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Children’s Activities & Books: Animals in the Snow

Jan 26, 2023    |   Children’s BooksWinter

As the cold winter weather continues, it is the perfect time to incorporate seasonal books and activities into your curriculum. In this article, we share a few activities for preschoolers and young children that explore animals in the Arctic and cold environments. Each activity is paired with a popular children’s book about Arctic seals, polar bears, and other animals that will add to the conversation with the children in your care. We’ve also included a link to a read-aloud version of each book.

Arctic Process Art

image and activity from Still Playing School

To continue exploring life in the Arctic, the children in your care might enjoy an arctic process art project that uses different shades of blue tissue paper to create icy habitats for animals to live in. Start by ripping or cutting large sheets of blue tissue paper into small pieces. Older children can use this as an opportunity to practice their scissor skills. Next, wet the small pieces of tissue with water to help them stick onto a large piece of white construction paper to make a collage. This can be done by using a paintbrush or by dipping the pieces in water. Once the collage is complete, encourage children to explore the icy terrain using small plastic animals, such as whales, penguins, polar bears, and more! 

This activity pairs well with What’s That Noise? by Naomi Howarth, a children’s book that follows the story of an Arctic seal named Magnus, who tries to figure out what is causing a rumbling sound. The engaging story introduces children to several animals that live in the Arctic. For further learning, additional detail about each animal is provided at the end of the book. This story will be enjoyed by preschoolers and children in pre-k. You can even use this free read-aloud video of this story.

Polar Bear Finger Paint Art

image and activity from Play to Learn Preschool

This simple finger painting project is a fun sensory activity and creative experience. Get ready for this activity by cutting out several polar bear shapes (you can use this free, printable cut-out). When you are ready to begin, dip each cut-out in water and lay it on a large piece of construction paper. The water will help it stay in place while children paint over it. Encourage children to use their fingers to paint a variety of icy colors (blue, white, purple), covering the entire sheet of paper. Once the paint is dry, lift up the cut-out to reveal the polar bear!

The children’s book, If I knew a Polar Bear by Karen Sutula, is a rhyming story that describes all the different arctic animal friends that a polar bear might have,  from an Arctic fox to a Snowy owl. Each page is colored in various shades of blue with large illustrations of the animals. The story is best for toddlers and preschoolers who will enjoy its simple, rhyming text and bold imagery. Find a free read-aloud version of this children’s book here

Blubber Experiment

image & activity from Gift of Curiosity

This simple experiment is a fun way to learn about how animals stay warm in the cold ocean water. Using a bag of clarified butter (also called ghee), and two containers of ice-cold water, children can experience how the blubber on animals helps to keep them warm in freezing temperatures. Simply place the two containers side-by-side, and encourage children to put one hand in each. Place an empty plastic bag over one hand and a bag with clarified butter over the other. The bag with clarified butter should be filled with just enough butter to cover most of the children’s hand surface, so they can observe how the fat insulates their hands and helps them to stay warm. Encourage children to compare the difference in temperature between their two hands.  

This activity pairs well with the story, North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration, by Nick Dowson, which describes Arctic seasons and tells the story of the migration that takes place each spring as animals travel north towards the Arctic. Through this story, children will learn about how the animals travel (by swimming, walking, or flying), what they eat, and how they live. This book is best suited for older preschoolers and children in pre-k. Find a free read-aloud video of this book here. This recording includes additional questions for reflection to spark conversations with the children in your care. 

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