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How mysterious and exciting it is for young children to discover parts of the world that are filled with wonderous animals and snow that is present all year round. Learning the geography of the world is one of the most fascinating aspects of the early childhood curriculum for preschool and kindergarten children as they can explore the wonders of the planet within the safety of their classrooms.
Winter is the perfect time to dive deep into learning about all the amazing aspects of the North and South Poles. Learning about different biomes, lands, and animals of the Poles allows children to understand all the practical geographical concepts, and observe the connection between the climate and living things whilst they work to develop and enhance their fine motor, early math skills, language, creativity, and vocabulary.
There are so many fun and engaging ways children can explore snowy regions through play and hands-on experiences:
- sensory bins filled with snow fillers – instant artificial snow or corn starch mixed with glitter, and hair conditioner with the addition of replica animals and loose parts to build mountains and icebergs
- build an igloo using ice cubes and salt
- create a salt map of the Arctic and Antarctica
- sew their own little replica animals of the poles for open-ended play
- create a dance of a snowflake to the music of their choice
- conduct science experiments by freezing water.
Another way to support children’s curiosity and interest in the Arctic and Antarctica whilst helping them to gain important academic skills is through unit studies.
Antarctica and the Arctic Unit for Preschool and Kindergarten Classrooms
Children generally have the most success learning to read when we start by using the phonics method. With this activity, children learn vocabulary associated with the cold places on earth and winter whilst they practice identifying the initial sounds and pair pictures with the correct beginning letter.
Sight word cards help children quickly recognize familiar words when they first start to read and give them more confidence in the process. Gather letters and loose parts of some kind. There are so many different options you can use – wooden, magnetic letters, printable letters of different colors, one color, or two different colors for vowels and consonants.
A printable moveable alphabet with blue and red letters is the preferred option in our homeschool classroom. My children enjoy building words using magnetic letters as well when working on a whiteboard.
When presenting the cards, read each word. Additionally, you might like to invite the child to see if he or she can spot sight words they are working on in a children’s book. Invite the child to build each word or write it down. If you prefer for the child to copy words – I would recommend laminating cards to be used with an erasable marker. Then the child marks the correct sight word by circling it or with a counter.
Children who enjoy visual art activities will have fun filling in these storytelling worksheets. Gather pencils or crayons and pens and invite the child to draw their versions of the pictures and write/dictate their stories. This is a fun language exercise that fosters children’s creativity and early learning of language skills.
The cards and counters activity reinforces students’ number sense, one-to-one correspondence, and number identification. With this activity, children learn odd and even numbers.
Children who are already familiar with place value and decimal materials can review their knowledge with the help of these pairing cards. If you have a geoboard, give those little fingers a challenge.
Gather your rubber bands, and print the geoboard winter-themed task cards to create winter patterns. NB – you can also find the geoboard task cards in our Resource Library with free printables.
Children are generally drawn to learn to cut paper from a young age as they strive to achieve independence. We support that desire by providing supervised activities that include child-safe scissors and colorful cutting strips that encourage children to cut on the line. I added an extra challenge with this printable when children glue matching images to strips of paper.
This aurora printout is a more advanced cutting/push pinning activity for children who can work safely with push pins or cut more complex forms and shapes.
This is a sensorial activity with different shades of gray for children to pair polar bears with the picture of an ice drift that matches the polar bear’s color. You might like to extend this activity by inviting the child to experiment with paints by creating lighter and brighter shades of colors.
Get those little bodies moving. Movement is so essential for a child’s development. It’s great to be able to switch between sitting at a table or on the floor to moving around when safe to do so with DIY winter-themed dice.
Do you have penguin fans in your classroom? Playdough activities never get neglected by young children. Don’t forget to laminate those playdough mats.
Gather your playdough, read instructions on each mat, and invite the student to get creative filling in white spaces and spaces around. You may like to ask leading questions, such as ‘What do you think a penguin like to eat?’.
These printables are not included in the pack but are still fun for children to work with. You can use those to decorate your classroom, add to your vocabulary wall and encourage children to make stories and practice writing down labels.
And of course, all these majestic creatures that inhabit Poles are often the center of every conversation in the classroom when it comes to snowy regions. This is a fun sorting activity that is followed by 3 parts cards that show animals of the Arctic and Antarctica.
Winter is such a perfect time for students to explore penguins and other creatures of Antarctica. More advanced readers might enjoy reading facts about the animals in Antarctica to their peers.
Examine the energy flow and food chain of Antarctica using these cards.
About the Arctic and Antarctica Pack
The Arctic and Antarctica learning activity pack for preschool children aged 3-6. The Poles-themed activity pack contains printables to create a wide range of hands-on experiences for young children.
Students will practice phonics, get an introduction to place value, odd & even numbers, work on strengthening their hand muscles with playdough, cutting, and push pinning exercises, work on developing logical thinking with sorting and matching activities, learn about the types of Arctic and Antarctic animals, penguin life cycle, broaden their vocabulary, and so much more.
The printable features true-to-life images and photographs.
Here is what’s included:
- Instructions and activity variations
- Phonics – initial sound cards (pairing letters and pictures)
- Odd and even numbers – cards and student cut and paste worksheet
- Making snowflakes – drawing and pattern activity on creativity
- Aurora – push pinning cards and art project
- Shades of gray color matching cards
- Decimal system – 3 part cards, matching cards and student booklet
- Drawing and Storytelling worksheets
- Animals of the Arctic and Animals of Antarctica – 3 part cards (10 animals for each Pole)
- The Arctic vs. Antarctic animals sorting cards
- Outline of Antarctica for push pinning
- Cutting strips
- Mammal vs. Bird – sorting cards
- Penguin Playdough mats
- Penguin life cycle playdough mats
- Penguin life cycle 3 part cards and student booklet
- Place value numbers pairing cards
- Gross motor dice task cards
- Food chain craft printouts
- Sight words – 10 cards
- Winter geoboard task cards (9 cards) – are also available for free from the Subscriber Library.
This pack is suitable for K, preschool, and Grade 1 students.
You can download this printable from our store. If you prefer to source your resources from TpT – you can find them there.
There are other printables you might like to check out for your classroom. With these two sets of Safari TOOB cards, you can incorporate animal figurines for pairing activities that will be particularly appealing to our young friends.
Resources you might find helpful in your classroom
Types of Penguins Cards for Object to Picture Matching Activity with Safari Toob
Antarctica 3 Part Cards
Animals of the Arctic and Antarctica 3 Part Cards Sorting Cards Poster
The Arctic and Antarctica Preschool Pack Montessori Learning Activities
15 Animals of Antarctica - Nomenclature and Information Cards
Animals of Antarctica - Object to Picture Matching Activity with Safari Toob
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