The polar bear is the largest land predator and can grow up to 10 feet tall. Kids often find these beautiful animals intriguing and enjoy learning about them. Although kids need a healthy respect for the bears, since they don't fear humans and can be quite dangerous, teaching about polar bears presents an opportunity to talk about habitat loss and what each child can do to help the environment.
Polar Bear Snack
With a little prep time, this fun activity also ends with a snack for your class. You'll need rice cakes, cottage cheese, black olives, chocolate sandwich cookies, bananas and plastic knives. Before the activity begins, slice the banana and lay out the other ingredients in small bowls. To assemble a polar bear snack, the child must spread the cottage cheese over the rice cake so it resembles fur. Next, use the olives as eyes and the cookie as a nose. Two banana slices at the top of the head act as ears. Raisins can be substituted for the olives and cream cheese can be used instead of cottage cheese, although the "fur" won't look as fluffy.
Pet Polar Bears
After talking to your class about polar bears, take a poll on whether the children think that a polar bear would make a good pet. Create a graph to demonstrate their opinions. Have them come up with a list of why they think polar bears wouldn't make good pets. If they need a nudge, guide them toward talking about what it eats and whether seals are available in your area; the size of the bear's claws; that the bears are dangerous to humans; and the kind of weather polar bears normally live in.
Polar Bear Painting
Get ready for messy fun! Put together a pile of white socks (one pair per child), finger paint and packing paper or another large piece of paper that gives them plenty of room to create. The kids need to put a sock on each hand so they understand what it's like to not have fingers. Now let them paint like a polar bear. Ask them to paint what a polar bear might see when he gets up in the morning or a polar bear's favorite food or game.
Polar Bear Puppets
All you need is a stack of white lunch bags and a pile of cut-out polar bear parts waiting and your students can create their own polar bear puppets. Leave the end of the bag folded over for the face. Provide googly eyes or cut out circles to glue on as eyes. Also have noses, ears and paws already cut and ready to glue on. Encourage each child to draw on the bag, making his own face or design.
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