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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Say?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? has been a favorite book in our house, ever since Goose learned how to turn the pages. Now that he’s old enough to be learning colors and animal sounds, it’s more than just a rhythmic chant – it’s a great starting point for learning! Today I’m going to share one of our favorite games we play at night to get the last sillies out before bedtime.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Say?

We use our Brown Bear Bean Bags to play this game, so sew up a set for yourself!

I sit at one end of the room with the bean bags and hold one up so Goose can see the animal. Then I ask him a question about it, wait for a response, and throw the bean bag to the far end of the room. He then runs to get it and bring it back to me, often with a hug as well.

Here’s how this silly game is a great informal learning opportunity:

  • Visual Recognition: Goose has to look at the animal and recognize its shape and/or color.
  • Listening Skills: Goose has to listen to the question, because I often mix them up.
  • Cooperation: Goose is following my directions to run and get the bean bag, and I always thank him when he brings it back to me.
  • Oral Language Practice: Goose responds to the questions orally before running to the other end of the room.
  • Gross Motor: Goose is running (or hopping, as you will read later) to the bag and squatting to pick it up.
  • Physics: Goose watches the bag’s parabolic motion as it flies through the air.

Here are some sample questions:

  • What animal is this?
  • What color is this?
  • What does the Blue Horse say?
    • It’s especially important to put the color and animal information into the question if he has been struggling with the previous questions. Kids learn language through exposure, not instruction. Telling him he is wrong will only frustrate him, but demonstrating what is right will help him learn.
  • This is the Red Bird. How do you sign bird?
    • We did some ASL early on and would often sign the animals in the book. This game would be a great way to teach the signs if you aren’t familiar with them already.
  • What does the Green Frog do?
    • Sometimes he will say “hop hop”, and sometimes he will just hop over to the other side of the room. Either way, he is communicating his answer, and I don’t make him stop the fun to give an oral answer because this is a game, not a quiz.

When Goose gets more oral language, I can’t wait to play this game with rhythm – clapping out a beat while asking, “Goose-boy, Goose-boy, What do you see?” This could also be a fun game for a playdate, but with supervision to keep the bean bags flying low and away from breakables!

What else can you do with this game? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.

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