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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Free Polar Bear Activities and Ideas

It is pretty sad when 35 degrees seems warm! Last week, we had -40 degree weather with wind chills. The schools shut down for two days. Here are some fun polar bear teaching resources.

Note: This blog post contains resources from our TpT store and our Amazon Associate store.


I have a collection of many resources; unfortunately, I'm not sure of all of their original sources. Please let me know you recognize any and I need to give credit where credit is due.

Let's begin with a cute song, sung to the tune of "My Bonnie."

The polar bear lives in the Arctic,
He never gets cold in a storm,
He swims in the icy cold water,
His heavy coat keeps him warm.

Warm, warm, warm, warm,
His heavy coat keeps him warm.
Warm, warm, warm, warm,
His heavy coat keeps him warm!

A lesson on camouflage:

Step 1: Prepare pre-cut shapes of a polar bear ready - cut out of white paper.

Step 2: Each student receives two polar bears.

Step 3: The first one is glued to a totally white piece of paper - I used about a 5 inch square.

Step 4: The other one also gets glued to another square of the same size but first the students draw a habitat that would be different than the Arctic. For instance, they could draw a jungle, forest, city or farm scene.

Step 5: When the students glue the second polar bear down he stands out like a sore thumb. On the first, all-white square, representing the Arctic environment, he blends right in. This gives them a very good understanding of how natural camouflage works.

Who Has the Ice Cube? Game

Sit in a circle.  Enclose an ice cube in  a small plastic bag.  On child is chosen to be Jack Frost.  He/She goes to the center of the circle and hides eyes.  Remaining players pass bag around circle while music is playing.  When music stops, payers stop passing ice cube.  Jack Frost tries to guess who has ice.  Child with ice cube becomes Jack Frost. Repeat.

Bear in the Winter - Brain Break (Movement Activity)

Walk like a bear by bending your knees and touching your hands to the floor. Look for a warm cave because it is becoming colder.  Curl up and go to sleep until the weather is warmer.  Now awaken slowly from your winter's nap.  Stretch your body. You are very hungry. It is time to leave the cave to hunt for food. (Let the students brainstorm actions as well!)

Winter Walk

Go for a walk and try to identify animal tracks in the snow.  Note differences in size and depth of tracks.

Another fun action rhyme:

Polar bear, Polar bear,
Turn around,
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Make no sound.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Dance on your toes,
Polar bear, Polar bear.
Touch your nose.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Show your paws.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Hide your claws.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Reach up high
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Wink one eye.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Say good-night,
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Shut your eyes tight.
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Wake up now,
Polar bear, Polar bear,
Take a bow.

The students could make their own puppets  to help act out the story:

Now for science...

Blubber Mitten Experiment

 You'll need:
Crisco (or other fat)
2 zipable sandwich bags
A bowl of ice water with ice cubes

Fill one of the zipper bags about 1/3 full of shortening, then turn the remaining zipper bag inside out. Place it carefully inside the bag with the shortening so that you are able to zip the one bag to the other. This creates a "blubber mitten" for the students to put their hand in.

Have the students take turns putter their bare hands in the bowl of cold water and see just how cold it is!

Next, students place their hands in the "blubber mitten" and then place the mittened hand in the ice water.

How cold does the water seem with the "blubber mitten" on?

Do you think a nice layer of blubber would be great protection against cold?

Have the students research other animals that have a layer of blubber to keep them warm.

....and don't forget math!

Step 1:  Brainstorm a list of arctic animals.

Step 2:  Survey the class to determine favorite arctic animals.

Step 3: Students use graph paper to create a graph of the data.  Other ideas include moving the desks around to create a "live" graph and/or create a whole group graph for a bulletin board.

Step 4:  In groups, students create a list of five true facts and five false facts from the graph.  For example, "More students like penguins than polar bears."

Step 5:  Students participate in teams in a trivia type game to answer "true or false" to the facts created.


You may also like the polar bear and winter activities from our TpT store.

Free Winter Writing Papers

 free winter writing papers

Free Winter Writing Prompts Task Cards

 free winter writing prompts story starters

Polar Bears Nonfiction Reading Comprehension Activities

 polar bears reading comprehension activities

Polar Bears and Penguins Little Book and Reading Activities

 penguins and polar bear activities for kids

 winter activities for kids teacher classroom ideas

For 45+ printable winter activities, click HERE.


You may also like these winter-themed resources from our Amazon Associate store:

Melissa & Doug Polar Bear Plush

 polar bear plush stuffed animal classroom centers


 polar bear rubber stamp


 polar bear hand puppet


 Eric Carle Bill Martin Jr Polar Bear Polar Bear


 Polar bear polar bear sound book


 polar bear polar bear bulletin board activities


 arctic animals for kids play centers classroom teacher


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Shelly Anton is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to ** This means there are Amazon affiliate links in these blog posts. This does not mean you pay a dime more when you purchase a product through the link. It just means I am trying to save you valuable teacher time by making it easier for you to find great resources for your students, and I earn a few cents for my research and time. Thank you for all you do for kids!