7 days of Goldilocks play for toddlers and preschoolers

Feb 1, 2016

Each week I choose a book to read to my kids every day, and use it as a base for some simple activities. Our latest book-of-the-week was Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Here’s what I did with my 2 and 3 year olds to explore the story:


  1. Story Bag Introduction

I introduce the book on Monday by showing my boys the story bag and sitting together for a first reading. Normally the first time I read them a story we do this very simply, but because they were already very familiar with the story of Goldilocks I used our dollhouse toy girl to act out Goldilocks and make the experience lively for them. R (3yo) acted the part of baby bear by joining in with his lines. You can read more about our story bags here.

  1. Porridge play dough

I put a small pot of natural colored homemade play dough in the story bag (made using this easy recipe from Racheous). We used it to make bowls and fill the bowls with ‘porridge’. With E (just turned 2) I talked about the sizes, big (huge), middle and little (tiny), and other descriptions from the book: hot, cold, just right, tasty etc. I showed R how to make a bowl by rolling a small ball, pressing one finger into it, then pinching the sides. This developed into simple imaginative play with our bear figures.

  1. Find Goldilocks

I hid our Goldilocks doll and helped the little ones search for her, then swapped roles as R hid her and I searched. This game is just like the Hide Spiderman game I described here. They love this kind of hide and seek and wanted to play for ages! It’s useful for practicing names for things around the home, and location words (in, on, under etc.).

  1. Make porridge

We made porridge (oatmeal) together, just like the bear family, by mixing crushed oats, milk and water, and cooking. Unfortunately my boys don’t like this delicious breakfast so they didn’t want to eat it! They did enjoy doing pretend cooking with an oat sensory bin (post upcoming).

  1. Bear cottage

We moved the bear family into our dollhouse for some simple storytelling play. This was already a familiar game for my little ones, but they still enjoy it. We retold the story with the figures, then developed it in different directions. Baby bear and Goldilocks played hide and seek, had a picnic, got caught in a storm… My kids can take the lead with this one.

  1. Bear-themed songs

We sang action songs, and got their teddy bears to join in: Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around and Here sits a teddy on my knee (from Playsongs, by Sheena Roberts).

  1. Bear family puzzle

We played with this wonderful puzzle from Melissa & Doug. It’s already a familiar toy in our house, but this time we used it as I read the story. We dressed the bears warmly for their walk in the woods, and changed their expressions as the story progressed (happy, shocked, angry, sad etc.). We then changed the bears into their home clothes, and I described how they cooked some more porridge and all felt happy again. We played with the puzzle for a while afterwards, trying different outfits and expressions. The puzzle is perfect for targeting these language skills:

  • Early nouns and adjectives describing clothes
  • Language to describe feelings
  • Why questions, and ideas about cause and effect: E.g. Why is baby bear crying? Because he feels cold.
  • Advanced pronouns and possessives: he, she, his, her
  • Using When: E.g. When does baby bear wear pajamas? When he goes to bed.

That was our week with Goldilocks. I find repeating the same story over the week helps my children to understand it better, but we need the different activities to keep it interesting! I hope some of these ideas will work for your family too. Thanks for reading!


This post is shared at Preschool and Kindergarten Community and A Little Bird Told Me.


  1. swapna
    February 26, 2016

    You know, people have this whole thing about ‘girl’ stories and ‘boy’ stories and apparently this one is categorised as a ‘girl’ one. so silly. Then I saw a school quiz show where a team of boys were asked about the Goldilocks Effect and these brilliant minds (who knew every other answer!) went absolutely blank! I was almost screaming at the television screen saying “c’mon! don’t tell me your parents didn’t read this story to you because you are boys!!”


    Pls do link up your posts are the practical mondays too! 🙂

    • Kathleen
      February 26, 2016

      Agreed – it seems that if the main character is a girl, then it’s a story for girls, but if it’s a boy, it can be for anyone… Luckily my sons are still too young to know these rules 😉
      Thanks for commenting, and yes, I’ll definitely link up on Practical Mondays again!


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