image from abcteach.com
We aren't the only ones that wear winter coats!  Many animals wear their "winter coats" as the seasons change, too.  One example, is the snowshoe hare.  For most of the year, the snowshoe hare has a brown coat.  When winter comes, it sheds it brown coat and grows a white one.  This is a great craft that helps illustrate this change.  I've included several educational links as well for you to look at with your child.  Of course, you can always check out books at the library!

You can take it further by discussing the following with your child:
  • Want to know more in general about the snowshoe hare?  Check out this link.
  • How small are the snowshoe hare's footprints?  Check it out here
  • Why do you think the snowshoe hare would need white fur in the winter?   My preschooler knew that the white fur would help the hare hide from another animal that would want to eat it.  This would be the perfect time to talk about camouflage.
  • What other animals use camouflage?
  • What other animals' fur change colors for the winter?  Check out this link for five artic animals that turn white for the winter.  It's amazing how white these animals get.  God's creatures are amazingly made!

The ideas mentioned below were submitted to The Mailbox Magazine, Preschool Edition, Jan/Feb 2003 by LeeAnn Collins.

Snowshoe Hare Gets Ready for Winter

Supplies Needed:  a snowshoe hare pattern (I got mine from the magazine) brown crayon, white tempera paint, glue, paintbrush, cotton balls or stuffing, pom-poms and/or wiggly eyes for the nose and eye

What to do:
  1. Depending on your child's age, you may have to cut out the hare pattern out.
  2. Have your child color in the hare brown.  (You could just print it on brown paper.)
  3. Mix an equal amount of glue and white paint for your child to paint his/her pattern. 
  4. Then, let your child use cotton balls to give the hare its new "coat" for winter.
  5. Lay flat to dry before hanging up.

My girls decided to do a before and after picture of the snowshoe hare instead.  So, I used another pattern from the magazine for the "before" and they just colored it in.  For the "after" picture, we just used a glue stick and cotton balls.  (This made the craft a little less messy, but follow the lead of your child of what he/she wants to do.)  The snowshoe hare became a bit unrecognizable, but he would definitely blend in with the snow!
I decided to also do the following song that has to do with describing differences and a fingerplay that has to do with survival relating to basic needs.  These activities built on what my girls and I had already talked about.  Sweet Girl was singing the song the rest of the night.  What a fun way to teach something new to your child--with a song!

Ready, Set, Winter!
(sung to the tune of "Skip to My Lou")

[Deer] gest ready, what does it do?
Does it wear boots and mittens, too?
That's not something this [deer] would do!
It [grows thick fur in winter].

Additional verses:
bear; takes a nap through winter
hare; grows white fur in winter
goose; flies away for the winter

Winter Routines
A fingerplay

One furry bear,                                          Hold up one finger.
Fast asleep.                                              Pretend to be asleep.
Shhh! Be quiet and don't make a peep!   Place finger on lips.
He naps when it's cold.                            Wrap arms around self.
He naps all winter--                                  Pretend to sleep.
So I'm told.                                               Point to self.

One busy goose,                                     Hold up one finger.

Flying away fast.                                     Flap arms.
Look and see her flying past!                  Point up.
She flies when it's cold.                          
Wrap arms around self.
She flies to warmer places--                   Flap arms.
So I'm told.                                              Point to self.

One showshoe hare,                              
Hold up one finger.
Hopping in the snow.                              Hold up two fingers "hopping."
He leaves little footprints as he goes.     Point down.
He's white when the snow falls.              Wiggle fingers to imitate snow falling.
He's white when it's cold.                        
Wrap arms around self.
But he's not always white--                     Shake head no.
So I'm told.                                              Point to self.
I was thankful for finding this unit.  I hope you enjoy these activities as much as I have.

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