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

Materials:

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.

Arctic animals play invitation

Materials:

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.

Faux snow (reusable) or create your own snow

Another version of a play invitation.  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 because it will just melt right now.

2. Outdoor activities-

Charades, Copycat (modern version of Simon Says)

First demonstrate each arctic animal that you will be using in the game (for example: roar like a Polar Bear, Waddle like a Penguin, flop like walrus on land, hop like a bunny, lay like a seal, etc.  If you want to use visuals, which I highly recommend, use the Arctic & Antarctic Scavenger Hunt Arctic Animals Scavenger Hunt PRINTABLE for photos before you demonstrate.

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. 

Snack Necklace

Materials:

  • dry cereal (with a large hole through the middle so it can be easily strung) NOTE: I have stopped using Cherrios since last summer when they had a recall due to trace amounts of Round up (the weed killer).
  • twine
  • storage container or bowl

What’s better than an activity you get to eat it? It’s great to build focus and stamina even in younger siblings (we started practicing this at 2, he is now four). He needed a lot of help at first. This time I had to start it for him and we finished it himself!

Cutting practice

Materials:

Fine motor skills take A LOT of practice to develop! I made my own cutting sheets using stickers, copy paper and a sharpie. I added leftover black construction paper from the torn art project to add contrast to the polar bears.

4. Read Books 

See my full post and read about the best books for arctic & antarctic animals.

5. Learning Journals

Materials:

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

Materials:

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 animal photo into the shapes. I see a circle for his head and an oval for his body.

This activity is designed for 4 years and up. It’s can be 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). It helps if they know their shapes.

NOTE: modeling clay is not as easy to manipulate as play-dough. If your child is younger than 4 buy the “soft” modeling clay or just make your own playdough and add color it. The dollar store modeling clay I bought was REALLY challenging for my son. He still loved the idea of the project and chose to invent his own “giant Arctic Eagle” (the red, yellow & white glob of clay in the photo above) who does not need camouflage because “it flies high in the sky”!

Popsicle Stick Penguins

Materials:

Paint the Popsicle sticks

I used our tempra 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 feathers from another craft).

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

Torn Paper Art

Materials:

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 there will be a reference to the animal we’re going to make.

7. Arctic Animals 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!

Penguin

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.

 

Polar Bears: Books & Activities

Arctic Animals Books to Read

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