The leaves are changing color and there the temperatures are starting to drop. It is the perfect time to introduce your kids to idea of hibernation. Use the wonderful book “Bear Snores On” to get started. Then enjoy some fun hibernation activities. Includes crafts, imaginative play, and other ideas, so you can have fun with your preschooler. Includes a free printable. In this post you will find hibernation crafts and hibernation activities for preschoolers.
Add these activities to your winter lesson plans for preschool. Don’t forget to check out the Bear hibernation craft at the bottom of the post too.
First we need to start with the perfect picture book
Hibernation activities for preschoolers
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Introducing Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.
It is a cold winter’s day. Some forest animals stop by Bear’s cave to warm up. They brew tea and pop-corn and despite all the noise bear snores on. Soon there is a fully-fledged party with dancing and pots of stew. What will bear do when he wakes up?
This is a wonderful story to read aloud to children. The author does a great job of building up the pace of the story. It starts very slowly with a little mouse. Then more and more animals arrive in the bear’s den and the noise gets louder and louder until bear gives a great sneeze and wakes up.
The storyline and cast of characters are very appealing to young children. There are so all kinds of forest animals in the forest that join in the fun.
The language is simple and easy for a young child to understand, while at the same time using inventive phrases that add so much fun to the storytelling. For example when bear wakes up he doesn’t just growl – he gnarls and snarls, roars and rumbles, jumps and stomps, growls and grumbles. After a few readings most children love to join in with the sound effects and will quickly latch onto the repetitive phrase, “but the bear snores on”.
When you are reading
Take your time with this book. There is no need to rush though the pages. This is a book full of sound effects
- “the cold winds howl”
- “the bear snores on”
- “the mouse sips wee slurps”
Have fun with them. Make the sounds and invite your child to join in. Once you have read “but the bear snores on” a couple of times pause after the word “bear” and let your child finish the phrase. Ask
- Why is the bear sleeping so much?
- What do you think will happen when bear wakes up?
As each new animal arrives invite the children to name them. Before you turn the page ask
- What do you think will happen next?
A few more books to enjoy
When you have finished reading it’s time for some hibernation activities
1. Enjoy a finger play
Here is a cave, (Make a fist with fingers)
Inside is a bear. (Put thumb inside fist)
Now he comes out
To get some fresh air. (Pop out thumb)
When snow starts to fall,
He hurries inside
His warm little cave,
And there he will hide. (Put thumb back inside fist)
2. Sing a sleepy bear song
Sleepy Bear Song (Tune: Are you sleeping)
Bears are Sleeping
Bears are sleeping
In their lairs. (Pretend to sleep)
Soon it will be springtime,
Wake up, Bear! (Pretend to wake up)
3. Enjoy a simple craft.
Have your child tear up some tissue or construction paper into small pieces (preshoolers love doing this). Glue to a paper plate (or recycled cardboard circle if you prefer). Glue a picture of sleepy bear on top. You can cut out the bear from the free printable pack (see below). Add fake leaves if desired.
4. Have fun with a STEM activity
5. Imaginative play
Pretend you are a sleepy bear getting ready to sleep. Build a simple cave by draping a blanket over a table. Invite your child to pretend to be the bear and crawl around the room slowly. Maybe they want to scratch their back on a door-frame. Then encourage them to slowly move to their cave, crawl in and curl up to sleep.
If you would like to add music to this activity try Erik Satie – Gymnopédie No.1
The great thing about this activity is that you can get a few minutes of peace as your child pretend to “sleep.” Sneaky huh? When your child starts to get restless shout “Springtime.”
6. Enjoy a beary tasty snack like teddy bear crackers, blueberries, or bread and honey
For a list of animals that hibernate in the winter you can check out this post.
7. Tie bear hibernation to alphabet letter matching activities
You can find the free printable for this activity here: Hibernation Alphabet Letter Matching Activity
I have put together a free printable pack for you to download and enjoy. You can
- Use them as coloring sheets
- Tear up tissue paper to and glue it to the picture to make a soft blanket for bear.
- Glue cotton balls on as snow.
- Use them for cutting and gluing practice
There is also 2 pictures of an empty caves. Older children draw their own sleeping bear, or perhaps the forest animal having a party, on the black and white one. The colored one could be used as a playdoh mat. Have your child make a bear out of playdoh to add to the picture.
I have included a hibernation craft for preschoolers and toddlers below.
Now it’s your turn
Do you have any favorite hibernation activities for preschoolers? Share them in the comments below.