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Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

Many of us have attended or created a Teddy Bear Picnic at some point in our lives. I used to love doing these in school and picking which one of my many teddies to take with me to the event! 

But where did this tradition come from? How long has it been around for?

I am sure that many of you have heard the song about teddy bears going on a picnic, 'if you go down to the woods today you better not go alone...'? 
This piece of music was written in 1907 by John W. Bratton, originally this piece of music had no lyrics, it was simply a backing track, which was called 'The Teddy Bear Two-Step'. Many years later, Jimmy Kennedy added the lyrics to this song and renamed it 'The Teddy Bears Picnic'. 

You can listen to the original piece of music here

And Anne Murray's version of the lyrical piece here 

This song became very popular over the years with various singers including Elvis Presley covering it! Children fell in love with the song and would sing it in their schools as well as at home with their parents/guardians. Eventually, people began to create their own Teddy Bear Picnics! And America even has their own special day set aside for the occasion (10th July - Teddy Bear Picnic Day).

Emma Bradburn from TheToyHunters.co.uk told me a little bit about how she celebrates a Teddy Bear Picnic in style!

'In the summer, in our house, we love having a teddy bear's picnic! I think this is a lovely activity for the children when the sun is shining. We find a little sheltered spot on the grass and pop down a few blankets and beanbags as well as cushions so that it is nice and comfy. We grab all the teddies we can find in the house and sit them round in a circle... you can't leave anyone out can you?
So we end up with all of the teddies outside! The children always grab one of their fairy/china tea sets so that they can make the teddies cups of tea!
The night before I always make the picnic, teddy bear themed! We have; teddy shaped sandwiches made with a cookie cutter, Barney Bear cakes, gummy bears, pom bears, bear fruit yoyos and teddy drinks! Then we have the perfect Teddy Bear Picnic, we sit for hours nibbling our food, playing games, colouring and reading stories, with everything being teddy bear themed!' 

- I have to say, I personally love the idea of using a cookie cutter to make teddy bear shaped sandwiches! - 

Kelly Julison also shared some fun activities that she puts together when planning a Teddy Bear Picnic for her daughter Hayley and her friends:

'I think for a Teddy Bear Picnic to be fun for all involved, there needs to be more than just food and drinks! So whenever I plan a Teddy Beat Picnic for my daughter Hayley and her friends, I always try to come up with new, fun activities for them to take part in.
Every year we always start the picnic off with a bear hunt! The children each bring their favourite teddy bears and spend a couple of minutes finding a good hiding spot for them! Then the rest of the children have to go and find the bears and bring them back to the picnic area. It is a simple activity but they absolutely love it! Then we sit and have our lunch, little light snacks that are not too heavy on their little tummies. After lunch, we might do some colouring in, with a prize for the neatest one, or we might make paper bears with sticky tape and child-safe glue, or play dress up with the teddy bears. Every year I try to do something new so the children do not get bored, this year I bought a couple of 'make your own teddy bear' sets from B&M for £5 each! The children stuff the bears themselves and pick their names to put on a little certificate.' 

So, what could you include in a Teddy Bear Picnic?

  • Teddy Bear themed snacks, like Emma's examples above! 
  • Best dressed teddy bear competition - give the children scrap fabrics, ribbons, newspapers, plastic bags, anything you can think of and have them create outfits for their bears. The winner could win a packet of gummy bears! 
  • Decorate bear shaped cookies with sprinkles and icing.
  • Decorate their own box to eat their picnic food from (shoe boxes could do the trick!) 
  • Colouring in, check out pound shops for outdoor themed colouring books or print of some colouring pages for the children to enjoy. You could make this a competition too, just like Kelly did!
  • Bears and Lumberjack game... All the children pretend to be lumberjacks chopping down trees, when an adult shouts 'The Bear is coming!', they all need to lay on the floor in silence... the adult moves around the room making bear sounds if a child laughs or moves they join the bears for the next round!
  • Make bear shaped masks to wear! 
  • Make name tags for their bears as well as for themselves.
  • Make their own teddy bears - this can be done with old bed sheets and fluff - Find more here!
  • Bear themed story time!
  • Party bags for the guests to take home (they could include bear themed stickers, stationery, sweets, bookmarks, and also gives them a place to store their craft work to take home!)

There is so much fun to be had at a Teddy Bear Picnic! So what are you waiting for? Get organising! 

Whilst doing my research for this blog post, I stumbled across an adorable little cafe in Burscough known as 'The Teddy Bears Coffee Shop'. I had a look around their Facebook page and gave them a call to find out more about their sweet little place. The lovely lady who I spoke to on the phone was very polite and friendly, she told me that the Teddy Bear Coffee Shop used to be a Teddy and Doll Hospital and that when she took over the premises in November last year, it only felt right to continue with the teddy bear theme. Inside the coffee shop, you will find lots of different teddy bears which you can look at, sit with and play with whilst you enjoy a nice drink or some yummy food! The Teddy Bear Coffee Shop host parties for all occasions, hen parties, children's parties, Christmas parties and more! They even provide out of store catering too! You can enjoy afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner at the peaceful, beautifully decorated venue as well as delicious cakes and speciality coffees too. I think this is a very sweet and unique idea and I cannot wait to stop by for a visit! You can even bring your own teddy bears to mingle with the rest! And don't worry... they also have free WiFi, so people like me can sit and relax whilst still getting stuff done! 

You can check out their facebook page here! 

Sources:

TotallyTeddyBears.com
Mumsnet.com