Musical Play with Teddy Bears

17th March 2014

Teddies are wonderful for children’s musical play. Teddies can line up, sit in a circle, dance with a partner and enjoy pretend picnic food. A Teddy Bears’ Picnic is a great way for everyone to join in. Through this kind of play children learn to create, listen, sing, imitate, to follow sung instructions and develop understanding of prepositions such as under, over, around, through, between, as the teddies are involved in games such as hide and seek. The CDs “Teddy Bears’ Tango” “Swing Me a Song”, and “Magical Musical Play” all have songs and games that can be included in the picnic.

Magical Musical Play - Sheet MusicTeddy Bears TangoSwing Me A Song

One of the children’s favourite activities in our music groups is dancing with their teddy on their head and waiting for the sung instruction: “and my teddy’s getting ready to jump”. They have teddy jumping from their head, shoulders, hiding behind their backs and playing peek-a-boo!  “I’ve got a Teddy Bear” track 7 “Magical Musical Play”.

Provide a collection of interesting objects and give the children the opportunity to imagine what each might be used for. Items such as a picnic rug, tea set, shells, cardboard tubes, a large carton, a laundry basket can be used to initiate an interesting range of dramatic play ideas. The tubes might be telescopes; the laundry basket a ship. The teddies might sail away to have their picnic on a treasure island. Together you and your children can make up the story, create music and bring the teddy bears picnic to life with movement and dramatic play.

Teddy Tango2 - Copy (501x640)Teddy Tango1 - Copy (490x640)

Tracks one to eight on Teddy Bears’ Tango are all songs that can be played to provide a seamless structure for the picnic. Children dance with their bear to the tango, the Cha-Cha-Cha, shake their maracas at the picnic, go marching around in a circle to the music of “Teddy Bears’ Picnic”, go to the beach and find treasure and make up their own dances with streamers, scarves and teddies to “Toby’s song”.  We change the words of track 7 “Elke’s Song” and sing “what do teddy bears like to eat? La, la, la, la, la, la, la. Children have come up with ideas such as: “Teddies like apples and chocolate cake”, “Teddy bears love honey for their lunch, gobble, gobble, gobble, munch, munch munch”.

My DVD Musical Journeys was filmed by producer Nick Hitchens who worked for the BBC Children’s Television. It illustrates many of the children’s own teddy bear and musical games as they are playing at the park, at the beach, singing the blues,  echoing songs and engaging in playful music routines.

Set out the picnic rug, invite the teddies, sing, say, dance and play together and enter the wonderful world of imaginative play.

Musical Journeys

Yesterday a group of four-year-olds sat around a large piece of organza fabric with their teddy bears. We sang about what the teddy bears would eat and their ideas included “Teddies like eating honey from the jar”, “teddies like eating apples and leaves”, teddies like salmon fish straight from the river. The children then initiated a bouncing game with teddies on the organza as we sang: “Teddy bears are bouncing up and down, see the little teddy bears bouncing up and down, all the little teddies are bouncing up and down and now get ready to jump”. The children loved seeing all the teddies flying off as we shook the organza vigorously up then down at the end of the song. This game had to be repeated several times before they decided that teddies could hide underneath the organza.

All the bears were placed underneath the organza and we all gently shook the fabric as we sang: “where oh where are all the little teddy bears? where oh where are all the little teddy bears? Where oh where are all the teddy bears? peek-a-peek-a-peek-a-peek-a- Boo!

After this activity the children lined all the bears up to “march off to bed”, lining them up so that the large bears were at the back and the smallest at the front. They were totally engrossed throughout the picnic, singing so beautifully then whispering as they each placed their bear carefully in the basket.