Hibernation Theme

Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and lower metabolic rate. Hibernation conserves energy, especially during winter. Hibernation may last several days or weeks depending on species, ambient temperature, and time of year. The typical winter season for a hibernator is characterized by periods of hibernation interrupted by sporadic euthermic arousals wherein body temperature is restored to typical values. Hibernation allows animals to conserve energy during the winter when food is short. During hibernation, animals drastically lower their metabolism so as to tap energy reserves stored as body fat at a slower rate.

Book List

The Bear Snores On - Karma Wilson

Chipmunk At Hollow Tree Lane - Victoria Sherrow

Every Autumn Comes the Bear - Jim Arnosky

Sleepy Bear - Lydia Dabcovich

Time to Sleep - Denise Fleming

Wake Me in Spring (Hello Reader! Series) - James Preller



Songs & Fingerplays

Hibernation - sung to "Alouette"

Hibernation. Time for Hibernation.
Hibernation. Time to go to sleep.

In the winter where's the bear?
Sleeping in its log or lair.
Where's the bear? Log or lair. OH!

In the winter where's the frog?
Sleeping by a pond or log.

In the winter where's the snake?
In the mud beneath the lake.

In the winter where's the bat?
In a cave is where its at

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Where Is Bear? - sung to "Where Is Thumbkin?"
(substitute any hibernating animal)

Where is bear?
Here I am.
Here I am.
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep.
Go to sleep.

The animals I use are bear, rabbit, groundhog, raccoon, chipmunk, and skunk. The kids really enjoy this, especially if I let them call out which animal we're looking for.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



Hibernation Song - sung to "Are You Sleeping"

Bear is sleeping, bear is sleeping
In the cave, in the cave.
I wonder when he'll come out, I wonder when he'll cpme out
In the spring, In the spring.

Birds are flying, birds are flying
In the sky, in the sky.
I wonder when they'll come back, I wonder when they'll come back,
In the spring, in the spring.

Here is a Cave

Here is a cave. (bend fingers to form cave)
Inside is a bear. (put thumb inside fingers)
Now he comes out. (thumb out)
To get some fresh air.
He stays out all summer
In sunshine and heat.
He hunts in the forest
For berries to eat. (move thumb in circle)
When snow starts to fall
He hurries inside.
His warm little cave (thumb in)
And there he will hide.
Snow covers the cave
Like a fluffy white rug. (cover with other hand)
Inside the bear sleeps
All cozy and snug.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

A Squirrel Song - sung to "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain"

I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns, gathering all the acorns,
Gathering all the acorns till they're gone.

(Children make collecting motion with their hands)

And I'll put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside, put them all inside,
Put them all inside my little home.

(children pretend to place nuts in treehouse)

And I'll eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until, eat the nuts until,
Eat the nuts until the winter's gone.

(children pretend to eat acorns)

Then I'll do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again, do it all again,
Do it all again come next fall.

(children make gathering mothin with hands and arms again)

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Getting Ready For Wintertime - sung to "Do You Know The Muffin Man?"

Oh, do you know a squirrel works hard,
A squirrel works hard, a squirrel works hard?
Oh, do you know a squirrel works hard,
Getting ready for wintertime?

Repeat the song, replacing the boldfaced phrase with a new phrase each time. Use finds nuts, hides nuts, and builds a nest.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Scurry Squirrel - sung to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"

Scurry squirrels and don't be slow
Winter's coming, don't you know
Scamper, scamper all around
Bury treasures in the ground
Scurry squirrels and don't be slow
Winter's coming, don't you know!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Mr. Bear - sung to "If You're Happy And You Know It"

Mr. Bear says all he wants to do is sleep
Now that winters here and snow is very deep
He has curled up in his den
And we probably won't see him
Till the spring when all he'll want to do is eat!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Little Bear - sung to "Frere Jacques"

Are you sleepy, Are you sleepy
Little bear, little bear?
Wintertime is coming, Wintertime is coming,
Very soon, very soon.
Find a cave, Find a cave,

Little bear, little bear
Wintertime is here, Wintertime is here,
Go to sleep, go to sleep.

