Warm Hearts in Cold Weather: Exploring Winter and Hibernation at The International Preschools

BRRRRRR….it’s COLD outside! During circle time we have been talking about how we keep ourselves safe and warm when it’s snowing and very cold outside. Do you wear your hats and mittens? Do you sit in front of a warm fire and sip hot cocoa? Do you sleep in your comfortable bed with lots of blankets? We talked about how animals don’t have hats, hot cocoa or blankets, so how do they keep warm and safe in the winter?

After reading the books, The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep by Caroline Nastro and Hibernation by Jaclyn Jaycox, the class learned about hibernation and how some animals curl up in cozy dens underground, in caves, and in mud holes in lakes and ponds. We learned that some animals hibernate because it is hard for them to find food during the winter. Some of the animals that we are reading about are bears, bats, raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, mice, snakes, turtles, frogs, and insects such as ladybugs.

As a fun art activity, the children made their own bear dens. First, they painted the bottom side of a paper bowl with brown paint and added snow confetti on top. Once the paint was dry, the children glued twigs on top and on the sides. On the inside they glued some straw and a small plastic bear. How cute are these bear dens?!

Another “cool” activity was ice painting. We poured paint into small paper cups, added a popsicle stick, and placed them in the freezer. Later, the children explored this fun sensory experience, moving the frozen paint around their paper and leaving cold colorful marks. Some children were more comfortable holding the popsicle stick, while others enjoyed holding the frozen paint in their hands as they painted. This activity encouraged focus and concentration. It was fun to watch the paint change as it melted and eventually left just a colorful pool of water. Ice painting is a great way to explore color mixing because the watercolors will easily merge together.

The Lunar New Year begins on February 10th. To learn a bit about it, we read Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year by Kate Waters and Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee. The Lunar New Year is an opportunity to teach children about Asian culture. It marks the beginning of the calendar year, with its months based on the phases of the moon. Green 2 made decorative lanterns to hang in the classroom. First, the children painted the back of a small paper plate and added red squared tissue paper on top of the paint. Once dried, the children added clear glue and gold glitter. For the last step, the teachers tied three yellow ribbons to the bottom of the lantern.

ipsny happy chinese new year

To complete our Lunar New Year classroom decor, the children painted a Happy New Year banner. First, the teachers wrote “Happy New Year” in Chinese with a resistant white crayon on white poster board. Next, the children painted the poster board with red watercolor. As the children painted the poster board the characters, the words “Happy New Year” were “magically” revealed! Green 2 is ready to celebrate the Year of the Dragon.

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