Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? Enrichment Activities

A look at Martin Waddell’s Picture Book Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? This is a warm tale of togetherness, and is a powerful message of the grown up providing a protecting and caring environment. A very comforting story for your little one.
About the Author: Martin Waddell His series on Little Bear and Farmer Duck are his most famous, but Mr. Waddell has written many, many other books as well (214+). Under his own name he publishes mysteries, ghost stories, light comedies, and picture books for children. As Catherine Sefton he has written more complex, emotionally charged books for young adults, several of which are ghost stories while others are political novels.
To see more of Martin Waddell’s books, visit his Amazon Author page.
About the Illustrator: Barbara Firth Her lifelike drawings has make these books a favorite of mine. They are some of the very few children’s books I have found to depict life like bears. These drawings are soft, soothing and winsome. Barbara Firth began drawing when she was three years old. Since then, she illustrated numerous award-winning picture books, including the Big Bear and Little Bear series, written by Martin Waddell. She lived in Middlesex, England.
To see more of Barbara Firth, visit her Goodreads page.

Book Cover


This wonderful Children’s Picture Book is for Playschool to Grade Two (3-7 year olds).
We have all had a child who has difficulty sleeping and is afraid of the dark. Big Bear tries to help Little Bear by showing him that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. He lights lanterns, but they are not enough to quell Little Bear’s fear as he can see the dark beyond the light. Big Bear then offers the light of the bright moon and the stars. This is a very comforting story for your little ones, and belongs in every babsitter’s handbag!


Talk About It
Why can’t Little Bear sleep? I wonder why he’s scared of the dark? Ask your little one if they have ever been scared of the dark?
Cause and Effect
Why did Big Bear get the lantern? (because Little Bear was afraid of the dark) Why couldn’t Little Bear fall asleep? (he was surrounded by the dark). Why did Big Bear take Little Bear outside? (to show him the moon and the stars). Did Big Bear taking Little Bear outside help Little Bear sleep?
Compare and Contrast
Big Bear and Little Bear. Day and Night or Light and Dark.
Fact or Fiction
Do real bears sleep in caves?
Do real bears read books or sit in chairs/

bear in den craft

Make a bear in a den picture. Also uses a paper plate.

bear family

Make a paper plate bear family.

Play / Games / Act It Out
Build a cave from blankets and chairs/couch and make a pallet bed on the floor. Have a chair, lantern and a pretend fire. Act out the story with your little ones.
Action Song
“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”

Book we're going on a bear hunt
Watch as Michael Rosen performs from his book Here
This book can be purchased through

Real Bears and Caves (North American Bears)

 There are only 3 kinds of bears in North America. Black Bears, which come in colours of black, brown and blond/white.  Brown Bears, the coastal version is refereed to as Kodiak and the inland version is called Grizzly.  Polar Bears which come in a yellow/white and are marine mammals.

Polar Bears at play

Polar Bears at play. Note the smaller heads and long necks as well as larger flat front feet; all designed to help them swim.

Polar Bear Cubs in a Snow Den

Polar Bear cubs in a snow den

black bears-photo

an adult North American Black Bear


A yearling cup in the den

grizzly 4

Brown Bear. Both Kokiak and Grizzly Bears have the hump on top at the shoulders. Ears are smaller and rounded.


A cross view of a bear’s den

Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon

stellaluna book cover

About this Book

This award winning picture book follows the adventures of a lost baby fruit bat.  It a story about individuality, foster parents/families and fitting in.  It is a very clever theme variation of the ugly duckling story.

As a helpless baby, Stellaluna is accidentally dropped by her mother when an owl attacks.  She falls into a birds nest where she tries her best to fit in.  Her bird foster family accepts her as long as she acts like a bird.  She does have the urge to sleep upside down and fly at night however she doesn’t understand why this is.

One day, Stellaluna becomes separated from her bird family.  She goes to sleep the way they taught her with her head up.  Another bat finds her and is very surprised by her unusual bat sleeping position.  He calls the other bats to come see this strange behavior, and as a result, Stellaluna is reunited with her mother.

Stellaluna’s bat and bird families become friends and marvel at how they are both alike and different.

audio-video of book Stellaluna

An Audio/Video Reading

Janell Cannon photo

About the Author

Janell Cannon was born in 1957 and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, but now lives in southern California. Her picture books have won many awards.  She both writes and, as a self-taught artist, illustrates her own books.  Before becoming a writer, she designed and produced summer reading programs at her local public library.  She loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen as well as learning to become a drummer.

Ms. Cannon’s books carry a theme of unappreciated and fascinating creatures.  She roots for the underdog so writes about creatures that are misunderstood and unpopular with humans.  Stellaluna the bat (1993), Crickwing the cockroach (2005), Verdi the python (1997), Pinduli the hyena (2004) are books with this theme and they will pull at your heartstrings!

