The children area always interested in learning how the animals stay warm in the winter, so we talked about blubber and how it works as insulation for the animals bodies! To go along with this we read The Magic School Bus In the Arctic then did an experiment on heat retention from : http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/magic-school-bus-arctic
Of course we read Polar Bear Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle. The version I have has a CD with it and the kids had a lot of fun listening to it over and over again! After reading the book we made the polar bear! Each child's bear turned out different depending on the amount of paint they wanted to use to make the outline.
These were made quite easily by printing out a bear template, cutting it out and lightly taping it to a piece of white construction paper. The children then painted around the edges of the bear ( and all over the bear! ) using a sponge and blue paint. As you can see, there were varying amounts of paint used between the different children, but the end result was a bear when the template was pulled up!
We read a series of books about Polar Animals by Melvin and Gilda Berger that were published by Scholastic. They were:
How Polar Animals Hide
What Polar Animals Eat
Where Polar Animals Live
Polar Animal Babies
Polar Animals All Year Long
Polar Animals in Danger
We made a polar bear booklet that I found in a 1996 January Mailbox theme book.
We read a book about a baby polar bear named Knut who was raised in a zoo. The kids really enjoyed seeing the pictures of Knut as a baby and several of them said they were going to ask their parents for a polar bear next Christmas! We talked about why Knut had to be raised in a zoo and the kind of things that are hurting polar animals (Polar Animals in Danger). After reviewing all of this we made our own baby polar bear! this was based on a craft I found on www.kidssoup.com We used plastic condiment cups that I found at Wal-Mart for $1.27 for 24 cups and lids. We used these for the polar bear nose. I did glue the the cups on ahead of time to help ease frustration :)
Along with our books, crafts and songs I found Arctic Toobs and penguin Toobs at Hobby Lobby. I set these out as learning centers. I also made Arctic Animal cards that have a photograph of each arctic animal and the name of the animal printed underneath. This helps the children identify the animals and match them up with the names. I also put the books of the week at the table so the kids can look at them on their own after we have read them.