While studying bears, we focus a couple of days on polar bears. I put plastic polar bears in water and freeze them in water in med. sized Ziploc bags. Then, in the sensory table, we float these ice burgs in water. Talk to the kids about how cold the water gets and if they think the polar bears get cold. Then explain that polar bears have blubber and fur to keep them warm. Then, demonstrate this by wrapping each child’s “paw” in saran wrap and then putting a baggie over it. Tell them that is like the blubber and fur and that keeps the polar bears warm in the icy water!
In the Fall we begin talking about animals and where they go for in the winter. One fun activity we do (to teach the concept of hibernation) is to take a large box; paint it brown, then glue leaves, grass, etc,. on it. This becomes our “bear cave.” We discuss hibernation and the children use the “bear cave” throughout the winter season in their dramatic play area.
In the Fall, one of our themes is hibernation. We make a bear cave out of brown poster board (the base) and brown bulletin board paper. The children add leaves for a soft bed and we place one of the stuffed bears into the cave. We close it up and add a sign that says “Shhh… the bear is sleeping”. We keep the cave in the classroom all winter and in the Spring out comes the bear with two small cubs. (I purchased the bears at yard sales.)
Polar Bear Science. How do Bears stay warm? Because they have so much blubber. Bring in a bowl of water and add allot of ice cubes. Put each child’s hand in and count and write down how long they can keep their hand in the cold water. Then using Crisco in a zip lock bag, put the child’s hand in another baggy and then cover it with the Crisco in the zip bag and then sub merge their hand back into the icy water. Count how long they can keep it in the water this time. Graph the results Why do they think they could keep their hand in the water when in Crisco…cause of the fat…same for the Polar Bears…