Bear Says Thanks Book Play

The recipe was inspired by Bear Says Thanks. To learn more about the book and to see all our Bear Says Thanks activities, click here


Bear Says Thanks is brimming with opportunities for young readers to engage in creative movement as they enjoy the story. From the opening page of expressing Bear’s boredom to the movement of each animal, the book will bring out the budding actor in everyone who listens.


You are invited to Bear Say Thanks

performed by Young Readers

Your house

any time, Thanksgiving Day

  1. Simply prepare the stage, and get ready to smile as you narrate and watch your reader’s interpretation of tromping, tunneling, flapping, and flittering.  This might be just the thing for helping Thanksgiving dinner settle and making room for another piece of pie.


Happy Thanksgiving from Off the Shelf!

Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiments

This experiment project was inspired by If You Take a Mouse to School. See more If You Take a Mouse to School activities here

One of Mouse’s many adventures during his day at school is a purple, bubbling science experiment. Have some of the same bubbling science fun with your young reader by conducting a very safe baking soda and vinegar experiment that introduces chemical reaction – perfect for budding scientists!



  • 2 plastic cups
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • spoon
  • food coloring (optional)


  1. Pour a small amount of baking soda into plastic cup.

    Preschool Vinegar Baking Soda Experiment
  2. Pour a small amount of vinegar into the other plastic cup.
  3. Place a few drops of food coloring in the baking soda. (Optional)

    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

  4. Spoon or pour vinegar into the baking soda and observe the reaction! 


    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

    Baking Soda Vinegar Experiment

Science in the Kitchen 

The same bubbling effect caused by the baking soda and vinegar will happen between baking soda and any acid. Try baking up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread with your young reader. The baking soda reacts with the buttermilk in the same way it did with the vinegar. 

Once the baked bread has cooled, cut slices and observe the air pockets. Discuss how the air pockets are the bubbles created by the vinegar and baking soda in the dough and then baked right into the bread.


Inch by Inch Book Play

These activities were inspired by Leo Lionni's Inch by Inch. To learn more about the book and see all our Inch by Inch activities, click here.


The Birds of Inch by Inch

Besides the quick-witted inchworm, Inch by Inch features several beautiful birds. Depending on where you live, some of these birds might be found right in your own backyard, while others are a bit more exotic. 

Never fear! You can learn about these birds without leaving your house, let alone your backyard, using the handy Off the Shelf Inch by Inch Bird Guide.

Each of the following sites features photos of the birds, as well as an audio of their call. Use your copy of Inch by Inch to compare Lionni's interpretations to photographs featured on the sites. 

Inchworm Measuring

Make an inchworm with your reader by cutting a piece of green pipe cleaner 1-inch long. Show your reader how to measure lengths with the inchworm and then stand back and let the curiosity take over. How many inchworms long is the sofa? How many inchworms tall is the bed? The measuring possibilities are endless! 


Inch Along Like the Inchworm

Watch the video of the inchworms inching along and then have some fun moving around pretending to be inchworms.



How to move like an inchworm:

  1. Get down on all fours as if you are crawling.
  2. Move your are forward first as far out as they can go, causing your body to go low to the ground.
  3. Scoot legs forward.
  4. Repeat!


We're Going on a Bear Hunt Book Play

These activities were inspired by We're Going on a Bear Hunt . To learn more about the book and to see all our Bear Hunt activities, click here

Watch author Michael Rosen read and act out We're Going on a Bear Hunt! His enthusiasm and mannerisms are unparalleled!

Learn About Brown Bears

 Learn bears facts, see wonderful pictures and hear bear sounds with the San Diego Zoo's Brown Bear Animal Bytes. Scroll down to the bottom of the quick Facts box and click on the brown bear sound byte to hear a real brown bear.

We're Going to Find a Big One

Get ready to go on a bear hunt of your own! Follow the story, acting out each page. Some ideas:

  • How would you make your way through the long, wavy grass and the deep, cold river?
  • Would you pick your feet up high while going through the thick, oozy mud? 
  • How would you walk through a big, dark forest full of scary sounds? Make your way through the story and see if you would do it like the family in the book.

Don't forget to pack some Cherry Almond Butter sandwiches. They work equally well as sustenance or Bear Bait. Then, while you are out on the hunt, collect some dirt to try Squelch Squerch Finger Painting.


Make Way for Ducklings Book Play

Not ready to put Make Way for Ducklings back on the shelf? See our full Make Way for Ducklings post with recipe, art activity, and more!


Book Play

Waddle! Waddle!

For book play this week, ask your reader to imagine that they are one of the Mallard ducklings and waddle in a straight line. Join in the fun and waddle too, maybe having your little duckling follow you just as the ducklings followed faithfully behind Mrs. Mallard. 

Make a Duck Nest

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard build a nest in a cozy spot on an island in the Charles River. If you are really in the spirit, gather mud, grass, leaves, small twigs and pine needles and let your reader try creating a small nest.


