Winter Animals Activities plus a FREEBIE!

Our first week of school in the new year got off to a great start with a theme on Winter Animals! We began the week by discussing Hibernating Animals.  On Monday, we read the book “Winter Lullaby” by Barbara Seuling and learned how different animals hibernate through the winter. Then we put together “My Winter Lullaby” booklet…



We then did an experiment about hot and cold and how Winter Animals react to them. I filled two bins with water, one hot and one cold. I gave each student two bear cutouts and told them to crumple each one tight.Winter Animals Hibernation Experiment 1

Then I had them hold their crumpled bears above the bins – one over the cold water and one over the hot water – and told them to drop them in.Winter Animals Hibernation Experiment 2


The crumpled bear in the cold water will be slow to absorb the water  and “sleep” like it’s Winter. The other bear in hot water will absorb the water faster and “wake up” like it’s Spring.Winter Animals Hibernation Experiment 3


On Tuesday, we studied the Inuit people of the Arctic. We read “Mama, Do You Love Me?” by Barbara Joose. The illustrations are so beautiful plus there are many references to the Inuit way of life in the book.


For this lesson, we made Inuit children based on ourselves:

Winter Animals - Winter Buddies Craft

And here is our bulletin board:

Winter Animals - Winter Buddies Bulletin Board

On Wednesday, we concentrated on Circles and the letter W for Winter. First we reviewed Circles using the circle pages from the 2D SHAPES Unit in my KEY TO KINDERS TPT Store.

Winter Animals Shapes Printables - Circle

Here’s one of our finished circle piggies:

Winter Animals - Shapes Printables - Circle Craft

In the second part of our day, we concentrated on the letter W by practicing how to write and recognize W using the ABC PRACTICE PAGES  from my KEY TO KINDERS TPT Store:

ABC Printables - Letter W
ABC Printable Pack - TPT

After our W practice, we brainstormed a Winter Acrostic Poem:

Winter Animals - Winter Acrostic Poem

Click HERE for this FREEBIE Worksheet:

Winter Acrostic Poem

On Thursday, we focused our Winter Animals unit on Polar Bears and made this cute craft:

Winter Animals - Polar Bear Craft

The snout is an individual fruit cup container that I spray painted white (or you can have the children paint it with acrylic paint) or you can use a small white paper or styrofoam cup. The children crumpled up white tissue paper squares and glued to a paper plate. The ears were circles cut from black and white card stock I then hot-glued the ears, snout and nose to the plate to finish. Very easy, very cute and makes a great hanging craft!

Finally on Friday we learned what it felt like to be an Arctic animal with blubber. I tied two pillows around the middle of the students and had them perform various tasks like tie their shoes and lay down to sleep. They had a ball!

Winter Animals Blubber Experiment

Afterwards, we colored our Arctic Animal bingo boards and glued them together before playing the game.

WInter Animals Bingo

Sheesh! We had a busy week! Hope you can use some of these ideas for your own classroom!



A Glimpse at My Day

Today I went over counting strategies with my kiddies. While learning addition facts for each number of the week (we’re at number 7), I noticed the kids were struggling with keeping track of their counting pieces. So I sat them down with a pair of big dice and some Santa and penguin mini-erasers and we reviewed different counting strategies like: point,  scoot, fill (into a container/hand, or scoop as one kid called it), ten frame, and lose (take from a container…one student asked if this was subtraction! Way to go!). Here’s a pix (the ice bag is not part of the activity, ha, ha)…


Tomorrow, we will try out the new FREEBIE that I created…CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES CVC UNSCRAMBLE.


I found these cute mini takeout containers at The Christmas Tree Shop (love, love that place!), numbered them, then popped the letters for each word inside the box. You can also use paper bags, envelopes or Christmas cards, to name a few.

Download this activity by clicking on the image:




When Irish Eyes are Smiling…


We had a “golden” week here at school…the leprechaun came and made a mess of our room. Here is the message he left…


He was  a nice leprechaun and left us green-wrappered Andes mints and gold-wrappered mini-roll’s to say he was sorry (Several kids commented about what bad handwriting the leprechaun had!). The kids were wild with excitement and we all had a fun time.

Our themes this week were, of course, St. Patrick’s Day and also Weather. We began our unit talking about the 3 States of Water – steam, liquid & solid.

Then we performed an experiment to see how rain forms in clouds. Can you guess the ingredients from the picture?


No, not green beer, ha, ha (oops, am I allowed to say that on a teaching blog?). It was water, shaving cream and food dye. The dye (because it was heavier than the shaving cream) dripped down into the water and made those great swirls. Fill a glass 3/4 full with water. Finish the rest of the glass with shaving cream. Drop about 10-20 drops of food dye on top and wait for the dye to fall. It takes about 5-7 minutes so be patient.

It was by chance that I only had blue, green, & yellow dye available. It turned the perfect color for St. Patty’s Day!

Our first Math Center was a play on the game “Hi-Ho Cherry-O”. I call it “Hi-Ho Shamrock-O”. The kids spin the spinner to find out whether they get to add 1,2, 3 or 4 shamrocks to their card. They can also Lose 1 or 2, Lose all, or Spin Again.



Our second Math Center took another old game – “Tiddlywinks” – and incorporated our Money Unit plus tallying. The kids had to flip counters with each coin on their sheet – penny, nickel, dime & quarter – then tally how many they got in the shamrock.


I did not give them a set amount of counters to flip. I just let them do as many as they could in the time allotted.


We decoded St. Patrick’s Day sentences for our first Literacy Center. Here is a sample of the worksheet…


The kids worked independently at this center which gave my assistant, Mr. Dustin,  and I time to help others.


Finally, our second Literacy Center involved Golden Eggs.


I was so excited to find golden Easter Egg at my local Harris Teeter. I’ve never seen them before. I thought they would be perfect for a little Word Family exercise. Each egg had a different word family on one side (-en, -op, -ap, -it, -it, -ug). On the other side were consonants or blends that make real words. The kids had to rotate one side to create a new word. (I’m sorry that it’s so hard to see it from this picture – I didn’t realize golden eggs were so shiny and reflective!)

Maybe this picture will give you a better idea:


And here’s a picture of one in action:


Well, that’s it for our week! Hope you found something inspirational to “scaffold” off of (ha, I found a way to use one of those fancy teaching terms that we all learn in our first classes).