Enrichment Activities

Lets learn some facts about real bats.

• Bats are flying mammals.
• While others can glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.
• There are over 1000 different bat species.
• Bats are nocturnal (active at night).
• Bats ‘see’ in the dark using a special skill called echolocation. Bats make noises and wait for the sound waves to bounce back off objects (an echo), if it doesn’t bounce back then they can safely fly forward. They can tell the distance of various objects by how quickly the sound waves bounce back to them.
• Most bats feed on insects, while others eat fruit and fish
• Some bats live by themselves while others live in caves with thousands of other bats.
• Bats can live for over 20 years.
• Pteropus bats (also known as flying foxes or fruit bats) are the largest in the world.
• Fruit bats hang in trees not caves.
• Fruit bats also slurp a sweet liquid called nectar from fruit blossoms. What happens next makes them very important for healthy forests—and for fruit-loving humans. When fruit bats stop to eat, sticky yellow grains of pollen get caught on their fur. Some of the pollen rubs off onto other flowers that the bats visit. That’s how bats pollinate flowers, which allows the trees to develop fruits and seeds. Those fruits and seeds feed animals from insects to birds to monkeys. And some of them even feed people!


a fruit bat

Fruit bats live in the tropical areas of the world, such as the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. They prefer locations with warm climates because they do not hibernate in cold weather. They wrap their wings around themselves to keep warm even in the warm climate.

Some Crafts to make

clothes pin bat

What you’ll need to make your hanging house bats: instructions here

  • Coffee filters (1 filter per bat)
  • Purple and black water colors
  • Black acrylic paint
  • 2 googley eyes
  • Silver or gold glitter (optional)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • String

Make a bat flyer

bat flyers

bat-flyers printable page

egg carton bat

or an Egg Carton bat found here

Acknowledgements (my favorite hangman word!) information on the author came from: and

Photo of bat courtesy of

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? March 17 is coming!

Shamrock 1

Sean: “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya, Liam”

Liam: “And the rest ‘o the day to you!”

Celtic Shamrock It would seem that the origins of the shamrock are lost in antiquity, legends suggest that St. Patrick plucked a shamrock from Irish soil to demonstrate the meaning of the Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The plant was reputed to have mystic powers in that its petals will stand upright to warn of a approaching storm. The shamrock is also commonly associated with the symbol of luck. In studying Celtic history, scholars have discovered that the shamrock was a charm to ward away evil. The shamrock remains Ireland’s most famous symbol.From:

Real Shamrocks

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I selected 4  picture books celebrating the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day.

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day

by Natasha Wing:

Natasha Wing puts an Irish twist on a Christmas classic. It’s the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and Tim and Maureen are wide awake setting traps to catch a leprechaun! When they wake the next morning to the sound of their dad playing the bagpipes and the smell of their mom cooking green eggs, they’re shocked to find that they’ve actually caught a leprechaun. But will they be able to find his pot of gold?

bagpipes_blogscottish bagpipes player

Pipes:                                 Player:

The Leprechaun's Gold

by Pamela Duncan Edwards

In this classic Irish legend, two harpists — merry-hearted Old Pat and ill-spirited Young Tom — set off for a contest to name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. When Young Tom realizes that Old Pat is truly the better musician, he schemes to be the winner — but he doesn′t reckon with the clever trickery of a mischievous little leprechaun.

Noted picture book creators Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole have imagined a joyful and fanciful tale with a priceless lesson.

Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk

by Gerald McDermott

When the evil McGoons trick Tim O’Toole out of his fortune, he teams up with his benefactors, the Little People, to regain his treasure. McDermott’s illustrated books (including Caldecott winner Arrow to the Sun) and animated films have earned him international recognition. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Lucky Tucker

by Leslie McGuirk

When Tucker the terrier wakes up on Saint Patrick’s Day, he gets off on the wrong paw. Nothing is going his way until he rolls in a bed of clover —- a bed of four-leaf clovers, that is, which just happens to belong to a leprechaun! Lucky Tucker! From snatching a falling scoop of ice cream to wrestling with his best friends to getting a whole box of new toys, Tucker is now the luckiest dog around!

An Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Child Fun Friendly Crafts

Paper Plate Hat

Shamrock Paper Plate hat

Cute as Ever Paper Plate Shamrock Hat


All you need to make this fun craft are paper plates, scissors, and pens

Instructions found here

Paper Plate Leprechaun

paper plate leprechaun


What you need:

  • Green and White construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or Tape
  • Marker
Handprint Leprechaun
Handprint Leprechaun
I think you got this one (on your own)
How about this cute idea?