Where in the World is Boston?

Get out your globe or map of the United States and show your young reader how to find Boston, Massachusetts, where the Mallard family makes their home.  Identify where you live as well and where Boston is in relation to your home.


Boston Public Garden

If you are lucky enough to live in or near Boston, or will be traveling there soon, take advantage of the opportunity to see where the Mallard family lived.

The beautiful Boston Public Gardens has many kid-friendly attractions, including the swan boats featured in the book, and a the Boston Common Frog Pond. During the Duckling Day Parade, held on Mother's Day, "children and their families will retrace the steps of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their family of eight ducklings."

Since 1987 there has been a statue of Mrs. Mallard leading her ducklings in the Boston Public Garden, created by artist Nancy Schön,

A similar sculpture by the same artist can be seen in Moscow. It was a gift from Mrs. Barbara Bush to Mrs. Gorbachev as a part of the START treaty. 


Learn About Mallard Ducks

With the trusty National Geographic Mallard Duck Creature Feature, you and your young reader can see pictures of male and female ducks and ducklings and learn fun facts about their habitat, what they eat, and more. 


Snowy Day Creative Movement

This activity was inspired by The Snowy Day. To learn more about the book and to see all of our Snowy Day activities, click here


Invite your reader to act out Peter’s snowy adventures as you read through the book:

  • Walk with toes pointing out
  • Walk with toes pointing in
  • Walk and drag feet s-l-o-w-l-y
  • Walk and pretend to drag a stick
  • Now take the pretend stick and smack a snow-covered tree
  • And feel the big plop of snow fall on your head!
  • Make a snowman and a snow angel.
  • Climb up a big mountain of snow then slide all the way down
  • Make a round snowball and pack it in your pocket. 


Barnyard Animal Creative Movement

The story of The Very Busy Spider involves several of the animals you would expect to find in a barnyard approaching the spider and asking it if it would like to frolic with them in their characteristic activity (such as a horse galloping). Prompt your child to act like each of the animals that visits the spider. Make sure you try it with your reader: Don't be afraid to act silly!

Can you...

  • Gallop like a horse?
  • Munch on grass like a cow?
  • Run in the meadow like a sheep?
  • Jump on the rocks like a goat?
  • Roll in the mud like a pig?
  • Chase a cat like a dog?
  • Curl up and take a nap in the sun like a cat?
  • Swim and paddle in the water like a duck?
  • Run around like a rooster and catch a pesky fly? Don’t forget to flap your wings!
  • Glide through the night sky like an owl?
  • Sleep in your web like a very busy spider?

 Learn more about Creative Movement and its benefits on our Creative Movement Page

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The Very Busy Spider

by Eric Carle


The Very Busy Spider is a wonderful tale that describes a very busy day in the life of an industrious spider. The story starts early one morning with the rising sun as the spider begins to spin her web. As the day and the web progress, the spider is visited by many barnyard friends who unsuccessfully try to distract her from her important task. Rhythmic wording, repetitive phrases and beautiful collage illustrations make this an enriching October pick.

About the Author

Eric Carle is the author and/or illustrator of some of our favorite books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar ; The Tiny Seed ; and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?.

When you visit the Eric Carle Official Website, you can learn about the author/artistsee a list of his books (over 40!)see a slideshow how Eric Carle paints his tissue papers with step-by-step photos, and see a slideshow of how he takes the painted tissue paper and makes the images. You can even visit his blog!

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in located in Amherst, Massachusetts.  Featured there are the originals of pictures from favorite children's books, including some those of Carle himself. 

In this Issue


Continue reading "The Very Busy Spider" »

More Stellaluna Activites

Learn About Bats

"Fruit bats don't drink blood and won't get caught in your hair. I hope to show them in a positive light so that they might be given more respect."

-Janell Cannon

Janell Cannon has said she wrote Stellaluna in order to demystify bats for young children. The portrayal of Stellaluna and the bat facts at the end of the book allow young children to learn about bats without the typical, scary 'Halloween' depiction. 

Young readers will enjoy watching the following video from National Geographic Kids to see bats flying and hanging upside down: Foxy Fruit Bats from NG Kids (video)

For more bat facts in addition to those featured in the back of Stellaluna, see Bat Facts for Preschoolers.


Creative Movement

Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly. Grab a bath towel and try some flying around the house. To help your reader transform into a fruit bat, drape a large bath towel over your child’s shoulders with one of the long sides running from hand to hand. Grasp one corner in each hand and FLAP! around the house.

 After all that flying through the house, you bat will need a cozy bat cave. Use a large cardboard box or a table draped with blankets to make a bat cave for dramatic play or reading bat books. Invite your young reader to “roost” in the bat cave for a batty good time!


There are many more Stellaluna activities coming up this week. Get them all in your mailbox by signing up for e-mail updates here