Burrr! It’s cold outside which makes it the perfect time for a hibernation theme! Pack your classroom with hands-on activities all about what animals do in the winter. Let’s make learning FUN again so grab your lesson plan binder because I’m sharing ideas for every center in your classroom for a hibernation theme. Plus I even have a Hibernating Animals Pre-Writing Card FREEBIE for you later in this post.
Hibernation Sensory Bin! Let’s start with a hibernation themed sensory bin! Grab some brown beans, DIY letter rocks, glass gems (ice), cotton balls (snow), animal figures, plastic scoops, and plastic jars to create a fun hibernation themed sensory bin. Add letter rocks to sneak in some literacy which you can make with a white paint pen using rocks from the Dollar Tree.
Hibernation Play Dough Tray! Create a hibernation themed play dough tray using small rocks, plastic greenery (cut off from flake flowers), sticks, white pom-poms, animal figures, scissors, a rolling pin, and playdough. Students can sculpt winter dens and hiding spots for the animals with the things from the tray. Adding scissors is a great way to practice and strengthen scissor skills. Play dough trays strengthen fine motor muscles, develop hand-eye coordination, creativity, oral language, and social skills as they share the materials.
Hibernation Pre-writing Cards! Pre-writing cards help students develop motor memory so when they go to write letters they already know how to make the various strokes in each letter. Place the mats in a dry erase pocket or cut apart and laminate for students to trace with a dry erase marker. You can also place the cards with a writing tray.
Hibernating Letters! Since some animals hibernate in caves pretend letters hibernate in caves for a fun letter matching game. Cut an opening in black paper cuts then write a letter on the top of each one. Students match the letter to the cave to hibernate. Use any letter manipulative you have in your classroom such as magnet letters, letter beads, or letter rocks.
Hibernating Words! Grab a pizza pan or cookie sheet and place a brown piece of foam of paper on the bottom half creating a cave. Students pick a letter card and make it in the “cave”. This activity would also be fun to do with sight words or student names.
Bear Snores On Retelling! Reading, retelling, and rereading books builds students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary. Read the book once to focus on the characters, read the book a second time to focus on the events, and another time read the book to focus on the setting. Each time you read the book, students notice new things in the illustrations, new things in the text, and make new connections!
Hibernation Writing Center! Add hibernation themed word cards (both capital and lowercase set), fun writing tools like smelly markers or pens, hibernation themed writing paper, groundhog letter mats. By changing up the writing center materials, students will be more engaged and excited about writing and drawing!
Letter Hide and Seek! This is a MUST TO center because students go crazy for it. Place it in a center, play during circle time, or as a transition. Students pick a letter then look to see if the bear is hiding in it.
Hibernation Books! Put amazing books about hibernation and animals in winter. Help students fall in love with reading each day with beautiful books they will want to read again and again. Check out my clickable hibernation book list HERE.
Bear Cave Count! Make caves with plastic bowls by cutting a hole on the front and a number sticker on the top. Students roll a dice, find the matching number cave, and place the matching number of bears in the cave.
Bear Measure! Have each student bring in a stuffed animal bear or bring some you have at home. Measure and sort the bears in various ways. Put a piece of tape on the floor and line the bears up by size. Then each student can measure how tall their bear is with connecting cubes. You can also sort the bears by size (small, medium, nad large).
Hedgehog 2D Shape Puzzles! Since it’s winter, it’s likely that they haven’t been outside as much due to the weather. Adding more sensory into the day and various activities is something students need. Take a few scoops out of the sensory table to create a mini sensory bin. Students pick and match the puzzle pieces.
Chipmunk Number Count! Students line up the chipmunk number trees in order and match the acorns. If your students are younger just put out the number 1-10 or 1-5 even and if your students are more advanced put out just the teens 1–20 or all the puzzles 1-20. It is an easy way to differentiate the game so students can play the game at their own individual level.
Hibernation Patterns! Extend and make patterns with animals that hibernate.
Animals in Winter Science Center! Pack the science center with real photos, books, posters, and investigations all about what animals do in winter (hibernate, migrate, or adapt). Students can sort the animals, measure and examine the animals, label, and build structures for the animals.
Hibernating Bear Art! First, students stamp balls of foil in brown and black paint to create the background. Then students crumble up pieces of brown per bags (I cut the edges to make them round) and glue it to the page creating a cave. Lastly, glue a bear on the cave! I printed the bear silhouette on brown paper.
Hibernation Blocks Center! Encourage students to engineer and build various home animals hibernate in by putting new a few new fun props and posters. Post the posters from Winter STEM I Can Build plus black cups, plastic animals, cotton balls, glass gems, acorns, rocks, fake leaves, and various colored felt (gray: ice, white: snow, blue: water, brown: dirt).
Now I hope lesson plans are packed with tons of fun, hands-on hibernation-themed activities your students are going to go crazy for and learn a ton from too! I mean why make learning boring with lots of worksheets when you can do so many FUN things like this.
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