Want to annoy me? Do winter preschool activities about Arctic animals and include penguins. Last week in my class, we got out our ice sensory bins, and the first thing I did was have my students help me separate them and make one into the Arctic and one into the Antarctic. One with polar bears and one with penguins! I know This pet peeve drives many preschool teachers like me batty, which is why I adore this book, Poles Apart. It is such a fun book that hammers home the fact that polar bears and penguins do not share a habitat while telling a fun traveling story. One of the recurring topics in my curriculum is animal habitats, so this book and these winter preschool activities that match this book so well are always well received.
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Poles Apart by Jeanne Willis is a perfect winter book that will help you teach important concepts in a very fun and engaging way. As I mentioned earlier, it really bothers me when people create stories or crafts depicting polar bears and penguins as friends. Unless, of course, they specifically mention that these two animals live on opposite ends of the earth, as is the case in the book Poles Apart. This story is not only hilarious but also perfect for a PreK class. The story revolves around a penguin family that gets lost and ends up in the Arctic. Fortunately, a friendly polar bear rescues them and helps them return home. However, not before they embark on an epic adventure through multiple countries. What I love about this story is the travel aspect, and following up a read-aloud with a map activity would be just perfect! To sum up, I absolutely adore this book!
The Winter Preschool Activities That Match Poles Apart
Circle Time Lesson for Poles Apart
How are Polar Bears and Penguins Different?
After reading the story, at circle time ask your students to think about their differences and write their answers on a whiteboard. Focus on what you can contrast and compare and use this time to weave in some great relevant math vocabulary like bigger, smaller, heavier, lighter, taller, and shorter. As well as some science concepts and vocabulary too, like mammal, bird, predator etc…
Follow this up with a pocket chart vote, asking your students if they would rather be penguins or polar bears!
Polar Bear and Penguin Crafts for Poles Apart
Polar Bear Silhouette ( I think I got the idea from my friend Jamie here)
Free Choice Activities for Poles Apart
Winter Sensory Tub – this simple little sensory tub is always a hit! This year, I made one as a North Pole and one as a South Pole after reading this book!
Explore maps with magnifying glasses!
Need more polar bear and penguin books? Check out these two awesome lists!
NEED MORE SIMPLE EARLY LEARNING ACTIVITIES?
For more ideas on simple activities for preschoolers, check out my latest book, Everyday Preschool. It’s filled with fun and engaging learning activities that help develop essential preschool skills.