I decided to make the entire day "Polar Bear Day" and continued the theme at home.  We talked about polar bears, looked at pictures of polar bears from pictures I have saved over the years and even watched a short polar bear video.  I like the girls to see how an animal lives in the wild; how it moves, sounds and communicates.  The video we watched really interested the girls and they actually watched it a couple of times through the day. Side note:  Make sure you preview any type of animal video before showing it to your child.  I came across several that were not appropriate for my girls.  This is actually a good idea for any video/movie.  :)
Love Bug checking out pictures of real polar bears.
Here are the activities we talked about/did at home.

Look at My Fur 
Did you know that a polar bear's fur not only camouflages it for hunting, but it also serves as a sun collector to keep it warm?  Its hairs are actually tiny see-through "tubes" that trap ultraviolet light and lead it to the polar bear's black skin.  Since the color black absorbs energy from the sun, the polar bear's fur soaks up sun, thus keeping the polar bear warm in the cold artic weather.  

We see this when we wear a black shirt when it's sunny outside because just like a polar bear's skin, a black shirt absorbs the heat while a white shirt reflects it.  Try this exercise out to test this fact out at home.

Feel the Heat
idea from "Animals from Near and Far"

Supplies Needed:  Two jars with lids, black construction paper, white construction paper, tape, scissors, water

What to do:
  1. Cover one jar with black construction paper by wrapping the paper around the jar and taping it.  Depending what size jars you use, you may need to cut the paper to size.
  2. Do the same with the other jar, but with the white construction paper.
  3. Fill each jar halfway with cold water.
  4. Put the lids on the jars.
  5. Place the jars outside in a sunny spot.
  6. Check your jars in about an hour.  Which jar's water is warmer?  Why?
image from "Animals from Near and Far"
Five Little Polar Bears

Five little polar bears  (Hold up one hand.)
Playing on the shore.
One fell in the water,
And then there were four.  (Put down one finger.)

Four little polar bears  (Hold up four fingers.)
Swimming out to see.
One got lost.
And then there were three.  (Put down another finger.)

Three little polar bears said,   (Hold up three fingers.)
"What shall we do?"
One climbed an iceberg.
Then there were two.  (Put down another finger.)

Two little polar bears  (Hold up two fingers.)
Playing in the sun.
One went for food
Then there was one.  (Put down another finger.)

One little polar bear  (Hold up one finger.)
Didn't want to stay.
He said, "I'm lonesome,"
And swam far away. (Put last finger down.)

photo from www.amazon.com
Polar Bears Painted "Elmer-style"

Elmer is an elephant, a patchwork elephant to be exact.  David McKee has written a whole series about Elmer and his antics.  Sweet Girl, who LOVES elephants fell in love with Elmer a while back at story time.  This week, we actually found an Elmer book for sale at the library for only $0.25!  This was all the inspiration Sweet Girl needed to suggest that we paint our polar bears like Elmer.

Supplies Needed:  polar bear pattern, white paper, permanent marker, scissors, glue stick, water color paints, blue construction paper, snowflake stickers and crayons

*Depending on your child's age, an adult may have to do a little prep for this craft.

What to do:
  1. Trace a couple of polar bear patterns onto white paper.
  2. Use a permanent marker to add details (mouth, nose, ears) to the polar bears.  Do not use a washable marker or it will run when the water colors are used.
  3. Use water colors to paint the polar bears "Elmer-style."
  4. Let the polar bears dry.  They should dry quickly.  You can paint another picture while you wait.
  5. Cut out the polar bears.
  6. Glue the polar bears onto the blue construction paper.
  7. Use crayons to give the polar bears somewhere to stand and draw their surroundings.
  8. Use snowflake stickers to decorate the picture.

Sweet Girl even added a fish to her picture. I love how creative she is.
I love how Love Bug placed her bears!
photo from www.amazon.com
We had a lot of fun learning about polar bears and even read some more books today about polar bears.  I think I might do a post with all the books we've read for our winter unit, but I just had to share the one we read for bedtime story tonight.  The Lonesome Polar Bear is written by Jane Cabrera, an author/illustrator we learned about at story time last year.   The story is cute and the illustrations keep the children engaged.

I hope you have learned something new about polar bears and enjoy doing these activities with your child.

**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  

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