15 Fun Polar Bear Activities
Are you ready for a book that will blow your students’ minds (and maybe even yours)? Introducing Ice Bear by Nicola Davies, (affiliate links), a picture book that will take you and your kiddos on a wild ride to the frozen tundra of the Arctic. January is the perfect time to discuss arctic animals and specifically polar bears.
This book is all about polar bears, those fluffy white giants that rule the roost at the North Pole. But don’t be fooled by their cute and cuddly appearance – these bears can swim through icy waters and catch seals like nobody’s business. Ice Bear is not only full of fun facts about these amazing animals, but it also has some seriously stunning illustrations that will have you and your students oohing and aahing. So grab your parkas and join us on this adventure to the land of the midnight sun!
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #1 Read Aloud
Ice Bear is, hands down, one of my favorite polar bear books. Here are a few images from the book! The illustrations of these polar bears look almost like photographs! Not only does this book have a narrative text, but there is also informational text on each page.
I have used this book in my own classroom going back many years. I knew I loved this book, but I guess I was a little surprised at how my students connected with it. So when we planned out our Engaging Readers units, the book, Ice Bear, made the list!
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #2 Responding to Text
When students are interested in the subject they are writing about, student engagement goes through the ROOF!
Students are asked to share what they know about polar bears with this response page.
Students are writing about the connections they made in the book. Here is the writing prompt:
Polar bears need to keep their coats clean so they will remain camouflaged in the snow. This of another animal that uses camouflage. Draw and write about how camouflage helps this animal.
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #3 Interactive Writing
We use interactive writing to model and support writing conventions. At times, I would do interactive writing on a large chart. Other times I would do interactive writing under my document camera.
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #4 Informational Text Writing
We can support students’ writing by adding a chart to document our learning. There are so many interesting facts in this great book.
I love the creative way Mrs. P’s class made the books in the shape of a polar bear. So cute!
You can find these reading comprehension lessons on one of our favorite polar animals in our Engaging Readers Units:
#4 Polar Bear Art: Directed Drawing
We love to incorporate directed drawing whenever we can. For some students, this is precisely the support they need to take them from, “I can’t draw..” to “Look what I DREW!” [If I am being honest, I need directed drawings to make anything look recognizable.]
This is such an easy polar bear craft activity that kist requires black construction paper and a white crayon.
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #5 Blubber Glove Experiment
Mrs. P’s class also borrowed the blubber glove experiment from Deanna Jump’s Penguin Unit. You can read about this experiment by reading her blog post:
A blubber glove is made with simple household items (plastic bags and vegetable shortening). Students slide their hand into the glove and then dip it into the cold water. You can discuss a variety of animals that rely on blubber to protect themselves from the cold weather.
#7 Polar Bear Sensory Play – Exploring the Effects of Climate Change
The effects of global warming have impacted the animals that live in polar regions. Here is what Mrs. P said about this project:
I filled the container up with water, added some ice cubes and a few drops of blue food coloring then placed it in the freezer for about an hour, just enough for the top to freeze so the polar bear could stand on it. The neat thing was as the ice melted the polar bear could no longer stand on it. This helped the students understand why polar bears can more than double their body weight during the springtime foraging season when they hunt seals on the ice but as the sea ice melts earlier and earlier, polar bears are forced to swim more and more to reach seal populations.
Talk about making this lesson come to life!
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #8 Polar Bear Model Clay Art
Students strengthen their fine motor skills in an easy way by making these amazing creatures in clay! Here are a few of the adorable polar bears from Mrs. B’s classroom!
They even come with their own sign! LOL
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #9 STEM
This STEM challenge is one of the fun activities that are a must for your polar bear unit. Students work to create a den for their polar bear.
Check out the cute video of the students in Mrs. P’s class building their den. They had so much fun!
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #10 Videos
Here a few videos that you may want to include in your week!
To go along with the blubber glove experiment, this is a great video!
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #11 Polar Bear Poems
We love our weekly poems. Younger students might look for letter sounds, while older children can find decodable words or sight words. We start the year with letter recognition.
Each poem also comes with a mini book so students can take the poem home with them.
You can find this Polar Bear Poem:
Fun Polar Bear Activities: #12 Polar Riddle of the Day
One activity that my students loved is solving the riddle of the day. Each day, a riddle is posted. As students came in, I read the riddle to them. Students used the context clues to figure out the answer to the riddle. They would jot their guess on a little slip of paper and then we would go through the poem during our morning meeting.
Here is the polar bear riddle in case you want to try it out with your class:
I am the largest of my kind.
My thick white fur makes me hard to find.
I like to hunt and play in the snow,
But when its cold, to my den I go!
What am I?
You can find the complete set of January riddles:
#13 Polar Bear Center Activities
We love some arctic animal fun! Here are a few math centers and literacy activities that are fun to use during polar bear week!
Click on the image to find these resources.
#14 Polar Bear 100s Chart Activity
These mystery pictures are oodles of fun. This is a great early-finisher activity too!
#15 Polar Bear Snack for the Classroom
This is a really easy snack. Here are the materials you will need:
a circle biscuit cutter (I used a drinking glass)
a craft stick to spread the cream cheese.