Preschool Science: Animals in Winter (part one)

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When the weather turns cold, I turn to one of my favorite themes for preschool science: Animals in Winter. I remember as a young child wondering and worrying about how animals survive in frosty weather. Over time, I came up with a group of stories and activities that our families seem to enjoy.

Prior to Preschool Science, I present a traditional preschool storytime, which includes a mix of fiction, non-fiction and folklore. This helps my young patrons get their minds focused on our topic of exploration. This month I shared:

  • Animals in Winter, by Martha Rustad
  • Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson (big book version)
  • The Hat, by Jan Brett (big book version)
  • Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit, by Il Sung Na
  • Rabbit’s Gift, retold by George Shannon (oral telling with feltboard)

Then Preschool Science begins!

Dressed for Winter

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This activity tied-in nicely with Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit. Using a projector, I traced the outline of an Arctic Fox, Snowshoe Hare, and a weasel on brown paper. I pinned the shapes onto the wall and set out glue and cotton balls. During the program the children were invited to “dress the animals for winter” by gluing the cotton balls onto the animal shapes. This activity helps to illustrate an animal adaptation, where brown fur changes to white so that the animals are better camouflaged in the snow.

Animal Tracks

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This activity went through a few cycles before I came up with one that worked. First, I cut stencils out of thin craft foam of bear, dear, bird, and fox tracks. Then, I taped white paper to a table. During the program, children created a jumble of tracks in the snow. In order to create an opportunity for writing, I encouraged the children to label the tracks.

See Part Two for more

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