by Victoria Montoya | Lakeshore Director of Public Relations
As winter approaches and the cooler weather arrives, my kids start spending more and more time indoors. This is the time of year when I sometimes struggle to find enough fun, educational activities to keep the kids busy and engaged. So, I try to keep a bank of winter-themed crafts on hand to use as boredom busters—and to keep the kids thinking and learning. I especially appreciate simple crafts that use basic supplies we already have at home—like this cute polar bear craft made with cotton balls! After the kids are done crafting, you can channel their enthusiasm for this beloved animal into a fun research project—where kids learn more about polar bears and then record their thoughts and observations.
Note: This craft can also be adapted for use in the classroom—just add more supplies!
You will need:
- Paper plates (one for each polar bear)
- Cotton balls (20-25 per polar bear)
- Polar bear face template
- Crayons or markers
- Polar bear writing page printout
- Glue cotton balls onto the plate, covering the surface.
- Print out the polar bear face template and cut out the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
- Glue the eyes, nose and mouth on top of the cotton balls to make the face, and then glue the ears to the top edge of the plate to complete the polar bear.
- To extend the fun and the learning, research polar bears online or check out a book from your local library. As you read about polar bears and look at photos together, guide children’s thinking with these ideas:
- Talk about the polar bears’ fur. Ask, Why do you think their fur is white? If kids have never heard about camouflage, explain that the white fur makes it easy for them to hide in the snow, allowing them to sneak up on their prey.
- Discuss animal habitats. Encourage kids to describe the region in which polar bears live and ask them to name other animals that might live in the same region (seals, arctic foxes, snowy owls, walruses, etc.).
- You can also introduce early map reading skills by helping children use a map or globe to locate the Arctic Circle.
- After researching and talking about polar bears together, let kids use the polar bear writing page printout to complete each sentence. Help them think through any tricky concepts, like how to estimate a polar bear’s size.
- When kids are done, glue the printout to the back of the polar bear face and let kids use it to practice reading—developing reading fluency.