Rebecca is a retired special education teacher. She earned a master's degree at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA.
Winter Treats and Learning
Like it or not, winter has set in for most of us. The end-of-the-year holidays are over, and the post-Christmas depression period has begun. Make January sparkle by creating winter treats with the kids on those dreary winter days when you're stuck indoors.
Homeschooling parents and daycare givers can even incorporate some lessons into these winter treats.
Winter Treats in This Article
- Polar Bear Cupcakes
- Feed the Birds Treats
- Healthy Snowman Snacks
- Bears in Winter Toast
- Melting Hot Chocolate Snowman
How to Make Polar Bear Cupcakes
Cupcakes can make any day better. Stuck at home on a snowy day, a white, frozen world presents a teachable moment to learn facts about polar bears, who thrive in what we shiver in.
These cute polar bear cupcakes can inspire youngsters to learn about these animals and how a warming planet is putting them in danger.
Here's how to make polar bear cupcakes as well as a cool list of polar bear resources to use for learning about them.
For the cupcakes:
- 1 box cake mix, white
- Any additional ingredients called for by the cake mix (e.g., eggs, oil, water, or milk)
For the decoration:
- 1 container pre-made vanilla frosting
- 1-2 cups coconut, fresh frozen or grated
- 1 container pre-made chocolate frosting
- Regular-size marshmallows 1 per cupcake (1 per cupcake)
- Lemon cooler cookies (2 per cupcake)
- Mini M&Ms (2 per cupcake)
- Golden raisins (1 per cupcake)
- Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Cool. .
- Ice with vanilla frosting.
- Sprinkle on fresh coconut.
- Slice a marshmallow in half horizontally. Add the marshmallow half for the bear’s muzzle
- Add two lemon cooler cookies for ears.
- Use a tad of frosting to attach a golden raisin for the nose.
- Add mini M&Ms for eyes.
- Pipe on a chocolate frosting mouth. (We just put the frosting in a sandwich bag with a small tip cut out of the corner.)
Decorating Polar Bear Cupcakes
Polar Bear Facts
Polar bears live in a frozen arctic world. They eat seals and some other arctic sea life, and do so by going from ice floe to ice floe. Polar bears are now considered a threatened species, meaning that they are likely to become endangered. We know what that means. Those beautiful amazing animals could become extinct if action is not taken.
As the earth has begun to warm, these large chunks of ice that they climb aboard to do their fishing for food on are floating around faster and further apart. The poor creatures are wearing themselves out like we would if we had to wander around in circles for days looking for our food source. Most say that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame, others argue that the warming of the planet is a natural occurrence.
You can find some fantastic resources online to learn about polar bears. Some of them are interactive.
Polar Bear Learning Resources
- Read facts, see photos and videos, donate, adopt a polar bear, join an email list, and more at Polar Bears International.
- An experiment with ice cubes demonstrates how these animals are threatened. And all you basically need are ice cubes and a globe. Kids melt ice cubes in their hands to help relate to global warming and rising oceans.
- National Geographic for Kids. Videos and photos show the polar bears in their frozen world along with lots of cool facts.
Feed the Birds Treats
Learn about animals in winter and make feed the birds treats. Spread "snow" (cream cheese) on the "ground" (a graham cracker). Sprinkle on raisins (left over from polar bear cupcakes) and shelled sunflower seeds. Crushed nuts will work, too.
A great book to read is A Warm Winter Tale, a story about how animals cope in winter and how they wonder how humans do.
Do an experiment to learn about how arctic animals stay warm in icy water using ice water, Crisco, and latex gloves.
Healthy Snowman Snack
To make this healthy snowman snack, spread cream cheese on a round cracker for the snowman's head, and a rectangular one for its body. Make tiny earmuffs from broccoli with a green pepper headband. Add a red pepper strip for a scarf and add features and buttons from raisins, craisins, or chopped nuts. And of course a baby carrot nose.
Read the book The Amazing Snowman Dual by Yossi Lapid, a story about a new snowman in town who picks fights. It's a great conversation starter to discuss bullying.
Bears in Winter Toast
Warm up with bears in winter toast by spreading Nutella on warm toast. Decorate with banana slices and raisins to make a bear's face.
Read how bears behave during different seasons by reading Shh' Bear's Sleeping by David Martin and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.
Melting Hot Chocolate Snowman
For a fun hot chocolate drink, make up a dish of marshmallow snowman toppers. Attach two marshmallows together with a toothpick. Add a bit of icing for features.
Try Melting Magic, an experiment that helps kids learn about the states of matter and molecules.
Winter Science Experiment Fun with Chemical and Physical Reactions
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 22, 2020:
Your ideas are not only cute and offer tasty treats, but can be used as learning tools as well. That is a great combo!
Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 16, 2020:
Aww, how sweet. Thanks, FlourishAnyway!
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 16, 2020:
These are such cute ideas! I don’t have little kids around but it’s enough to make me want to borrow some!
Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 13, 2020:
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 12, 2020:
The treats sound fun to make and delicious. Combining education and tasty food is an excellent idea.
Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 12, 2020:
Thanks, Pamela. Me too! It's been so warm here this winter. Unusually so. I guess you're always warm.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 11, 2020:
I don't have children at home anymore but I really like the idea of incorporating learning about animals with making treats. The polar bears are a great theme and I would hate to think of them becoming extinct.
Rebecca Mealey (author) from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 11, 2020:
Thanks for commenting!
Theblogchick from United States on January 10, 2020:
Great article. Awesome snacks ideas here for children and parents. Thanks for sharing.