Do your kids LOVE Brown Bear, Brown Bear as much as mine? This story is such a classic I just had to plan a week theme around Bears and our favorite Brown Bear books.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for Bear week:
And here are the details of each activity:
Our favorite bear books for the week were:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

 Brown Bear Mixed Media Art:
For this project I lined up scissors, glue, paper, markers, crayons and dot stampers in every color from the Brown Bear book.  Then I printed small versions of each animal for Madelynn to decorate any way she wished.
 Bear Track Stamping:
To create this stamp I did my best to carve a paw shape out of a potato to create a stamper. To make it easier for Madelynn to hold I also cut a wedge out of the top of the potato on either side for the handle.  Then Madelynn used brown paint and *lots* of paper to stamp bear tracks galore!
 Grab and Graph Bears:
I grabbed this activity from my classroom Graphing Bundle that I used with kindergarteners.  Madelynn is great with sorting so this was a perfect extension to introduce graphing.  Madelynn grabbed a big handful of colored counting bears , sorted them by color, then with my help she colored in each section of her graph.
 Bear Painting:
I intended to have Madelynn practice dot stamping with a cotton swab for this painting project but she decided to use her cotton swab as a brush.  I took her lead and love how her bear looked "fuzzy" when she was all finished!
 Puffy Paint Polar Bear:
After reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?  we created our own version of the cover art with my favorite homemade puffy paint. (Just mix together equal parts white glue and shaving cream.) First Madelynn painted the polar bear cut out that I prepared ahead of time, then we glued it onto the blue paper. After that she added snow to the scene to complete her picture. 
Brown Bear Roll & Move: 
Our first gross motor activity for the week was inspired by Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? First, I created a quick die with 6 of the characters on it. Then we rolled the die and decided how each character would move. Here are the animals and actions we used: Brown Bear-bear walks, Red Bird-flap wings, Blue Horse-gallop, Green Frog-hops, Goldfish-swim on tummy, and Yellow Duck-waddle.
 Bear Walk Trail:
This was a super simple gross motor activity.  I printed and laminated a bunch of bear paw prints then taped them down to the floor to make a trail around our house. Madelynn practiced her bear walks and followed the trail.
 Teddy Bear Hide and Seek: 
Madelynn recently discovered how fun it is to play hide and seek, so we switched it up a little to match our theme this week with Teddy Bear hide and seek.  We took turns hiding the bear and counting to 10 before searching for our furry friend.
 Bear Balance Relay: 
For this gross motor activity, we used colored counting bears and took turns running back and forth while balancing them on a spoon. At the end we dumped them in a cup.  I set out 4 cups so that we could make it a sorting activity as well, but Madelynn wanted to see if she could fit all the bears in one cup instead.
 Teddy Bear Turn Around:
I love a good song for gross motor and movement, so I had to include the classic Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear rhyme this week.  I even found this video on YouTube for Madelynn to follow along with.
Teddy Bear Snacks:
 Graham Cracker Bear Cut a jumbo marshmallow in half for mouth, then cut in quarters for the ears. Place on top of a graham cracker. Use a food coloring marker to draw a mouth. Add a chocolate covered raisin and candy eyes to complete the face
 Cinnamon Bear Tracks - Separate biscuits from a tube of biscuit dough. Snip the ends to look like claws. Brush them with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake as directed
Teddy Bear Rice Cake - Spread peanut butter on a rice cake. Use banana slices for the ears and nose. Add chocolate chips and/or chocolate covered raisins for the eyes & nose.
 Teddy Bear Pancakes -  Make a batch of your favorite pancake batter. Make one large, one medium and 6 small pancakes. After they are finished arrange pancakes on plate in a bear shape. Melt milk chocolate and use it to pipe on a mouth and paws. Add candy eyes and a blueberry nose.
Polar Bear Paws - Slice jumbo marshmallows to make flat circles. Add mini peanut butter cups and 3 chocolate chips to create pawprints.

 Brown Bear Retell Bin: 
In this sensory bin: white beans, felt characters from brown bear, scoops, and cups.
 Bear Hunt Bin: 
In this sensory bin: split peas, blue gems, trees, cotton balls, paper tube, play dough, rocks, and little people
 Bear Patterns Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: water beadscolored counting bears, pattern cards, scoops, tongs, and bowls
 Hibernation Sensory Bin: 
In this sensory bin: split peas, rocks, small box caves, sticks pine cones, and bears.
Polar Bear Retell Bin: 
In this sensory bin: rice, "cages" (boxes with rubber bands), and animals from Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (I used animals from our Fisher Price Alphabet Zoo)

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

 Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:
Then check out all of our Tot School themes here:


September:

October:

November:

December:
January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

We watched Happy Feet over the weekend so naturally Madelynn is a bit in love with penguins lately which made it the perfect time for our penguin tot school theme. We did a few of the same penguin activities that we tried last year, but tried lots of new ones too!
*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for Penguin Week:

