Thankful Bear Craft – Shape Collage for Preschoolers and Toddlers

This simple bear craft — well, really a bear paw print craft — goes with a Thanksgiving story, but you could adapt it to use any time of year.



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Bear Says Thanks

Bear Says Thanks (affiliate link), by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman is one of my very favorite Thanksgiving picture books. Last year it inspired us to make these place mats. When I saw that the Virtual Book Club for Kids was featuring it this week, I knew right away I wanted to join in with a new activity.

The story is about a bear who wants to host a feast, but his cupboard is bare. His friends come to the rescue, appearing one by one with food to share. It’s a little like Stone Soup (which, by the way, we have a fun science activity for). 

Bear shows his gratitude by saying “Thanks” for each of his friend’s contributions. The story offers a subtle lesson in using manners and showing appreciation.

RELATED: 8 Bear Says Thanks Activities for Thanksgiving

Our Bear Story

My son was afraid of bears when he was small. It didn’t matter that there are no bears anywhere near us here in Texas.

I remember trying to talk him into turning off his closet light off at bedtime, and he defended the light with,

“There might be bears in there!”

He’s well past the imagined fears stage now. I think reading about bears, both real and fictional, helped him a lot in working out his bear anxiety.

If you have a little one in the same boat, a story and bear craft might help you too.


Bear Craft

This paw print bear craft is really basic. You can adapt it for your child’s fine motor skills level by doing more or less of the cutting out for her.

As you work, talk about the shape names. Point out the difference between a circle and an oval. Give them the clipart circles in the order that they appear in the story to reinforce story sequencing (a reading comprehension skill).

Bear Craft Materials

You don’t need anything special here —

  • Construction paper – brown, white
  • Scissors
  • Printout of food
  • Glue & paintbrush or glue stick

The pdf file of the food pictures has them scaled for 1 1/4 inch circles. I traced around a spool of thread to get my circles. You might like to enlarge them.

Bear Craft Instructions

  1. Cut out 1 oval and 4 circles from brown construction paper.
  2. Cut out the 4 circles of food from the printout.
  3. Glue the brown pieces onto the white paper in the shape of a bear paw.
  4. Then glue the food circles on top of the toes, as shown.


Easy peasy!


For more learning activities related to Bear Says Thanks, you may like to explore these Virtual Book Club for Kids posts:

Alphabet Activities
Gratitude Acrostic Printable Booklets – Chickadee Lit
Gratitude Alphabet and Give Thanks Banner – To be a Kid Again

Name Activities
I am Thankful Activity – CraftCreateCalm
Magnetic Thankful Tree – The Educators’ Spin On It

Number Activities
Sensory Activities
Cooking Activities
Pumpkin Muffins for Friends – Inspiration Laboratories
Color Activities
Pre-Writing Activities


    1. Thanks, Cerys. When I saw the bear in Bear Says Thanks holding up his paw, I knew right away what my bear craft would be 🙂

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