This classic song uses a lovely play on words to identify the basic (bare) necessities that a bear needs. In this instance, it’s mother nature that provides the bear Baloo with the things that he wants, such as ‘fancy ants’, ‘prickly pears’, and ‘paw-paws’. Like all animals and humans, bears need food and water to survive, which makes these particular items necessities. We’re all different and so are our needs, but have our ‘necessities’ changed in recent months?
During this pandemic there has been lots of discussion around what is classed as essential. The government's restrictions said that people should only be leaving their homes for ‘very limited purposes’ - one of those is to buy ‘basic necessities’. But there was confusion over what that actually meant. Some supermarkets listed ‘essential’ items. But do basic necessities vary from person to person? Easter eggs, milk, exercise weights, garden plants, shampoo, children's colouring books - just what exactly should people be shopping for during the coronavirus lockdown and how have the things we deem essential changed during this period of time?
Learn the song
Get as many people joining in as possible. It’s a great way to get the positive vibes going. Watch the teaching video or listen to it few times and join in as you pick it up.
Ask yourself, and those around you this question: Have your needs and wants changed during lockdown? You may have wanted to go to school, but you have needed to stay home to stay safe. Maybe the things you took for granted like seeing friends and family mean more than they did before. How have the things we deem essential changed as a result of lockdown?
Conduct interviews face to face or over the phone with friends and family about what they consider to be their lockdown ‘bare necessities’ and whether their answers differ now, to what they would have previously answered. Use the answers to write a news bulletin and video yourself reporting the findings.
If you were singing a new version of the song, as you, and not Baloo the bear, what necessities would you list? Perhaps fundamental ones for survival such as food, water, shelter, clothing? What about objects, like toys, books, and games? How about the things that can’t be bought, like hugs, laughter, and time with your loved ones? What couldn’t you be without? Perhaps it’s your oldest toy, favourite food, or photos of loved ones. Has lockdown made you re-consider what your bare necessities are? On reflection, maybe the things that you thought you really needed are in fact not what you thought they’d be!
Use your list to inspire a piece of artwork e.g. a drawing, a story board, a painting, a sculpture or series of photos of your ‘necessities’ and talk them through with someone at home. Your artwork could be based on material things as well as events, people, places, and moments. You could keep your responses to show your class when you get back to school.
Baloo the bear sings: ‘Wherever I wander, wherever I roam, I couldn’t be fonder of my big home’. You’ve probably been spending a lot more time at home recently due to lockdown. Some of you may have watched Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Channel 4 where the artist focused on a different theme each week. In one episode the focus was ‘home’ and Grayson made a model of where he lives. Using whatever resources you have available make a model of the place that you call home.
Desert Island Discs
This BBC Radio 4 programme was first broadcast in 1942. Each episode invites somebody well known/influential, to pick eight pieces of music, one book, and a luxury item that they would take to a desert island. Play a version of the game at home or school, with everyone making a selection. Have any of you picked the same music, book or luxury items? Discuss your reasons for picking them.
Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelt differently, like bear/bare. They have different meanings and have different spellings, but when spoken, they sound the same. Set a timer and see how many you can come up within an allotted time. Make a list and compare it with someone else. Who has the longest list? Can you think of any other animal-based ones? There are actually quite a few: dear/deer, place/plaice, boar/bore, hair/hare, toad/towed, mite/might, moose/mousse, cheetah/cheater, horse/hoarse, ewe/you, and panda/pander.
Why not create a lockdown time capsule: a unique way to look back on the COVID-19 pandemic in years to come? It might include: a letter to whoever opens your capsule, news items, a painting of a rainbow, lists of essential workers, a record of special memories (for example: clap for carers), a picture of you doing a Joe Wicks workout, diary entries, handprints of those you spent lockdown with, a home-made mask, a 2020 dated coin, photographs and pictures, even a hand wipe. Once everything is gathered together, you could place them safely in a shoebox and decide where to place it. You could also create a map and a set of instructions for whoever 'digs up' the capsule in the future.
Watch this clip from the original film, where Baloo and Mowgli dance together. Have you used lockdown as an opportunity to learn new dances with those at home? Make a video of you dancing that you can look back on in years to come.