Are you sleepy, Are you sleepy
Little bear, little bear?
You will wake in springtime In the warm, warm springtime
Little bear, little bear
Time to wake up, Time to wake up
Little bear, little bear
Springtime is here, Springtime is here
Wake up now, wake up now!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

A cute action poem:

Winter is cold (Hug yourself and shiver)
There is snow in the sky (Flutter fingers above your head)
The squirrel gathers nuts (Pretend to gather nuts)
And the wild geese fly (Flap arms)
The fluffy red fox (Cup hands over head to form ears)
Has his fur to keep warm (Stroke arms as if stroking fur)
The bear's in her cave (Form a cave shape with your arms)
Sleeping all through the storm (Fold hands under cheek and pretend to sleep)

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



Arts & Crafts

Bear in Winter

Tear a semi-circle out of a styrofoam cup. Decorate the cup with felt-tipped markers to resemble a cave. Glue a brown pom pom inside on the back edge of the cup.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare
Hibernating Bear

Make a brown bear by adding arms, legs, and head with brads. Have the children find a special place until spring. The teacher sends home a note then and reminds them tosend them back to school. The children think it is great to find a dark place to let their bear hibernate.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Bear Caves

Use a lunch size paper bag. Cut an arch out from the open end (one side only) This makes the opening for the cave. Let children glue cotton balls all over the top for snow. Photocopy a small bear, let children color and cut out. Glue bear to a craft stick. The bear can go in and out of his cave.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare


A Bear Hibernating in a Cave

Materials needed:
1 small paper cup
1 brown pom-pom
1 piece stiff paper (about 3x5)
cotton balls
glue

Directions:
The cup is the cave. Have children tear a small half circle piece off of the cup starting at the cup rim. This is the opening to the cave. Glue pom-pom in center of stiff paper piece. This is the bear. Put glue on the rim of the cup and place it on the stiff paper with the pom-pom inside. Spread glue on the outside of the cup and the stiff paper around the cup. Pull cotton balls to stretch the fiber to look fluffy. Place this on the glue that is on and around the cup. This is snow. Your project will now look like a bear curled up in a cave to hibernate for the winter.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare



Theme Ideas

Tell the kids this story when introducing hibernation in the fall: I have a friend named Bernate who gets real sleepy when the weather gets cold. Whenever I see her, I wave my hand at her and I say, "Hi Bernate!" When we start talking about the word or trying to recall what the word is, all I have to do is put my hand in the air and wave and the kids immediately say Hibernate and know that's when an animal goes to sleep when the cold air comes. Read Little Bear's Thanksgiving which is about a bear that givies up a day of hibernating to have his first Thanksgiving dinner with his friends. After reading the book, ask the students to discuss hwo they would feel if they slept through Thanksgiving Day. What would they miss the most and why?

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Have the children bring in teddy bears and talk about bears and hibernation in the course of the week. At the end of the week, in the morning before the kids come in, hide the bears in the backyard behind trees, on swings, etc. Then go out to find the "hibernating" bears ["bear hunt"]. When they come in make cooperative learning groups. One group draws pictures of where their bears were on a map of the backyard, the other group tears paper for a third group to paste onto a box to make a cave for the group bear for the winter.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Talk about animals that have fur grow thicker, more protective cost to insulate them from the cold winter temperatures. Just like animals, people need to bundle up for winter too. After reading the following poem, each child will draw and color a picture of an animal in its winter coat. A day or two before I will take a picture of each child wearing his winter garb. Put the picture next to their drawing and write "The bear has a ----------- coat, Kevin has a ----------- coat. The fluffy red fox has a warm winter coat I can wear a red coat too! The fluffy red fox needs a warm winter coat Just like me and you The frisky gray squirrel has a warm winter coat I can wear a gray coat too! The frisky gray squirrel needs a warm winter coat, Just like me and you The old brown groundhog has a warm winter coat I can wear a brown coat, too The old brown groundhog needs a warm winter coat Just like me and you!

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

Have the children bring in empty boxes (tissue, oatmeal, etc) and make bear caves, beaver lodges, fox dens or squirrel dreys.

~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare


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