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Going on a Bear Hunt - A Teacher's Guide

Updated on May 11, 2014

Going on a Bear Hunt - Song Lyrics, Activities, Lesson Plans, Worksheets

Going on a Bear Hunt is a classic camp and circle-time song and story book for preschoolers and primary-age children. The clap-slap song, with lots of hand motions, is about a hunting party that bravely sets out to find a bear. The party encounters various obstacles like tall grass, a river, mud, a blizzard, and a dark cave before finding the bear. Once they find the bear, their courage leaves them and they hurriedly retrace their steps back home. Going on a Bear Hunt is fun as an icebreaker, a mini-lesson in rhythm or attentiveness, or as a unique way to introduce a lesson about bears.

Read on for Bear Hunt lyrics, Bear Hunt activities, lesson plans, and printables. Don't miss the video of author Michael Rosen performing his popular version of the traditional song.

Photo by Emily Walker

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"Going on a Bear Hunt" Lyrics

Do the Bear Hunt Chant

Like most songs of this sort, there are many different versions. Here are some sample lyrics, but feel free to make up your own. That's part of the fun.

Going on a Bear Hunt (tap legs in walking rhythm)

Gonna catch a big one

I'm not afraid

What's that up ahead? (shade eyes)

Oh no! Tall grass

Can't go over it (hands high)

Can't go under it (hands low)

Gotta go through it

Swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish (wave arms back and forth)

Repeat all of the above, and replace the part in italics with

A wide river

Splish splash, splish splash, splish splash, splish splash (swimming motions)

Yucky mud

Squish, squish, squish, squish, squish, squish, squish, squish (stepping motions)

A dark forest

Stumble, trip, stumble, trip, stumble, trip, stumble, trip

A big snowstorm

Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo (wave arm, cover face)

A dark cave

Tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe (tiptoe stepping motions)

What's that?

Fuzzy fur

Big eyes

Wet nose

Sharp teeth

It's a bear!

Back through the cave

Tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe (tiptoe stepping motions, double time)

(Retrace steps at double time)

We're not going on a bear hunt again!

Photo by Ted

"We're Going on a Bear Hunt" Book - The One to Have

This book with lyrics by Michael Rosen and Pictures by Helen Oxenbury is the best of several based on the Bear Hunt chant. I use it with my students and they love it. We have it in Japanese too for my English language learners. Be sure to check out the video of the author reading (performing) this story.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic
We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic

"A father and his four children--a toddler, a preschool boy and two older girls--go on the traditional bear hunt based on the old camp chant: "We're going to catch a big one. / What a beautiful day! / We're not scared. / Oh-oh! Grass! / Long, wavy grass. / We can't go over it. / We can't go under it. / Oh, no! / We've got to go through it!" The family skids down a grassy slope, swishes across a river, sludges through mud and, of course, finally sees the bear, who chases them all back to their home." -from Publsher's Weekly


Michael Rosen Performs "We're Going on a Bear Hunt"

Poet and author Michael Rosen performs his version of "We're Going on a Bear Hunt." I his animated expression and the energy he puts into the performance.

Please leave your 'going on a bear hunt' comments in the guestbook.

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    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      scottdemitri26 4 years ago

      Awesome renditions I remembered this song from girl scout camp. I had fun reminiscing. thank

    • KathyZ1 profile image

      KathyZ1 4 years ago

      Nice lens, thanks for your sharing.

    • profile image

      john-dixon 4 years ago

      finally could afford to go bear hunting with my dad and I at we kept trying to remember all the words . i found myself trying to sing it a week later so i google it and found this page thanks so much im still laughing :)

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I've never been on a bear hunt but it sounds like lots of fun.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I wish I had a nickle for every time I have led a bear hunt. Great memory. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love this story! These activities are fantastic, thanks1

    • profile image

      MadameJoy 5 years ago

      Such a great way to combine reading and fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Brilliant ideas to use with children with special needs

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      My kids all love this book! Thank you for the lesson ideas!

    • profile image

      breaststrokeswimming 5 years ago

      Great way to teach the kids. Thanks

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Great book/song to use for lesson plans. Fun to act out and squeal when they find the bear. My daughter really likes the book, so I bet she'd enjoy learning along with it.

    • profile image

      TheChewyMommy LM 5 years ago

      My 3 year old does this in her Movin' and Groovin' class and it is her favorite song. In the class's version they sing "We're going on a bear hunt, gonna find a big one, with green eyes, and a fuzzy little tale". Then they go through a candy factory, a peanut butter river, and a jelly swamp. There is some serious cuteness happening when the kids are singing and dancing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      wonderful ideas! Thanks!

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • potovanja profile image

      potovanja 5 years ago

      Great lens, with suoper informative content. I give you LIKES:).

      tHANK YOU 4 VISIT MY...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice compilation of materials. I learned this song ages ago as "A Squigee Hunt" and now I like to use it as "A Dragon Hunt". Thanks!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      My kids LOVE acting out this book!

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 6 years ago

      What seems a repetition to an adults mind, to that of a child it isn't a twain;

      Going on a bear hunt is narratable to little ones again and enjoyably again!

    • reaphavok profile image

      Joey McClurg 6 years ago from Illinois

      Good lens, and what a great idea -=)

    • profile image

      moonlitta 6 years ago

      Any way of making kids learn and have fun simultaneously is something admirable!

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 6 years ago

      Fun! Cute lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Had to stop by just to smile!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What wonderful fun...Going on a Bear Hunt must be repeated many request!

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is great. I've only heard of it once but hope to use it some day, Well, I'm just about to become a grandma, so I guess I'll get the chance.

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      Timeless! There are several versions but this is great fun for kids both young and old.