects, toys, and props that relate to a specific story or theme, these baskets bring storytelling to life, making it a multisensory experience. This tactile approach helps children better understand and remember story elements, enhancing comprehension and language skills.

Story baskets promote imaginative play, allowing kids to act out scenes, which not only aids in social and emotional development but also encourages creativity. Through this hands-on engagement, children are empowered to explore, question, and connect ideas, laying a strong foundation for literacy and critical thinking skills as they grow.

Materials you will need to make a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket:

In order to make this themed We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket, you will need some items from your craft store cupboard. If you haven’t yet started to build a collection of resources in your home, here’s a list of recommended items. 

For the Sensory Bottles we used:

  • 5 plastic bottles (we used innocent smoothie bottles)
  • Chenille sticks for grass
  • Cocoa for mud
  • Blue Ribbon for water – or water dyed blue
  • White pompoms for snow
  • Paddle pop sticks for the forest – or twigs from a nature walk

For the Basket we used :

  • Any medium-sized basket you have to hand – ours is from Flying Tiger
  • People figurines – Happy Land or Fisher Price figurines are ideal for toddlers or you can use wooden figurine instead
  • A copy of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – or the audio version
  • A brown bear figurines

As always, don’t go out and buy anything specifically for an activity – just use whatever you have to hand at home.

A baby is exploring a we're going on a bear hunt themed story basket

Alternative Ideas for a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Story Basket

Materials Needed:

  1. A Basket: A medium-sized basket to hold all your items.
  2. The Book: A copy of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen.
  3. Toy Bear: A small plush bear or bear figurine.
  4. Various Textured Materials: Things like faux grass, fabric for water, and foil for snow.
  5. Sensory Bottles: Clear plastic bottles with secure lids.
  6. Fillers for Sensory Bottles: Eco glitter, water, food colouring, small rocks, oil, etc.
  7. Additional Props: Miniature trees, toy binoculars, a small tent, etc.
  8. Small Musical Instruments or Noisemakers: For sound effects (optional).


Preparing the Basket:

  1. Start with the Book: Place a copy of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” in the basket as the central item.
  2. Add Main Characters: Place a toy bear in the basket along with any other characters you’d like to include.
  3. Textured Items: Add various materials to represent the different landscapes in the book. For example, faux grass for the “long, wavy grass,” blue fabric for the “deep, cold river,” and foil for the “snowstorm.”

Creating Sensory Bottles:

  1. Grass Bottle: Fill a bottle with green food colouring and water. Add some faux grass or green beads. Shake well and secure the lid tightly.
  2. River Bottle: Fill another bottle with water and blue food colouring. Add some small plastic fish or stones if you like. Secure the lid tightly.
  3. Mud Bottle: In another bottle, mix water, brown food colouring, and some small rocks. Shake well and secure the lid tightly.
  4. Snowstorm Bottle: Fill the last bottle with water, white glitter, and a drop of baby oil. Secure the lid tightly.

Additional Props:

  1. Incorporate Extra Items: If you have miniature trees, toy binoculars, or a small tent, add these to your basket.
  2. Sound Effects: Optionally, include small musical instruments or noisemakers to represent the different sounds that occur during the bear hunt.

Final Touches:

  1. Secure Everything: Ensure that all lids and containers are tightly closed to avoid any spills or choking hazards.
  2. Place Sensory Bottles: Nestle your sensory bottles in among the other items in the basket.


Encourage your child to explore the basket while you read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt together. Use the sensory bottles and props to bring the story to life, allowing your child to engage with the story in a tactile and sensory way.

And there you have it—a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket complete with sensory bottles! This engaging educational tool is perfect for enhancing your child’s reading and sensory experiences.

How to use a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Story Basket

  1. Read-Along Activity: Begin by reading the book and encouraging your child to pick out items from the basket that correspond to the different parts of the story. For example, a toy bear for the bear and various textured materials to represent the grass, river, and mud.
  2. Role-Playing: Use the props in the basket to act out the story. Let your child lead the adventure, perhaps even using stuffed animals as characters.
  3. Sensory Exploration: Include objects with different textures (like faux grass, rocks, or a small tub of water) in the basket. Allow your child to feel these as you read the corresponding parts of the story, enhancing their sensory experience.
  4. Sound Effects: Include small musical instruments or noise-making items to create sound effects for different parts of the story (e.g., shaking a bottle of water to represent the river).
  5. Vocabulary Building: Use the items in the basket to introduce unfamiliar words and concepts such as ‘forest,’ ‘river,’ ‘mud,’ ‘adventure,’ etc.
  6. Sequencing: After reading and playing, ask your child to use the items to retell the story in the correct order. This helps develop sequencing skills which are crucial for comprehension and cognitive development.
  7. Fine Motor Skills: Include items that require manipulation like zippers for tents, small figurines, or clasps. This helps in developing fine motor skills.
  8. Imagination Booster: After you’ve acted out the book, encourage your child to make up their own adventure story using the items in the basket.
  9. Discussion Time: Once the story and playtime are over, sit down with your child to discuss what they liked best, what they learned, and what they would do if they went on a bear hunt themselves.
  10. Math Concepts: Use the items in the basket for basic math activities. For example, you can count the number of rocks, or sort items by size or colour.

Helpful Posts to Read Next:

If you enjoyed this post on how to make a We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket, try the following posts:

How to Raise a Reader

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Pre-Writing Activity


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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.