Polar Bears in Preschool: A Mini-Unit Study
Bundle up; it is cold outside! The winter months are the perfect time to bring a bit of polar fun into the preschool curriculum. Polar bears are an ideal way to introduce some fun learning in a way that is sure to hold your young students’ attention. Get started on a polar bear themed mini-unit using the ideas below.
Polar Bear Acrostic Poem – Create an acrostic poem using “polar bear” during small group or circle time.
Awesome Adjectives – In the center of a large piece of chart paper, draw a polar bear. Have students brainstorm adjectives to describe polar bears and write them down on the chart paper around the polar bear.
Science and Social Studies
Make snow – This simple snow-making science experiment is perfect for little scientists. Scroll down about 1/3 of the way to see the ingredients and directions.
Make a snow globe – Turn a glass or plastic jar into a fun snow globe by following these easy directions. Be sure you have a helper to assist with this project!
Layer Up! – Discuss body heat and temperature by having students layer up. The more layers they have on, the more body heat is trapped and the warmer they stay. It is a great way to tie in the seasons and different clothing needs for each time of the year. You could even use a piece of fake fur to demonstrate how much warmer it is than a thin piece of cotton and relate it to the polar bears’ fur.
Where in the World are Polar Bears? – Break out the world map and discuss where polar bears are found. Measure the distance from your school to the polar bears’ location and compare that to other distances in the local community (i.e. – distance from the school to the town library, etc.)
Shapely Polar Bears – Use tangrams to create a polar bear shape. Use smaller tangrams for centers or large tangrams for a group activity.
Polar Bear Dot-to-Dot – Download and print out a polar bear dot-to-dot activity page to help reinforce number skills.
Books for Circle Time
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Face to Face with Polar Bears by Norbert Rosing and Elizabeth Carney
Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack
How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World (Knut) by Craig Hatkoff
Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson
The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich
Get additional ideas by downloading the free Polar Bear Curriculum from the San Diego Zoo. Although geared toward elementary grades, there are some wonderful ideas and resources in it that can be adapted for the preschool level.