17 Ways To Teach Students About Hibernation

Winter is the perfect time to introduce hibernation. Pack your planner, and your classroom, with activities that will teach your students what some animals do in the winter.

If you’ve been hearing “where did the animals go?” from your students lately, these stories and activities will give them the answers they’ve been looking for. 

Hibernation-Themed Books

Do you rely on books to kick off new units? If you raised your hand, great! You can sit by me because you are certainly in the right place. 

Using stories to introduce new concepts and new vocabulary is an effective way to get students engaged. And book companions make planning a breeze! If you’re new to using them, read more here.

A Loud Winter’s Nap by Katy Hudson is about a hibernating tortoise and his friends who don’t want him to miss winter. This book is the perfect way to start the hibernation theme in your class, and with the A Loud Winter’s Nap Book Companion set. Therefore, you’ll have everything you need for center time, small group instruction, and free time. 

Download, print, plan, done! 

The January Adapted Book Piece Set makes *12* winter-themed books come to life with interactive pieces and help students follow along. We’ve heard from other teachers that it “makes the kids feel so successful with their comprehension.”! 

This can’t-live-without tool makes reading exciting for all learners, and there happen to be TWO hibernation-themed titles in the January Set

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson is a must-have in your hibernation stash. It’s a classic tale and bestseller about a snoozing bear and his friends who take refuge in his warm cave. 

Winter animals escape the cold and snuggle up in a missing mitten in The Mitten by Jan Brett.  

Read this post to learn more about using Adapted Book Piece Sets in your classroom or see the video below to watch a demo of the January Book Set!

Other hibernation-themed books that we love include:

The Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows- All aboard! Animals hunker down for the winter on the hibernation train in this easy-to-read classic.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messer- The ground is calm and covered in snow, but what’s happening beneath it? Animals are making their warm homes!

Don’t Wake Up the Bear by Marjorie Dennis MurrayA sneaky hare and his animal friends tiptoe around a sleeping bear! 

Hibernation-Themed STEM and Sensory Activities

Animals hibernate because they need to stay warm. This Great Gloves and Marvelous Mittens activity will demonstrate what it takes to do that. Students will work to design a warm and cozy glove or mitten that keeps the cold at bay. This will take critical thinking skills! Once their design is finished, they can test out their snuggly gear to see if it does the job. 

Now that students know where animals go in the winter, they can have some fun building them a home like the ones seen in this photo from fun-a-day.com! This Dens for Winter Animals Engineering Project from puts their creativity to the test. Students use toothpicks and mini marshmallows to make a wintery home for those chilly animals. Since you know students will be tempted to munch on marshmallows, check out the January Visual Recipes Bundle as a lesson extension. 

Remind students that not every animal goes into hibernation and that some need a way to stay warm with this Arctic Animals Experiment. Give them fair warning that their hands will get messy with this one! Then, dive further into animal facts with Arctic Animals Adapted Readers.  

Animals aren’t the only ones affected by the cold. Pinecones experience changes as well! Explore Why Pinecones Open and Close, and have students record their predictions and observations. 

For a sensory experience, create a hibernation-themed sensory table using fake snow and animal figurines. To squeeze some academic skills into this, bury plastic letters or numbers. Then, have students dig them up and identify them. 

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Hibernation-Themed Crafts

Build a bear cave with this Cute and Easy Paper Bag Bear Cave craft. Students will practice their fine motor skills by coloring, cutting, and gluing. Put their favorite furry friend inside when the cave is completed for an added touch.

An alternative to the paper bag cave is this Popsicle Stick Bear Cave from our friends over at Glued to My Crafts. Bears aren’t the only animals that live in caves! In addition, create a whole class bar graph that records everyone’s favorite hibernating animal, and let them make a cave for them. 

Literacy and crafts collide with these Animals in Winter. Guide students to fill in the blanks of this short and sweet hibernation poem, and then create a wintery scene to go with their work. 

Embrace nature and have students create a Winter Animal Habitat with process art. This is not a cookie-cutter activity, and everyone will have a different result. If the weather (and your schedule) permits, collect items for this activity on a nature walk. Just remember to bundle up! 

Painting is always a hit in the classroom! Exploring new methods to do it makes it even more exciting. Try fork painting a hibernating bear, fox, or hedgehog!  

There are so many possibilities when it comes to hibernation literacy activities.

What is your favorite book about hibernation? What activities do you do with it? Tell us in the comments below!




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