Teddy Bears' Picnic

This is insired by Morag and Berys Gaut's book, Philosophy For Young Children.

It also draws from ‘who gets what and why?’ by Anja Steinbauer in the compendium of philosophy sessions, The Philosophy Shop, edited by Peter Worley.


3 Bears, scissors and circle of thin card or paper plate


Using two of the teddy bears, tell the story of two teddy bears that are going for a picnic together

They want some food for this picnic so they also take a delicious cake to eat. Later, when they have arrived in the wood, they decide to eat the cake. They take out the cake and try to decide how to cut it

How should they cut the cake?

Invite a child to show where they think it should be cut. Then you use the scissors to cut down the line they indicated. Offer them the two bits of pie

Task question: 

  • Can you give them to the teddy bears?

Nested Questions:

  • Is that right?
  • Would anyone like to change it?

At this point you aren’t going to get much discussion, as it seems straightforwardly obvious that the cake should be split down the middle and given to the bears, equally. This is when you want to introduce the ‘tricky’ bit. Which is the most important part. If it isn’t tricky they don’t have to think very hard.


  • Another bear arrives. What should they do now?
  • One bear claims she is much bigger and hungrier than the others so she should get more. Is that right?
  • It is one of the bears Bear’s birthday today, she says that she should get more, should she?
  • This bear made the cake. Should he get more?
  • Bear doesn’t actually want any cake so gives her share to monkey.

There is no need to introduce all of these.

Nested questions

  • Can you give the cake out?
  • Is that fair?
  • Can you make it fair?
  • What is fair?
  • Is it fair if…?

Download Teddy Bears' Picnic

Subjects: Maths, Ethics

Themes: Sharing, Fractions, Fairness