It’s time to get hands-on — or should we say paws-on? — when learning about our National Parks!
The new Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Games Playset from Melissa & Doug is designed to teach kids ages 3 and up about one of the country’s most iconic national parks and one of that park’s most well-known animal inhabitants.
The set comes with a variety of accessories that kids can use to pretend to be Grizzly Bears on the hunt for food. This includes two plush, smiling bear head headbands that kids can wear across their foreheads. There are also two soft bear paw glove and a selection of plush bear food, which mirrors what these large mammals would hunt for in Yellowstone: salmon, berries, and insects. Both the bear mouth and the paw pads are covered in a very fine hook-and-loop material, which can catch and hold the plush food pieces with even the lightest contact. Yet the hook-and-loop fabric isn’t scratchy to the touch, nor does it catch on many other fabrics. It’s truly impressive!
Generally, the food sticking to the bear mouth and bear paws provides the main play pattern for this set. However, there are multiple ways for kids (and adults! The bear headbands are quite roomy.) to play. The game also comes with a map of Yellowstone, which is made of a durable plastic material. It features game instructions on the other side in both English and Spanish, suggesting three ways for kids to engage with the set.
The first game is “Toss and Catch,” in which players take turns tossing the bear foods to each other and attemping to catch them on the bear paw. Each time there’s a successful catch, players take a step away from each other. It may be tempting and entertaining to try catching the pieces on the bear headband, but it isn’t advisable. The food is plush, so it ultimately won’t do any major damage, but a plush fish tail in the eye is sure to sting!
The other two play suggestions are designed for either one or two players. One is “Search & Find,” in which kids work to gather a full set of Grizzly Bear food from the floor using only the headband — no hands or paws allowed! The other is “Stock Up for Winter.” In this game, players must move a pile of food from a start line to a finish line using the paws and headband.
These three suggestions offer awesome structured play inspiration that’s sure to improve kids’ gross motor skills, but they are only the start of the play possibilities with this set. Kids can also engage in open-ended, imaginative play as bears. Or they can use the pieces to create some of their own bear-themed challenges. The instruction sheet also features a variety of fun facts about Grizzly Bears, which means kids can keep learning as they play.
Overall, this game is active, educational, fun, and engaging. Plus, think about how fun the photos will be of the whole family wearing these bear headbands! A win for everyone.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK GRIZZLY BEAR GAMES PLAY SET
Pretend to be a hungry bear and play bear food catching, racing, and search-and-find games with this playful introduction to Yellowstone National Park. Plush versions of some of grizzly bears’ favorite snacks stick to self-stick hook-and-loop tabs on bear paw gloves and the snout of strap-on bear heads.
- MELISSA & DOUG