This craft couldn’t be more easy.  It’s just a painted paper plate and some construction paper.

    Add a band to go around the back of the head (soft material) to tie it on.

 Irish Symbols and Meanings

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The Triquetra Knot

This symbol is also known as the trinity knot.  The word triquetra originally meant “triangle” and was to describe triangle-shaped objects. The triquetra is most known for it’s meaning as the trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). This meaning was used by the Celtic Christian Church.  The triquetra is a very old symbol and many say it predates Christianity, the symbol represented the Goddess in Celtic lore. The Trinity Knot holds major significance in neopaganism in that it is believed to represent the three stages of the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, and Crone). The triquetra design on the cover of a replica of the Book of Shadows central to the television series Charmed.Modern Pagans use the triquetra to symbolize a variety of concepts and mythological figures. Germanic Neopagan groups who use the triquetra to symbolize their faith generally believe it is originally of Norse and Germanic origins.  This information is from


The Triskelion Knot

This symbol represented progress and completion, and was very prominent in Celtic culture.  Looking like a wheel with four spokes sticking out, the triskelion is supposed to represent actions, cycles, and revolutions or competition. Image and text from

Triskele, triple spiral


The Celtic triple spiral is still found at several Megalithic and Neolithic sites.  The symbol is thought to be so old that it may predate the Celts entirely.  Whatever its origins, many people around the world consider it a symbol of great beauty and mystery.  Image and text from

Celtic Dancing Video

Awesome Redhead Celtic Dancers

Awesome Redhead Celtic Dancers

Another Blessing

May your heart be warm and happy,
With the lilt of Irish laughter,
Every day in every way
And forever and ever after.

Aknowledgements: Real Shamrock photos, #1  #2  #3  #4  Blessings from


The Kissing Hand…Make Books Come Alive #4

For Children, acting out a book, or other activities is a way to expand imaginations, develop language, explore drama, promote literacy and build vocabulary.

So, are you using your children’s story books as a springboard into play?  Children love books and want to read them over and over..and over!  So use play as a way to expand and enrich their book experience.

Oh, and it is just plain fun !

Want to try something new and fun?  Choose a book, for this post, lets choose, “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn.

Don’t have the book at home?  NO worries, you can watch and listen to it (and others) on You Tube at “Nook Online Storytime.”  use this link:

The Kissing Hand Activities

                The Kissing Hand

What a great book! This book is so helpful in preparing children to be away from home or from their parent/s. The occasion may be their first day at school, or a sleepover, summer camp, a parent or child being hospitalized, being babysat while parents go out, or for foster children who miss their parents. Whenever there is a time a child will be away from you and feels scared, read this book with them, if possible.

Enrichment Activities

Language Development:

Feelings.  Nervous, happy, sad, glad, mad, upset, warm, sleepy, super, sick, shy, scared, angry

scared child        sadbaby

How did mother’s kiss make Chester feel ? (toasty warm inside)

How did Chester feel at the beginning of the story? Why did he feel that way?

Did the kiss help Chester when he was at school?

Why did Chester kiss his mother’s hand?

Feeling Activity:

Using a mirror, what does your face look like when you feel: happy, sad, angry, sleepy, surprised…

How about using the camera and take your child’s feeling photos to use with the feelings chart?


Make a feelings chart for family members.  How do you feel today? Here are two ideas that could help you make up your own.  For my house, I need to consider space!


Let’s Bake

Make heart shaped cookies or hand shape ones, if you have a cookie cutter that shape.  Place a Hershey’s kiss in the middle of either one.


Potato art stamps, finger paint hand print art,paper plate mask, paper bag racoon,


Temporary Tattoos


You Will Need:

Parchment Paper (wax paper),Pencil, Marker (regular or permanent) Wet sponge  Note: regular marker will wash off easily.  Permanent marker will last longer (but will not wash off as easily!)

Draw hearts on the parchment with pencil, then completely colour them in with the pencil.  On top of the pencil shading, use a marker, of any colour, to completely cover over it.  Now, flip the parchment over and place the drawing on a smooth area of the body.  The marker colour needs to be against the skin.  Place a wet (not too wet) sponge over the parchment and wait 30 seconds.  S L O W L Y peel off the parchment from the skin.  Hurrah, you have made a temporary tattoo!

I do hope you and your family enjoy these activities from The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.

Next Week:  My own book, Kieran the Pirate.

