Play the Game of Going on a Bear Hunt!
Children love to explore and search. A great hunting game which provides lots of fun and excitement is “Going on a Bear Hunt.” Inspired by the old camp chant, and the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen [Candlewick Press, 1989], the following game was created and played by my family and I. The rules are as follows and are for either indoor or outdoor.
Although Bear Hunt can be played with just two people, it is best with at least three or more. The game is much like hide and seek, but in the reverse. Instead of one person being ‘it’ and needing to find all others; the person who is ‘it’ is the Bear, and is the player who needs to hide. All other players will walk together and ‘go on a bear hunt.’
The game is awesome to play at night when bears are commonly known to be out and about. The darkness adds to the thrills of the hunt. Dim lights (or a porch light if playing outside) could be decided to be left on if smaller children are playing. The game of hunting bears shouldn’t be too frightening (only a little.)
To begin the game, first identify the playing area. If outside, define the boundaries for which players need to stay within. For inside play, specify any off limit spaces. After one player is chosen to be the Bear, he goes and hides in this designated playing field. All others will count to 50 (slowly), allowing the Bear time to hide. After 50 is reached, they can begin their hunt for the Bear!
Walking through the house together (or outside) they search for the Bear saying the words written in the book:
“We’re going on Bear Hunt! We’re going to catch a Big One! We’re not scared!” (but, of course they are.)
Each time they enter a new room of the house, or a different section of the outside area, they say, again words from the book, “We have to go through it!” and continue searching and saying, “We’re going on a Bear Hunt! We’re going to catch a Big One! We’re not scared!” (but, they are getting more so.)
Then…..when the Bear has been discovered……the searchers all scream,
“It’s a Bear!”
Upon the Bear being found, players have a few choices (decided before playing).
- They can end the game immediately, and choose another Bear to hide.
- If playing outside, they can decide to have the Bear chase and tag one of the searchers to determine who the next ‘Bear’ is.
- If playing inside, they can do something similar to the book. The Bear growls and all searchers run off to bed to hide under the covers and say, “We’re not going on a bear hunt again!” (but, of course they will.)
Going on a Bear Hunt is great to play indoors or out. The thrills of a hunt are experienced by all and offer families and friends an activity to enjoy and remember together. My family still talks about the many bear hunts we went on! Dads make fantastic bears!
Play a game today!