Teddy bears picnic

A packed day of activities for 5-7 year olds ( Key Stage 1- School years 1 and 2).
The children explore the natural world and learn the “needs of life” for “Teddy Bears” and all other living things.

Complete with follow up activities this programme is based on the principles and practice of earth education.


This programme of earth education activities was designed at the Bishops Wood Environmental Education Centre, near Worcester. It is now being provided at centres all over the country. In Nottinghamshire it is provided by “Wild Things”.

A one day experience for infants, Teddy Bears Picnic is designed;
a ) to nurture respect for the natural world through first hand contact,
b ) to provide some understandings of how living things obtain their needs of life from the environment and what those needs are, and,
c ) to encourage young children to make a positive contribution to caring for their environment at a level appropriate to their age.


The children are invited by Edward the Woodland Teddy Bear to bring their teddies along to a special day where they will learn to be Teddy Bear Guardians. There are also hints they will learn a special secret, the secret of the word SWAF.

1. Arrival. The children are introduced to the day by an illustrated story. Their Teddy Bear’s venture off to explore for themselves, taking the lunches with them!

2. Earthwalk. A series of sensory play activities linked by teddy bear themes designed to explore and discover the things that “teddy bears need in the woods”.

3. Teddy Bear Tag. With the aid of the initial story, costumes and props this game shows the meaning of the secret word SWAF; shelter, water, air, & food. These are the needs of life for teddies and all other living things.

4. Musical Trees. To illustrate that the needs of life are not available in unlimited supply and also to demonstrate the importance of trees to other living things. With the children as trees and bears, the dancing teddies find their needs of life from the woods. When the woodcutter comes they realise they have to protect the trees that supply their needs and replant the ones that have been used.

5. Lost Teddy Bear Hunt. All the teddy bears and packed lunches have disappeared. Luckily they have left a trail of signs in the shape of paw prints which the children can follow. Each sign is attached to something in the woodland that provided the bears with one of the things that they needed to stay alive. The trail reinforces the morning and leads to their picnic.

6. The Picnic. They join their teddies in a clearing and sit around picnic cloths to eat, with the teddy bears picnic theme tune playing in the background.

7. The story. Children and teddies gather round to listen to a tale from Indian called “The People Who Hugged The Trees”. This
reinforces the Musical Trees game and illustrates the importance of trees to human communities.

8. Castaway Teddy. Each group is asked to create, with the help of some props, a desert island containing all the things teddies ( and all other living things ) need. They have flags to mark shelter water, air and food, and must construct a shelter from twigs, bracken and other materials for their teddies. They tour each others islands and share special touches such as miniature gardens, stepping stones in ponds etc. ...

9. Departure. The children receive certificates to declare them Teddy Bear Guardians.

10. Follow through. The group can take a pack with them containing colouring pictures, and activities to do over the ensuing months. These activities help the children identify the needs of plants, animals, and themselves in the environment around them, and make sure that these needs are available.

Evaluation comments about Teddy Bear’s Picnic:

- “They loved every minute and didn’t want to go home! They voluntarily started writing about it when they got back to school!” ( Walesby C of E )

- “ An excellent day - very well focused and organised. Brilliant, fun teaching ideas, we were very impressed” (Maun Infants )

- “The follow up materials for teachers are very good ...” ( Walesby C of E )