I love exploring arctic animals theme activities for preschool in the winter. It is interesting to see how we get so cold in the snow, but arctic animals are created to withstand the freezing temperatures. An arctic animals preschool theme is perfect when our weather is cold, icy, snowy, and windy! I created the Free Arctic Animal Preschool Sensory Bin Matching Printable so that we can not only explore the animals but play a fun matching game with a sensory aspect. It is so fun my kids can’t put it down!
Arctic Animal Sensory Table Matching Game
How to Make a Sensory Bin with an Arctic Theme:
Fill your plastic bin with the sensory bin filler of your choice. We like to use rice but there are plenty of other fillers that resemble snow and ice. We like to stick polar region animal figurines into the filler too.
Some of my other favorite sensory bin ideas include using real water and ice (enhanced with blue food coloring), water beads, cotton balls, or packing peanuts.
To Play the Arctic Animal Matching Game:
Print the arctic animals preschool printable. There are two parts. The first includes squares to cut out, laminate, and put into the sensory bin. The second is the recording sheet. This is where the match is made and stays until the game is over.
I like to laminate each section of the game for young children. This will preserve the life of the game to be played over and over. I prefer to cut the game pieces out and then laminate and cut again.
I also like to laminate the animal theme recording sheet.
One option that I like is to use velcro dots on the back of the matching pieces as well as on each space/object on the recording sheet. This helps kids place the match where it belongs and saves on lost arctic foxes, polar bears, snowy owls, and more!
Bonus: Velcro is awesome for building fine-motor strength!
Combining sensory play with the arctic animal matching game:
The next thing I do is toss in all (or some, depending on the child) of the matching pieces into the sensory bin. Mix it up really well. Make sure some are on the bottom, in the middle, and then again on top. Have the child grab one card and match it to the recording sheet.
When all of the animals that live in the arctic are found and matched, the game is over. Chances are, though, that children will want to engage in more sensory or dramatic play with these fun, engaging animal cards.
More Arctic Animal Activities for Preschoolers
Keep your lesson plans diverse by using the same activity in different ways. Easily create an oral language preschool activity. Encourage children to name the animal they find, talk about its characteristics, tell about a personal connection, or ask questions about it.
Another arctic animal preschool lesson plan idea that I love is to use the printable to identify the beginning sound of each animal. Students can find an animal using a sensory bin tool, like plastic prongs, identify its name, then name the first sound they hear!
Why not incorporate food items! I love an arctic-themed snack. Get creative with polar bear faces on an English muffin, smothered in cream cheese (frosting?), with banana slices for ears, and maybe a chocolate cookie for the bear snout, and round cereal for eyes.