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Brown Bear, Brown Bear Book Themed Sensory Tub

Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?
I see a sensory tub waiting for me!!

One of the very best books for young children is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (words by Bill Martin Jr and colourful illustrations by Eric Carle). The predictability, pattern and repetitive text paired with simple colours and animals invites young children to ‘read’ this book long before they learn to recognise words.

It is lots of fun to bring your child’s favourite books to life (you can also see the small world we created for We’re Going On a Bear Hunt here), and it doesn’t have to be difficult to do. As sensory play is so beneficial to learning we decided to experiment with make a Brown Bear inspired sensory tub, and it was a hit!

Brown Bear Brown Bear Book Inspired Colourful Sensory Tub

You might be familiar with dying rice or pasta for sensory play, but something a little different is colouring dried beans and it’s easy to do.

How to Colour Dried Beans

How to dye white beans

1. You will need white beans, food colouring and, my secret ingredient, hand sanitizer (I’ve found that by adding this to the mixture, it sets the colour so that it wont rub off on little hands.
2. Pop the beans into a zip lock bag with a splash of food colouring and a dash of hand sanitizer (the more food colouring, the brighter the colour will be).
3. Shake it all around – get your little one to help with this part!
4. Spread the beans out on paper towel to dry for an hour or two.
5. Then you’re ready to play!

Please note: this sensory play activity is only suitable for children well past the ‘putting-everything-in-their-mouth’ phase and should be closely supervised by an adult.

Brown Bear Brown Bear Book Inspired Sensory Tub

To go with this sensory tub, Little Miss and I made each of the animals from the story with this printable. She coloured them in, and I laminated them and cut them out (they’re available in colour too if your child isn’t as interested in colouring). These are a great resource for story sequencing.

I placed each colour into the sensory tub, in the order the animals appear in the book. Then the animals took their place and it was ready to be revealed to Little Miss 3. Together we re-told the story using one of her little brown teddy bears as ‘Brown Bear’.

Brown Bear Brown Bear Activity Ideas

Of course the colours didn’t stay separate for long, but that’s part of the fun. Even when all mixed together, Miss 3 was more than happy to play with them for ages.

Brown Bear Brown Bear Sensory Tub

Favourite book + sensory play = FUN!

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9 Ways to Explore Emotions with Toddlers and Preschoolers Fabulous Picture Books About Emotions



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