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A Kindergarten Lesson: How Animals Prepare For Winter

written by: Willa • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 12/5/2012

How do animals prepare for winter? Explore this concept with your kindergarten class and teach vocabulary, creativity and problem solving. Show how animals are created with special abilities to take care of themselves during harsh weather.

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    Circle Time: Animals That Hibernate

    The book, Stranger in the Woods by Carls R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, will show beautiful photographs of the animals. The stranger in the book is a snowman the animals encounter.

    Introduce and define the word "hibernate" to add to the children's growing vocabulary. Explain that the animals go into a rest and deep sleep until spring. Talk about the bears, squirrels, bats, skunks that go into hibernation. Discuss how the snakes, alligators, frogs, turtles and lizards burrow into the mud to live underground through winter. The white-tailed jack rabbit, weasel and mice prepare to stay warm for winter, by growing a thick coat of fur. Give the children an opportunity to ask questions and brainstorm for other animals that prepare for winter.

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    Activity: Outdoor Observation

    Take the children outdoors for a picnic lunch, if the school allows. Suggest that they look for signs of animals preparing for winter. If necessary, sprinkle cracked acorns on the ground. Perhaps they'll see a squirrel looking for nuts.

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    Art: Hibernation Station

    The children will design their own Hibernation Station. Before the activity begins, read the book, Time to Sleep, by Denise Fleming, Time to Sleep and allow the children to discuss and get ideas on how to create a "den" for this art activity. The project allows for building their creativity skills and getting a closer hands-on idea of where the animal will sleep all winter.

    Items needed:

    • Small box for each child
    • Cotton balls
    • Leaves and grass
    • Glue
    • Pre-cut pictures of animals that hibernate
    • Scraps of yarn, fabric
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    Math: Ordinal Numbers

    Draw a picture of a cave on the chalkboard. Make copies of various hibernating animals with a number on each. Pass these out to the kids and ask what animal will come into the cave first, then second, and so forth, until each has a turn. As each child comes up with the animal picture, each should repeat the ordinal number and review the new word. For example, "This is the first animal to hibernate." This activity will help build both vocabulary and math skills.

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    Suggested Reading:

    Wake Me in Spring, by James Preller

    Animals Prepare for Winter, by Elaine Pascoe

    Sleepy Bear, by Lydia Dadcovich