Name a few animals that hibernate. The answer that I always get is always bears, and only bears. This adventure leads to a great discussion about where the animals around us disappear to in the winter – and not just bears. I told students that 7 animals had gone into hibernation, or begun to prepare for winter, around our school and we need to find them (but not disturb them). We walked around the school and yard looking for the picture clues.
I put the animals in a place closest to where you would really find the animal during hibernation, but we discussed how it would be different in the wild. I also tried to use actual models of the animals to put in their locations. A blue piece of fabric represented water. I put the turtle into a container covered with plastic wrap to look like water. When we found the animal we talked about what they noticed (ie. the ladybugs were in a group and under the leaves). It created a great discussion, and a great outdoor activity as we all prepared for winter.
This activity could work with any animals and any location around the school. Initially I used the area under a slide in the playground as the bear’s den. They just loved running and finding the animals, but making sure to not wake them.