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Polar Bear and Martin Luther King Jr. Activities and Crafts

Polar Bears Preschool and Kindergarten activities and lessons
Polar bear preschool activities


In January we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. by learning about his dream for a better world. January is also a great time to learn about polar bears and develop an appreciation for them. Polar bears are native to the icy cold water of the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding areas. This magnificent animal is the largest predator that lives on land, being twice as big as the Siberian tiger. Sadly however, due especially to global warming, the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species. Bundle up and get inspired with our Martin Luther King, Jr. and polar bear-inspired activities, crafts, recipes, games, lessons, and printables for children in preschool and kindergarten.


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Healthy Facts and Tips

Children are often less active in winter, especially in the cold and snowy climates. Introduce children to winter activities that keep their bodies moving, their minds engaged, and reduce dependence on television and video games.

  • Go out in the snow. Dress warmly and make snowmen, snow angels, or go ice skating. Give children small shovels and let them clear a section of the sidewalk.
  • Create non-melting snowballs from clean old white socks which have been rolled into balls and have an indoor snowball fight.
  • Organize a house fitness circuit. Include jumping jacks in the living room, wall push-ups in the bedroom, kicks in the kitchen, etc.

Activity: Help Save the Polar Bear

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Activity 1, picture 1

What you need:

  • Map or globe
  • Newspaper
arctic map Activity 1, picture 3

What you do:

Show children on a map or a globe the North Pole. Explain that the North Pole is always frozen with ice, but because of something called “carbon emissions,” temperatures around the world are getting warmer, which is causing the polar ice cap to melt. Give each person an ice cube to hold in his/her or hands, and let them see what happens when it gets warmer. Explain because the ice floes are melting, the polar bears must swim further distances to get from ice floe to another, which is very exhausting. The bears tire out easily and can't find enough food for themselves and their cubs.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

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What you do:

Literacy Activity
Before you begin reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle, take a picture walk with children. Ask them what they think the story will be about. Then read the book to children. After reading, ask your children to tell you what happened in the story. Ask children, “What does the polar bear hear?” Talk about some of the words in the story such as “bellowing,” “yelping,” and “trumpeting.” Explain that these are all words that mean a loud kind of noise. Ask children, “What other noisy words can you find in this book?”

Activity: How Arctic Animals Stay Warm

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polar bear science activity

What you need:

  • Large plastic tub
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Ziploc bags
  • Vegetable shortening

What you do:

Fill your water table with cold water, lots of ice, and plastic Arctic animals. Let children put their hands into the water to play with the animals. Most likely, they will quickly tell you that their hands are too cold. Talk with them about how Arctic animals stay warm in the icy water because of something called blubber. Explain that blubber is a thick layer of fat beneath the skin of many sea mammals such as whales, seals, and walruses. To demonstrate how blubber helps keep animals warm, fill two Ziploc bags with vegetable shortening. Seal the bags and place them into another Ziploc bag. Have a child slip his/her hand in between the two bags of shortening and close the outside bag around his/her hand. Then have him/her place his/her hand into a tub of icy water. The shortening will act as blubber and keep the child’s hand warm.

Activity: Martin Luther King, Jr.

snowball math activity

What you need:

Martin Luther King I have a dream printbles

What you do:

Show a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. to children. Does anyone know who this person is? What do you know about him? Allow children to share what they know and write their responses on a large sheet of paper. On the third Monday in January, we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday. Why do you think we celebrate his birthday? Allow children time to respond. Read the book Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King or another book about Martin Luther King. Talk about the book and write on the chart any new information that children have learned.

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Movement Activities

picture of Lilly jumping rope

Polar Bear, Polar Bear Turn Around

With your child, recite this fun rhyme and make the movements together:

Polar bear, polar bear,
Twirl around.
Polar bear, polar bear,
Make no sound.

Polar bear, polar bear,
Dance on your toes.
Polar bear, polar bear,
Touch your nose.

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