And here are the details of each activity:
Our favorite penguin books for the week were:
Tacky the Penguin By Helen Lester
Penguins By Liz Pichon
If You Were a Penguin By Wendell and Florence Minor
Penguin Chick By Betty Tatham
Snow Letter Writing Tray:
Okay so we didn't really use snow, because of course we didn't have any on the ground to scoop up when I needed it. Instead I used salt sprinkled on our tot school tray, close enough right? Then we started out drawing lines, zig zags and circles using a penguin from our Penguin Toob. Madelynn is still a bit young to make letters on her own, so next I drew a letter in the salt tray and had her trace it with her penguin. Easy peasy fine motor practice.
Penguin Counting Tray:
For this fine motor activity we added in a little counting with a soft foam die. Madelynn rolled the die, counted the dots, then added that number of mini penguin erasers to her ice cube tray.  For a little extra challenge I gave her tweezers to pick up the erasers too.
Penguin Painting:
Now that Madelynn is getting pretty good at drawing shapes I have been trying to have her work on more open ended art projects. So for this painting I asked her to start by painting a penguin body with black paint. We looked at pictures of penguins in books so she could decide what shapes she needed. She told me she was going to make a big oval and a head. After that dried, we glued cotton balls on the head and body for the white parts and I gave her a few pre-cut pieces for the face and feet.
Igloo Painting:
To prep this activity I froze water inside empty fruit cups that I saved to make little "igloos." Then Madelynn used watercolors to paint her igloos.
Tacky the Penguin Play Dough Mat:
After reading Tacky the Penguin By Helen Lester, we made our own shirts and bow ties for Tacky using play dough. We also used our Melissa & Doug Play Dough Tools to stamp different shapes and textures on the clothes.
Penguin Dance Chant:
I have tons of preschool movement CDs that I used in the classroom full of fun themed songs. One song I remember loving was Jack Hartman's Penguin Dance Chant. The song has your little one(s) moving their left and right flippers, feet and more. You can find it on CD here or dance to the YouTube version like we did here
Penguin Waddle:
We did this activity last year, but thought we'd try it again now that Madelynn is bigger.  All I did was blow up a balloon and have her try to walk with it between her legs.  We talked about how penguin daddies keep their eggs warm on their feet and have to shuffle around to move anywhere while the mommy is out getting food.
Iceberg Hop:
We did this one last year too, but it was fun and easy so we tried it again! I cut out white "icebergs" from cardstock and laid them out on the floor. Then I had Madelyn move in different ways between them. We tried walking, running, hopping on two feet, hopping on one foot, tiptoeing, and skating.
Penguin Freeze Dance:
Another fun dance we love is this Penguin Freeze Dance I found on YouTube. This is just a themed version of the basic freeze dance song.  In the video different animals and characters prompt different actions (skate like penguin, twirl like a candy cane, etc.) until the music stops and they shout "freeze." 
Penguin Fish Hunt:
Madelynn loves these themed scavenger hunts, so this week I printed fish with all of the letters a to z and hid them around the house. She pretended she was a hungry penguin and searcher for all of the letter fish.She used the recording sheet and a clipboard to match and color each letter as she found them.
Penguin Snacks:
Penguin Cookies - Separate the top cookie from the cream of an Oreo. Split the top cookie into 2 pieces to make the wings and reattach. Add a mini oreo for the head. Cut up an orange gumdrop for the feet and beak and added candy eyes on the face with a dot of icing.
Build an Igloo - Start with half an apple turned upside down on a plate. Use a plastic knife to spread peanut butter all over the outside of the apple. Built the igloo by sticking mini marshmallow "ice cubes" onto the peanut butter.
Blueberry Penguin - Place a large rice cake in the center of a plate. Place blueberries around the rice cake to form the penguin body shape.  Add a half strawberry and blueberry for a hat.  Cut Starburst candy into webbed feet and a beak.  Add Starburst shapes and candy eyes to complete the penguin.
Penguin Marshmallow Start by dipping a jumbo marshmallow in melted chocolate and let it set. Add gumdrops and candy eyes for the face and feet.
Veggie Penguin Use cucumber slices for the penguin body and head. Add cut black olives to outline the body and head. Add carrot pieces for feet and nose and finish the face with candy eyes.
 Build an Igloo Sensory Bin:
In this bin: "Snow,"  penguin mini erasers, empty fruit cups

(We used the same baking soda snow we made last week for our winter theme, I just added a bit more water to soften it up again.)
Penguin Sensory Bin:
In this sensory bin: Penguins from our Penguin Toob, instant fake snow, and empty fruit cup igloos. 
Penguin Sensory Bin:
In this sensory bin: Penguins from our Penguin Toobartificial snow, mini trees, and blue gems(ice).
Penguin Sensory Bin:
In this sensory bin: Penguins from our Penguin Toob, blue gems, frozen icebergs, bowls, and water.
Penguins at Night:
In this sensory bin: Baking soda snow, penguins from our Penguin Toob, blue gems, clear tray and light pad

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

 Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:
Then check out all of our Tot School themes here:


September:

October:

November:

December:
January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

I love the holidays, but I am EXHAUSTED! I'm so over traveling, partying and never ending holiday to do lists and ready to get back into a bit of a routine around here. We had lots of snowy fun this week that I can't wait to share with you!

