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December 3, 2018

Teaching Hibernation with Hedgehogs!

By Sandra Carrillo

Hands-on activities teach Pre-K kids what these adorable animals do in the winter.

Grades PreK–K

    Key Takeaways:

    • Hibernation can be a difficult concept for young children, but an integrated lesson with hands-on activities, visual aids and playful learning makes it simple and fun.
    • Extension activities encourage creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
    • Promoting empathy in young children can be done through learning about animals who share the world with us.   

    As the weather gets colder, my Pre-K kids ask, “What is going to happen to the animals?” and, “Where do they go to get warm?”

    That’s why I was delighted to receive my latest issues of My Big World magazine, all about hibernation. (Get a digital version here.)

    I love this issue because it surprised me. When we hear the word “hibernation,” what do we think of ? Bears, of course! Well, not this time. I was pleasantly surprised to find a cute little hedgehog on the cover. I knew my four-year-olds would love it.

    I couldn’t wait to start our hedgehog activities.

    1. Introduction: ‘Meet Our New Friend’ Activity

    Materials: hedgehog puppet or stuffed animal and picture cards of hedgehogs

    To engage my class, I found a cute, cuddly hedgehog at my neighborhood Target. Then I did an internet search of hedgehog images and printed those out on cardstock.

    As children gathered for circle time, I told them a special friend would join us for our lesson.  That grabbed their attention. Before I introduced our new friend, I opened the BIG Issue of My Big World and asked, “Do you know what animal is on the cover?”

    Next, I pulled out our new friend, Hannah the Hedgehog. She told the children she was getting ready for winter, and asked if they’d like to meet some of her animal friends. “Yes!” the children said.

    Then, I showed the My Big World video “Winter Sleepers.” It’s a wonderful video that shows how all kinds of animals hibernate in winter. Every issue of the magazine has a video that delights children and teaches them about the issue’s topic.

    After the video, Hannah the Hedgehog asked the children, “Do you know the word hibernation?” Then she said, “Let’s read the magazine to find out how I get ready to hibernate.”

    When we finished reading, it was time to pretend to hibernate ourselves!

    2. Hibernation Movement Activity

    I love to teach vocabulary by having kids act out the words. This is what we did:

    • We watched a second adorable video that came with our digital issue of a hedgehog curling up into a ball.
    • We followed the step-by-step pictures inside the issue for how to roll up and hibernate! The children loved pretending that they were hedgehogs getting ready for their long winter nap. (I think I even heard a couple of them snoring!)
    • After a couple of minutes, we then pretended it was spring. The children enjoyed waking up and stretching out their arms.

    What a great way to break up the lesson with movement!

    Finally, we learned the “Hibernation” song that we found on the Scholastic Teachables website. It’s great way to reinforce the lesson because it focuses on where animals hibernate. They easily caught on and loved joining in.

    For the rest of the week, we immersed ourselves in hedgehog and hibernation learning.

    3. Math Craft: Build a Hedgehog!

    This was another fun hedgehog activity. It helps reinforce one-to-one correspondence and builds fine motor skills.

    Materials: play dough, pieces of brown and/or black pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and number cubes

    This is how it worked:

    • First, I gave each a child a small container of play dough.
    • I asked them to think about how a hedgehog gets ready to hibernate. (It rolls up into a ball!) I asked the children to roll their play dough into a ball.
    • I gave them each a pair of googly eyes for the face.
    • Next, I paired them up. I gave each pair a set of pipe cleaners to serve as the hedgehog’s quills and a number cube. (I created my own number cubes with small wooden blocks and used a Sharpie to add the dots.)
    • Each child took turns rolling the cube, then counting dots and pushing that many quills (pipe cleaners) into their hedgehog’s body. They continued to take turns rolling the number cube and adding quills until the body was full. Afterwards, they each gave their hedgehog a name.

    I hope that you find these tips helpful. I know I loved teaching this concept with our new little friend. I think I have found a new favorite hibernator!

    To bring My Big World to your classroom, sign up here for a 30-day free trial.

