I have to be absolutely honest with you all….. I had never heard about Michael Rosen’s adventurous tale ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ before seeing it on TV last Christmas. However, all three of us absolutely loved every bit of its fairly simple but imaginative storyline: Four children heading out on a ramble chanting a silly song about hunting a bear. They get a bit wet, they get a bit muddy and they get a bit scared, but in the end it all works out fine!
Although it was a joy to watch even as an adult, neither of us were as excited as little Oskar who has been bear-obsessed ever since. As little boys often do, he seems to have picked up on one particular line in the TV version of the story, and has been entertaining us with the chant “we’re going on a poo hunt, we’re going to catch a big one!” for the last month or so. Great.
Feeding his bear-hunt addiction, we bought Oskar a copy of the original 1989 book and then entirely unknowingly, an old school mate invited us all up to Cheshire to take part in….wait for it….. A real life bear hunt! (OK, so not real bears, but our very own little bear hunt). Awesome!
So last weekend, we headed to Wacky Woods (yep, that’s what it is called!) just outside Adlington ready to hunt some bears. Within minutes of arriving we realised that this was an adventure that was going to require the full support of our water (and mud-) proof attire! After a quick change of clothes in the parking lot we continued into the woods and gathered around the fire pit together with the 20-or so other families who’d also defied the weather.
After a quick welcome and a rundown of the mornings programme the storytelling began with a lovely rendition of the Bear Hunt story, in the pop-up version. All little ears and eyes around the pit were fixed, enjoying the story, but anxious for it to finish so that they could head off on their own adventure. Soon enough, all the little ones were heading off, following the laid-out trail through the forest, dragging parents with them. They travelled through long, wavy grass (swishy swashy), round the edge of a deep cold river (splash splosh), through LOTS and LOTS of thick oozy mud (squelch squerch), through the big dark forest (stumble trip), through a swirling whirling snowstorm (OK – through a small patch of pretend snow…. Wooo hooooo), and into a narrow gloomy cave (tiptoe tiptoe)….. and inside the cave waiting for them all was a little soft furry teddy bear; one for each child to keep. When you see the photo below, you will see just how over the moon Oskar was at finding his own bear. So simple. So cute. It was such a great adventure for them. We felt so happy watching his joy. But this pride soon vanished when we asked Oskar what he wanted to call his new bear, to which he shouted loudly “Mr Wee Wee Head”. Fantastic. After some debate, we settled for “Mr Bear”. This ingenious and creative name will sit alongside his other teddies… Big Ted, Little Ted (cardboard box), Doggy, Big Dog, Black Dog and Hammerhead. What a creative soul.
We then all trudged back towards the fire pit where the fire was now roaring; it was time for hot chocolate and for toasting marshmallows over the flames – another great outdoorsy activity that quickly had the kids (and adults) engaged. Who doesn’t love a toasted marshmallow?
The morning ended with a bit of free play on the Wacky Woods’ challenging play area, packed with child (and mud)-friendly activities such as a mud-slide, wooden balance beams, rope swings and secret dens. Every single child was in their absolute element… they were filthy dirty and happy as Larry.
It had been an absolutely brilliant morning and as always we were reminded that outdoor fun is the best fun you can possibly have as a family!
Thanks to Mark and his team from Learning In The Woods for organising this event. We’re excited to hear what you’ll be hosting next!