Craft time : Body parts bear

October 20, 2011

Three times a week, I teach a Mommy & Me class. Attending the class are mothers (and occasionally a father or grandmother who steps in for the odd lesson) and their children, who are all ages two and three years old.

Initially, I was really nervous to teach the class. The thought of teaching children that little and with the mothers present was not appealing in the least. However, it soon became one of my favourite lessons to teach. Everyone is supportive and honestly just there for the benefit of their child. We follow a similar routine every class, which starts out with a basic warm-up of greetings, counting and colours with a few songs mixed in for good measure. I read a story every week, and using the weekly theme, we learn some new vocabulary and do a craft.

This week’s theme is body parts. A few weeks ago we did eyes, ears, mouth and nose. This week, we’re doing head, tummy, arms, legs and I threw in tail to make both the story and craft work.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are a couple of reasons why this craft works so well:

  1. It’s cute. Japan thrives on cute.
  2. Kids can relate. Most children know what a teddy bear is.
  3. It’s easy for children and parents to put together.
  4. It’s great for body parts review.
  5. If you do it in white, the kids can easily personalize them.
  6. All you need to use in class is glue and crayons.

The story I’ve been using is “A Teddy Bear” by Apricot Books. It’s a really cute story about finding a broken teddy bear in the garbage and putting it back together piece by piece. I almost always have full attention from the children when we read this story. The pictures are well done, the story is very clear and easy to follow, and it’s also not too wordy, which makes it perfect for an EFL environment. It comes with a CD as well, but I usually just read the story myself.

Anyways, onto the craft!

The craft this week was a teddy bear. The kids have to come up and ask for the body parts on by one. There’s head, nose, eyes, tummy, arms, legs and tail. Some of the kid’s bears turn out quite artistic, but they’re always cute.

I originally found the template here. I modified it a little by blowing it up a tad, taking out the vest, separating the head and body, adding eyes and not doing the ears. Instead, I just pre-colour the inner part of the ears. The nose is also assembled before giving it to the students. Cutting all the parts out is a bit labour intensive, but well worth it.

My sample bear isn’t decorated or coloured, but the kids and moms all decorate theirs using crayons. Some kids colour them a completely different colour, while others draw clothes on them. Almost every time I’ve done this craft, I’ve had at least one of the kids include their bear in the goodbye circle (when we all hold hands… on Wednesday, I held hands with a paper bear. Awesome).

I will also admit that I glued the eyes too close together. It’d be cuter if they were a little bit further apart, haha.

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  • Reply Dan October 21, 2011 at 12:52 am


    • Reply Adrienne October 21, 2011 at 1:32 am

      THE TAIL IS MY FAVOURITE PART! Haha. All the mum’s laugh or smile when I reveal the tail on the craft.

  • Reply Midori October 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Really late replying to this one, sorry!

    I use this book all the time. You MUST use the CD!! My kids are older, so it might be a bit different, but this is how I do it. First, we listen to the sounds at the beginning (of the garbage truck dumping the trash) and ask the kids what they think it is (I havent shown them the page in the book yet). They dont know the word for “garbage truck”, but it gets them focused on the story. Then we start with the book…the music at the beginning is just so sad. The first time I read this book, I nearly started crying. Some of the kids seem really sad too (good to develop empathy!).

    I always use the CDs that come with the Apricot books, then just pause and repeat or clarify things that the kids might not understand. The music and sound effects are really useful. My favorite is “My Pet”.

    • Reply Adrienne October 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      Haha, no worries about being late! I’m always happy to get comments!

      I actually used to CDs in the past, and they definitely do a great job, but for my classes I find it easier to read the stories myself. The CDs have great sound effects and everything, but when you have a class of two year olds, it can be really hard to get them to focus. Well, all of them at the same time that is. I also have kids who want to touch the book all the time. I sit on the ground (we sit in a circle) with the kids and their mums, so getting up to pause the CD player (no remote either) would disrupt my class too much. But for older classes, I think the CDs are definitely great to use.

      I had one girl crying at the beginning too for the teddy bear! She kept saying how scary the story was, but then as they added the parts back, she got happier and happier. It was pretty cute.

      I haven’t hard “My Pet” before! We only have “A Teddy Bear”, “Pal the Parrot”, “Me, Myself” and “Whole Stole the Cookies?”. Any others that you’d recommend?

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