Arctic Animals Kids Activities

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Arctic Animals Kids Activities (ages 2-8)

This winter we’re learning about arctic and antarctic animals at home! Here are some of our favorite activities.

1. Sensory Play

I rotate out different sensory activities throughout the month. This keeps him engaged in learning about our topic and adds a new element of discovery.

Play-dough Play Invitation


  • Play-dough
  • Toys
  • Imagination

This is a super simple set up. Buy or make play-dough and add some arctic (or antarctic) animal toys to play with.  We made a new batch of white play-dough and had some blue left over from our Ocean Unit.

Penguin play invitation

Arctic animals play invitation


  • Arctic & Antarctic Toys
  • Sensory Materials (dry white beans, marbles-decorative/flat, very dull sea glass- white/clear-looks like ice, faux snow or white paper shreds)
  • Sensory Bin

This is a similar set up to the play-dough invitation but  we use another sensory material, marbles. I chose flat marbles (less of a fall hazard if some escape from the box) and it’s cold to the touch.

We re-purposed some faux snow from our Super Hero Snowglobes activity instead of making snow. When the weather is colder we’ll make snow.

2. Outdoor activities

Arctic scavenger hunt

Unless you live in one of the Arctic regions you’ll have to make or recreate your own arctic scavenger hunt! I plan this the same day we make faux snow so it can be re-purposed to camouflage the animals, but it only lasts so long. These are best outdoors but in a pinch can easily be modified for indoor play, just use re-usable snow (and a vacuum) or white construction paper (less mess).

3. Fine Motor Practice

Playing with play-dough helps build the muscles in the hands that are required for fine motor work. See below for more fine motor ideas!

Fine Motor SkillsSnack Necklace


  • dry cereal (with a large hole through the middle so it can be easily strung)
  • twine
  • storage container or bowl

This is the best fine motor activity because you get to eat it! It’s great to build focus and stamina even in younger siblings (we started practicing this at 2. He needed a lot of help at first. I had to start it for him and we worked up to building stamina).

Cutting practice


  • Cutting practice sheets (I make my own)
  • Kid scissors
  • kid table or work space

This is another skill that takes A LOT of practice to develop! My son was so excited and felt like I “big kid” when we started practicing with kid scissors.

4. Read Books 

See my full post and read about the best books for arctic & antarctic animals. This is a pretty big list and our local library only had 3 of the books on my list so we checked those out and bought the rest of the titles we were really looking forward to reading.

DIY Journal

5. Learning Journals


  • Construction paper
  • Copy paper
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  • Stickers (optional)
  • *note: Arctic & Antarctic journals are pictured together.

Make a homemade journal for drawing and writing. They can free draw or draw after reading a story or playing with one of the sensory bins, showing what they’ve learned.

6. Arts and Crafts

arctic animals arts and crafts


  • Modeling Clay
  • animal photos or toys
  • Wax or news paper (to work on & let the clay dry)

Chose the arctic animal you’d like to create. Choose the colors you will use. I break down all art projects that require me to draw or be creative into shapes. So If was going to make a seal then I’d “think aloud” & break down the seal into the shapes I see.

“I am going to make his body first. It looks like an oval to me. Next i’m going to make the head. It looks like a circle. Now I’ll make the flippers they look like ovals that are flat. Then go back and add the details. I used my finger nails to “carve” a space for the eyes (or use a pencil) and nose. Then I made the shapes for the pupils and nose with black clay.”

This activity is designed for 4 years and up. It’s really tricky to make the shapes needed to make the animals so make sure to have plenty of adults helping (one adult for every 2 children).

Arctic Seal modeling clay

In the photo above I used modeling clay I already had. There was no black brown or gray so we had to mix our own. He though it was a cool trick that mommy knows how to make colors! This was a harder project since the modeling clay is not as easy to manipulate as the play-dough we’re used to. He chose to invent his own “giant Arctic Eagle” who does not need camouflage because “it flies high in the sky”!

Popsicle Stick Penguins


  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Penguin photos or toys
  • Paint & brushes OR Tempra paint sticks
  • Glitter glue, puffy paint, sharpie or tempra paint & a very skinny paintbrush for eyes
  • IF using paint brushes water container to set brushes in
  • Construction paper or post it notes

Paint the Popsicle sticks

I used our paint sticks because they are a less messy & there are no paint brushes to clean up afterward.

Add the details (white tummy, orange feet & crest- Macaroni Penguin- I had some feather from another craft).

Penguin Popsicle Sticks

Cut the sticky side of a post-it note and use it for the feet & beak.

Penguin Craft


Torn Paper Art


  • Large 12×18 Construction Paper Black (night time) or White (daytime) for the background
  • 8 x 10 multi colored construction paper with extra white and black
  • Elmer’s Glue

I like to do the torn paper art after I’ve read a few books about the animal I want to create. This way I know how to make the background. It’s not a test but it can also show how much of what your child remembers about what they’ve read.

Arctic Animals kids activities

7. Songs & Poems

The Polar Bear

The polar bear by being white
gives up his camouflage at night,
And, yet without a thought or care,
he wanders here, meanders there,
and gaily treads the ice floes
completely unconcerned with foes.
For after dark nobody dares
to set out after polar bears.

Jack Prelutsky

Polar Bear

(to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”)

The polar bear lives in Alaska,
He never gets cold in a storm,
He swims in cold icy water,
His heavy coat keeps him warm.
Warm, warm, warm, warm,
His heavy coat keeps him warm.
Warm, warm, warm, warm,
His heavy coat keeps him warm.

The Antarctic Food Chain

(to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”)

Itsy, bitsy, plankton
Floating in the sea.
Along comes the krill
and eats it easily.

Next comes the penguin
and the leopard seal,
The antarctic killer whale
finishes up the meal!


I know a bird
That cannot fly:
Penguin is its name.
It cannot fly,
But it can swim
With speed that wins it fame!

I know a bird
That lives on ice
And waddles by the sea.
It looks so cute
In its black-and-white suit,
As handsome as can be!

Meish Goldish

Six Little Penguins

Six little penguins off an iceberg did dive,
One bumped his beak, then there were five.
Five little penguins swam the ocean floor,
One saw a whale, then there were four.
Four little penguins spun around, whee-ee!
One spun off, then there were three!
Three little penguins, with nothing to do,
One went fishing, then there were two.
Two little penguins, having lots of fun,
One fell of, then there was one.
One little penguin, when the day was done,
Went home to sleep, then there were none.

Mr. Penguin

(can be sung to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey)

On top of an iceberg,
All covered with snow
I saw my first penguin.
I wanted to know.
Oh is it a bird?
Or is it a fish?
I look at his feathers,
And knew which was which.
I said, “Mr. Penguin,
Which species are you?”
He said, I’m emperor.
And not a gentoo.”
I said, “Mr. Penguin,
What’s under your patch?”
He said, “It’s an egg,
It’s ready to hatch,”
I said, “Mr. Penguin,
Oh where is your wife?”
“She’s out in the ocean,
She’ll be back tonight.”
Said Mr. Penguin,
“Her name is Jill.
She’s out in the ocean,
Feeding on krill.”
The next thing I knew,
I heard a peep.
And I saw a chick,
At the emperor’s feet.

Need some fun ideas for winter play based learning? Try some some of our favorite Arctic Animal kids activities! 

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