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Why can't I play?

To highlight that it is important to be friendly and help others join in with our activities even if they are different from us.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To highlight that it is important to be friendly and help others join in with our activities even if they are different from us.

Preparation and materials

You will need:

  • A selection of teddy bears of different shape, size and colour.
  • Another cuddly toy – the example used below is a rabbit but any toy could be used.


  1. Show the children all the teddies and ask for volunteers to come out to hold them. Ask one child to hold the rabbit.
  2. Explain that you are going to tell a story and that you would like the children holding the toys to help the teddies do some acting! Ask them to make the teddies do any action that you mention. Point out that the child holding the rabbit will have to listen especially carefully so that he or she knows when to start doing their actions.

    Ask the children to begin with all the teddies fast asleep.
  3. Tell the story:

    One day, all the teddy bears woke up. The biggest teddy bear jumped out of bed and ran to the window. He pulled back the curtain and looked outside. It was a beautiful day.

    ‘Why don’t we all go to play in the park?’ he shouted. ‘We could take a picnic!’
    All the bears thought that this was a very good idea. They all jumped out of bed and quickly got dressed. They gobbled down their breakfast greedily, made some sandwiches, put on their coats and set off down the road.

    They had a lovely time playing at the park. First of all, they had running races. Then they practised hopping and jumping up and down. They showed each other how to do forward rolls and backward rolls and handstands and cartwheels.

    After a while, they stopped to eat their lunch. While they were eating, they heard a noise. They all looked up to see a little rabbit hopping towards them.

    ‘Please can I play with you?’ asked the little rabbit.

    The teddies looked at one another and then all of them, except for Baby Bear, shook their heads. The little rabbit felt very sad and began to hop away.

    ‘Why is he not allowed to play?’ asked Baby Bear.

    ‘He’s far too big!’ said one bear.

    ‘He’s far too little!’ said another bear.

    ‘He’s different!!’ answered a different bear. 

    ‘He’s too fast,’ grumbled another bear.

    ‘He would spoil everything!’ said another.

    Baby Bear shook his head. ‘I think they are silly excuses,’ he said. ‘Why don't we let him play once and see if he spoils it?’
  4. Stop the story.

    Ask the children what they think of the excuses that the bears gave for not letting Rabbit play.

    Ask the children what they think the ending of the story will be.
  5. Continue the story:

    Before the other bears could stop him Baby Bear shouted loudly: ‘It’s OK, come and play with us!’

    Rabbit turned round looking very happy.

    All afternoon the bears and Rabbit played together. Later some more of Rabbit’s family joined them. The afternoon was over very quickly.

    ‘We need to go home now,’ said Rabbit as the sun began to drop in the sky.

    Without thinking, all the bears shouted at once: ‘We’ll meet you here again tomorrow to carry on with the game.’

    Rabbit and his family hopped away smiling. It was lovely to have made new, different friends!
  6. Discuss with the children how important it is to help other children join in with our games. Explain to them how sad children feel when they are left out. Talk about how people who may look or behave differently from what we are used to are still like us underneath and have feelings just like us.

Time for reflection

Close your eyes and think of someone you know whom you don’t usually play with.

Decide today to make an effort to talk to that person and maybe to ask them to play with you.

Dear God,
Thank you for loving me.
Please help me to care about other people and to realize that in your eyes everyone is special.


‘Friends’ (Come and Praise Beginning,19)

Publication date: January 2006   (Vol.8 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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