**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for Winter Week:

And here are the details of each activity:
Our favorite winter books for the week were:
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kuskin
The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Nietzel
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Snowmen at Night by Carayn Buehner
Build a Snowman:
We used this little snowman last year as one of our very first tot school fine motor activities and it was a big hit so I pulled it back out this year.  The goal is to fill the water bottle with mini marshmallows. Last year we just used fingers, but now that Madelynn is a whole year older I added the tongs for her to grab marshmallows. She used them for a while and then started using her hands. Either way great fine motor practice!
 Snowball Counting Tray:
Since mini marshmallows make the perfect little "snowballs" we used them for our counting tray as well. We used a mini ice cube tray and tongs then practiced counting and placing marshmallows in each hole.
 Snowball Name:
This was such an easy low prep activity.  I taped 2 sheets of paper together since Madelynn's name is nice and long. Then I wrote her name with large letters and gave her some white circle labels and hole reinforcements.  She then used the stickers to trace the shape of each letter.
 Puffy Paint Snowman:
In order to paint these snowmen, I used a simple DIY recipe to mix up a batch of puffy paint.

Puffy Paint Recipe:
Equal parts shaving cream and white glue
Pinch of glitter
A few drops of vanilla for scent

After painting, I gave Madelynn small paper cutouts to use to decorate her snowman.
 Marshmallow Paint Snowman:
I like to switch up our painting tools from time to time, and since we had all kinds of marshmallows laying around from our other activities, I thought it would be fun to use them to stamp a snowman.  Madelynn started out stamping, then used them more as a paintbrush to create her snowman. After painting we added a few felt snowflake stickers to finish our artwork.
 Snowball Fight:
We brought the snowball fight action indoors with this easy gross motor activity. I crumpled up lots and lots of white scrap paper and spread it around the room. Then I yelled "snowball fight" and it was game on!  The best part about using crumpled paper is that it is really hard to throw hard so no one gets hurt!
 Snowball Toss:
I couldn't throw away all those scrap paper snowballs just yet, so I came up with another way to play. For our snowball toss I set out a few metal tubs for Madelynn to toss them into.  Throwing is not her favorite gross motor activity so after she got bored with that I had her hold the tub and try to catch the snowballs as I threw them. 
 Snow Shoveling:
Time to get this girl trained young that here in Wisconsin shoveling snow is a family affair.  Without snow on the ground outside, we practiced shoveling indoors with out paper snowballs again.  Madelynn scooped them up in the shovel and tried to fill the metal tub.
 Build a Snowman:
Of course we could build a snowman outside when we have the snow, but I mean how cute is this indoor snowman? I have an Amazon Prime addiction so we always have a million boxes laying around.  To prep this activity, I took 3 different sized boxes and wrapped then with the white side of a roll of wrapping paper facing out. Next, I wrapped a small box in black construction paper for a hat. Then, I cut out red and black circles and a carrot shape for the face  and buttons.  Finally we added a scarf for a finishing touch. Madelynn stacked the boxes largest to smallest to build the snowman, then used all of the decorations to bring her snowman to life. I even cut holes in the sides of the middle box to use wrapping paper tubes for arms!
 Snowball Number Hunt:
If you have been following along with our past tot school themes, you know I love a good letter/number hunt.  This week we hunted for number snowballs and recorded them on our clipboard page as we found them.
Snow Theme Snacks:
Snowman Popcorn Cups - Draw a snowman face on a clear plastic cup.  Fill the cup with popcorn.
Snowman Quesadilla- Use circle cookie cutters to create the 3 parts of the snowman body. Add peppers, black olives, and pretzels for the decorations.
Donut Snowman - Lay 3 powdered sugar donuts on the plate.  Add chocolate chips, licorice, Oreo, and a Reese's cup for the decorations.
Veggie Snowman - Use 3 cucumber slices to make a snowman body. Add carrots, peppers, and black olives for decorations.
Marshmallow Snowflakes - Push 4 pretzel rods into big marshmallows. Press 4 pretzel sticks into mini marshmallows. Push all 8 sticks into a large center marshmallow.
Winter Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Cotton Balls, Bells, Foam Snowflakes, Star Lights, Bowls, Scoops and Tongs
 Build a Snowman Bin:
In this bin: "Snow,"  pipe cleaners, buttons, googly eyes, black pom poms, sticks

To make the pretend snow mix together 2 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup water, and glitter in a small bowl. Pop the bowl in the freezer for a bit so it has a chilly feel to it. Don't make the same mistake I did and forget about it though! I left the bowl in the freezer too long and the water completely froze so we had to wait a good 30 minutes for it to thaw before it was no longer a hard brick of ice.
 Pretend Snow Play:
In this bin: Instant Fake Snow, clear snowman cup, scoops, and snowman cookie cutters
 Build a Snow Globe:
In this bin: Artificial Snow, plastic tubes, small trees, penguin and snowmen mini erasers, and scoops
Snow Shape Pasta Sensory Bin:
In this bin: Snow Shape Pasta, sorting tray, tongs, measuring cups and spoons

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:
 Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:
Then check out all of our Tot School themes here:

September:

October:

November:

December:

January:

February:

March:

April:

May:

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