Photos courtesy of: Book cover:  Scared Girl:  Sad Baby:   Angry Boy:  Happy Boy: cleo deLancey personal photo  1st Feelings Chart:  2nd Feelings Chart:  The Kissing Hand Craftivity:  Paper Bag Racoon :   Paper Plate Racoon Mask:  Poem and Hand Art:   Potato Print:  Temporary  Tattoo:

The Mitten…Make Books Come Alive #3

For Children, acting out a book, or other activities is a way to expand imaginations, develop language, explore drama, promote literacy and build vocabulary.

So, are you using your children’s story books as a springboard into play?  Children love books and want to read them over and over..and over!  So use play as a way to expand and enrich their book experience.

Want to try something new and fun?  Choose a book, for this post, lets choose, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.

Don’t have the book at home?  NO worries, you can watch and listen to it (and others) on You Tube at “Nook Online Storytime.”  use this link:


What a wonderful, wonderful, story and book!  The illustrations  are just so adorable. If you haven’t read it, it is about a young boy, who gets a pair of knitted mittens from his grandmother, and loses one in the forest.  Several animals, of all sizes, squeeze into it to enjoy its snugly warmth.  A fun story, with a funny ending.

Here are a few Enrichment Activities:

Cause and Effect:  Ask children 4 + years, the first half.  The answer is in italics.

                   What happened when…?

The animals squeezed into the mitten : the mitten stretched out.

The bear sneezed: the animals flew out of the mitten.

The animals were cold: they went into the mitten.

The mouse sat on the bear’s nose: the bear sneezed.

Real or Make Believe? 3 + years

Can a bear fit in a mitten?

Would a mouse sit on a bear’s nose?

Would a badger share his space?

Language Development:

Real Animal Habitat: 4 + years

Where do these animals live?  What do their homes look like?  What are their homes called?

Bear – den,   Rabbit – warren.   Badger – warren,  Owl – nest,  Mouse – nest,  Fox – den,  Mole- fortress, tunnel or burrow,  Hedgehog – den.

Play / Act out:

Using masking tape, make a large mitten shape on the floor.  See how many of your family members you can fit into this shape. Try it by standing in the shape, then by lying down.  Try to predict how many will fit, with everyone taking a guess first.  Perhaps use a blanket to cover everyone.  Is it snugly and warm?

try white (snow) play-dough, a mitten and animal figurines. I found the  most wonderful play-dough activity for this book.  Here is a link to a wonderful blog called MySmallPotatoes:


Crafts for Fine Motor Skills: lacing, cutting and painting.

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Sequencing Activity:

I found a song, sung to Farmer in the Dell that is a fun way to sequence this story, from Pinterest:

This post came from:


LapBooks: a parent/child project worthy of taking on.

LapBooks are a brilliant way for kids to get together all the stuff they can find out about an activity and show it off.

I have found a couple great links to get you started.

and this one has some great printable pages for preschool.

I am hoping that you enjoy these activities from “The Mitten”, by Jan Brett.

Next Sunday we will look at “The Kissing Hand”, by Audrey Penn.

If You Give a Pig…Make Books Come Alive – #2

For Children, acting out a book, or other activities is a way to expand imaginations, develop language, explore drama, promote literacy and build vocabulary.

So, are you using your children’s story books as a springboard into play?  Children love books and want to read them over and over..and over!  So use play as a way to expand and enrich their book experience.

Want to try something new and fun?  Choose a book, for this post, lets choose, “If You Give A Pig A Pancake” by Laura Numeroff.

Don’t have the book at home?  NO worries, you can watch and listen to it (and others) on You Tube at “Nook Online Storytime.”  use this link:


Let’s Cook:

Making pancakes with any child is easy and fun! It may be messy too, but that easily cleans up. You will need to make both large and small pancakes.  Large, for the pig’s head, one small for the nose, alternative is a slice of pineapple (whole round) or banana slice.  Make two smaller pancakes for the eyes if you choose.  Then decorate.  Use chocolate chips, blueberries or raisins for the irises and nose holes.  You can make ears from ripped pancakes or use fruit such as cut strawberries.

Pig Pancakes 009 or5524bf02479b22d8f46beb253a5f0765

Here is a good pancake recipe:  Feeds 4.

Pre-mix the following dry ingredients.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

In a separate bowl mix the following and then add to the dry ingredients.

2 eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp oil

If you give a pig a pancake it may want some syrup!

Language development:

Does your family call pancakes by a different name? Some people call them hotcakes, flapjacks, flap-cakes or griddlecakes.

Think of words that start with P or the “p”  sound.  Like: pig, pancake, pajamas, peaches, pizza, paper, plate. Can you and your children think of more P words?  Make a list.

Sequencing Activities: for older children 3 and up.

What did the pig want first, second?  Then what happened? What will the pig want next?

Art Activities:

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I hope you try this and have fun with bringing this book to life!