Someone found a picture book for my three year old daughter with this song. The really cool part was that it came with a tape of Jerry Garcia singing the song.

Fisher Price created a series of toy radios which featured different songs & nursery rhymes, The Teddy Bears' Picnic is one of them. The front of the "radio" featured a single dial which would wind up to play the music the same way that a musc box does, and would scroll through scenes of little yellow teddy bears having a lovely time in the woods. The lyrics to the song were printed on the back of the "radio," but only included one verse:

Picnic time for Teddy Bears,
The little Teddy Bears
Are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
They never have any care.

When my wife was pregnant with our first kid, the great grandmother sent it a musical teddy bear that played Teddy Bear's Picnic. It was the very first gift that showed up. I would wind it up and hold it on my love's big belly, while we lazed in bed - talking, laughing, and waiting in trepidation for the scary intruder to horn in on our duprass.

The intruder turned out to be twins, so we ended up with two of nearly everything you can imagine, but that teddybear seemed to have a special talent. When they were restless and needy, we would wind up the bear and put in in the crib that the girls shared. More often than not, they would relax and become quiet, and all four of us would get a sweet moment of sleep.

Now they're Big Kids, and the bear is just a ratty remnant of its former self. It gets stuffed into boxes and stored in closets, or left out in the garage. Sometimes I run across it, and when I do, I always stop what I'm doing for a moment and wind it up. It doesn't play quite right anymore. It has gone out of tune, and it's slower than it should be. It sounds pretty awful.

When it runs down, I stuff it back into the box, and put the box away. I get busy, but I have to wipe my face on my sleeve. There's some kind of dust in that thing that makes my eyes water.

Lyrics: Traditional?
Music: Traditional?

Played occasionally by Jerry Garcia as a "tuning" jam between songs with the Dead. Recorded with David Grisman (with lyrics) for "Not For Kids Only"


If you go down to the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the woods today
You better go in disguise
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic

Every teddy bear whose been good
Is sure of a treat today
There's lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
'Cause that's the way the teddy bears have their picnic

Picnic time for teddy bears
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily gad about
They love, to play and shout, they never have any cares
At six o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears

If you go down in the woods today
You better not go alone
It's lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there together because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic


1993 Not For Kids Only (Garcia and Grisman)

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