     

    — Sandra Carrillo is an early childhood district coordinator in El Paso, Texas. She also teaches classes in early childhood education at the University of Texas at El Paso.

    Key Takeaways:

    • Hibernation can be a difficult concept for young children, but an integrated lesson with hands-on activities, visual aids and playful learning makes it simple and fun.
    • Extension activities encourage creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.
    • Promoting empathy in young children can be done through learning about animals who share the world with us.   

    As the weather gets colder, my Pre-K kids ask, “What is going to happen to the animals?” and, “Where do they go to get warm?”

    That’s why I was delighted to receive my latest issues of My Big World magazine, all about hibernation. (Get a digital version here.)

    I love this issue because it surprised me. When we hear the word “hibernation,” what do we think of ? Bears, of course! Well, not this time. I was pleasantly surprised to find a cute little hedgehog on the cover. I knew my four-year-olds would love it.

    I couldn’t wait to start our hedgehog activities.

    1. Introduction: ‘Meet Our New Friend’ Activity

    Materials: hedgehog puppet or stuffed animal and picture cards of hedgehogs

    To engage my class, I found a cute, cuddly hedgehog at my neighborhood Target. Then I did an internet search of hedgehog images and printed those out on cardstock.

    As children gathered for circle time, I told them a special friend would join us for our lesson.  That grabbed their attention. Before I introduced our new friend, I opened the BIG Issue of My Big World and asked, “Do you know what animal is on the cover?”

    Next, I pulled out our new friend, Hannah the Hedgehog. She told the children she was getting ready for winter, and asked if they’d like to meet some of her animal friends. “Yes!” the children said.

    Then, I showed the My Big World video “Winter Sleepers.” It’s a wonderful video that shows how all kinds of animals hibernate in winter. Every issue of the magazine has a video that delights children and teaches them about the issue’s topic.

    After the video, Hannah the Hedgehog asked the children, “Do you know the word hibernation?” Then she said, “Let’s read the magazine to find out how I get ready to hibernate.”

    When we finished reading, it was time to pretend to hibernate ourselves!

    2. Hibernation Movement Activity

    I love to teach vocabulary by having kids act out the words. This is what we did:

    • We watched a second adorable video that came with our digital issue of a hedgehog curling up into a ball.
    • We followed the step-by-step pictures inside the issue for how to roll up and hibernate! The children loved pretending that they were hedgehogs getting ready for their long winter nap. (I think I even heard a couple of them snoring!)
    • After a couple of minutes, we then pretended it was spring. The children enjoyed waking up and stretching out their arms.

    What a great way to break up the lesson with movement!

    Finally, we learned the “Hibernation” song that we found on the Scholastic Teachables website. It’s great way to reinforce the lesson because it focuses on where animals hibernate. They easily caught on and loved joining in.

    For the rest of the week, we immersed ourselves in hedgehog and hibernation learning.

    3. Math Craft: Build a Hedgehog!

    This was another fun hedgehog activity. It helps reinforce one-to-one correspondence and builds fine motor skills.

    Materials: play dough, pieces of brown and/or black pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and number cubes

    This is how it worked:

    • First, I gave each a child a small container of play dough.
    • I asked them to think about how a hedgehog gets ready to hibernate. (It rolls up into a ball!) I asked the children to roll their play dough into a ball.
    • I gave them each a pair of googly eyes for the face.
    • Next, I paired them up. I gave each pair a set of pipe cleaners to serve as the hedgehog’s quills and a number cube. (I created my own number cubes with small wooden blocks and used a Sharpie to add the dots.)
    • Each child took turns rolling the cube, then counting dots and pushing that many quills (pipe cleaners) into their hedgehog’s body. They continued to take turns rolling the number cube and adding quills until the body was full. Afterwards, they each gave their hedgehog a name.

    I hope that you find these tips helpful. I know I loved teaching this concept with our new little friend. I think I have found a new favorite hibernator!

    To bring My Big World to your classroom, sign up here for a 30-day free trial.

     

    — Sandra Carrillo is an early childhood district coordinator in El Paso, Texas. She also teaches classes in early childhood education at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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