We introduced the theme of hibernation by reading Philip C. Stead’s Bear Has a Story to Tell. The group did some coloring while I read, and afterwards we discussed the picture: the animals it showed, how they were coping with winter, and how we ourselves adapt to the cold.

We briefly touched on heart rates: how theirs was probably somewhere in the range of 80-100 bpm and a hibernating animal’s might be as low as 5-10 bpm. We clapped each to show how different they are.

Next, a game: Wake Up Bear. One child (the bear) sat in the middle of a circle, and everyone closed their eyes. I tapped someone on the head, and their job was to poke the bear and return to their spot. The bear then had to figure out who it was. (The bears all had excellent hearing, and always knew where the poke had come from.)

We then read from Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel. The chapter “Spring” involves Toad coming (reluctantly) out of hibernation; I think we can all relate.

Finally, one more silly game: I put some sheets over the picnic tables and told them they were hibernating bears. When spring arrived, they had to go out and forage by gathering the balls we’d thrown about.

Nature Study: Hibernation