I have a group of 3 year olds, to end our Hibernation week we had a special hibernating day. I had the children wear their pajamas’ and bring a sleeping bag. We also a a special bear or animal to sleep with. I had the children bring a flashlight and we walked around our daycare center looking for a bear. We went on a Bear Hunt with the CD DR. JEAN. We also made a special trail mix; we had choc chips, skittles, pretzels, marshmallows, and teddy grahams in it.
Another great hibernation book is The Bear Snores On ….
When we discuss hibernation, I tell the kids we are going to turn into bears, we must eat our food (lunch) because we will be hibernating for the whole winter!( naptime) Not promising it works, but it interests them for a couple of days!
We introduced a hedgehog hand puppet to Nursery during term 1. It became involved in our Circle Time and Music Time. When Autumn came, hedgehog became ‘tired’ so we looked for autumn leaves to dry for his bed. We had a hibernation party, including party food such as ‘snail sandwiches’ (chocolate spread on bread, rolled up then cut into slices) worms, (cola laces) and bugs (raisins). The children had a great time saying bye to Hedgehog as he went for his winter sleep. We linked ‘hiding away’ with ‘hibernation,’ and the children still talk about it. When a ‘quiet’ time comes in the spring term, hedgehog will surprise us all and wake up!
This was a great way to compare woodland animals and their habits and introduce the tricky word ‘hibernation’ in a meaningful context for the children.
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.)
The week of Groundhog’s Day we always study a winter unit revolving around animals, especially bears. This year to kick off our study of animals and hibernation we had a Hibernation Party. The children arrived in their pajamas and brought their bears. We had many soft pillows and made “dens” for the children. The children enjoyed having a day in their pajamas. We had pancakes cut in the shape of bears. We had strawberries for snacks with bear shaped cookies.
Books for Hibernation Themes:
The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
Good Night, Baby Bear by Frank Asch
When will it be Spring? by Catherine Walters
The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss
“Skunks! Go to Bed!” by Ted Bailey