5 Hibernation Themed Activities for Kids (okay, 6)

The November Kids Craft Club theme is hibernation, and we’ve got some great ideas to share with the kids!

  1. Build a blanket fort or den – classic rainy (or snowy!) day activity, when we often do feel like hibernating.  Sometimes these forts entertain for the entire day at our house!  Add a comfy duvet or blanket floor, along with a fort door and a ‘Hibernating’ sign.  The kids always get a kick out of this easy activity and all you need is chairs, blankets, and a little space.  Tip: before they get started, remind the kids that whoever builds it must help take it apart too!
    Blanket fort as part of Hibernation Theme
  2. Make some animal masks and role play hibernation – use your Kids Craft Club package to get started.  Extend your fort/den play by becoming a hibernating animal!  Use craft supplies to become a tired bear, raccoon, hedgehog, or even a bat.  The kids can collect food for the winter, hibernate, and wake up when someone declares that spring has arrived!
    Make a Hibernating Bear Mask with Craft Caravan
  3. Sensory Box: make a hibernation nest – small animals that hibernate, such as hedgehogs, will build themselves nests to snuggle into for the winter.  They use leaves, dried grass, and other available vegetation to build their nests.  Go on a nature hunt to look for small items that might be comfortable in a nest.  Add them to a shoe box or basket to make a comfy nest.  This could be a bed for a small stuffed animal, or you could also search for pinecones or large seeds that could be transformed into a small hibernating animal with the help of some stick-on eyes!   We found some chestnuts and turned them into little critters.  Tip: extend this activity by talking about animals that hibernate in nests, and deciding what kind of animal your critters most look like.  Another idea: cover your little critters with more leaves and ‘bedding’ and when it’s time for them to wake up, the kids can dig through the leaves to find them.
    Make a Hibernation Nest from found items in nature
    Nature Crafts for Kids - make hibernating critters
  4. Do a hibernation experiment:
    1. before hibernating, animals spend a lot of time eating to create excess stores of fat for insulation.  Here’s a simple experiment to see how that extra layer keeps them warm:  have your child wear a glove or mitten on one hand, giving that hand an ‘extra layer’.  Place ice cubes in both their gloved hand, and their bare hand.  Which one stays warm?  Which one gets cold?  Why?
    2. Animals Hibernate to survive through harsh winter conditions.  One of the ways they get ready for hibernation is by building a shelter or nest.  Have the kids lay down and pretend they’re hibernating, without going into any extra shelter.  Plug an electric fan in and point the air flow at the children.  Now have the kids go into their fort or den to hibernate.  Again point the fan air flow at the kids, who are now protected by the walls of the den.  Do they stay warmer in the den than they did without the den? Why?
  5. Plant a winter bulb – use winter dormancy in plants to help explain winter hibernation in animals.  Bulbs, tubers, perennials and trees sit quietly over winter, and then ‘wake up’ again in the spring.  Demonstrate this sleeping-waking similarity by planting bulbs.  Plant your bulb in it’s ‘nest’ of dirt, keep it in a cool place over the winter, and watch for signs of it ‘waking up’ in the spring.  Here’s a ‘how to’
  6. Read some hibernation books – our top 3 picks:
    Bear Snores On Time to Sleep Animals In Winter
    Bear Snores On

    By Karma Wilson

    Illustrated by Jane Chapman

    Time to Sleep

    Written and Illustrated by Denise Fleming

    Animals in Winter

    By Henrietta Bancroft