Skip to main content

Polar Bear Cupcakes and Other Winter Treats (With Lessons for Kids)

Rebecca is a retired special education teacher. She earned a master's degree at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA.

Inspire learning about the polar bear's plight with these cute cupcakes.

Inspire learning about the polar bear's plight with these cute cupcakes.

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 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.

Ingredients

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)

Instructions

  1. Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Cool. .
  2. Ice with vanilla frosting.
  3. Sprinkle on fresh coconut.
  4. Slice a marshmallow in half horizontally. Add the marshmallow half for the bear’s muzzle.
  5. Add two lemon cooler cookies for ears.
  6. Use a tad of frosting to attach a golden raisin for the nose.
  7. Add mini M&Ms for eyes.
  8. Pipe on a chocolate frosting mouth. (We just put the frosting in a sandwich bag with a small tip cut out of the corner.)

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. These 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 are floating around faster and further apart. The poor creatures are wearing themselves out looking for a food source—just like you and I would if we had to wander around in circles for days to eat. Most say that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame, while others argue that the warming of the planet is a natural occurrence.

Want to learn more about polar bears? You can find some fantastic resources online to learn about these gorgeous creatures. Some of them are interactive.

Want to learn more about polar bears? You can find some fantastic resources online to learn about these gorgeous creatures. 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.

More Winter Treats to Enjoy and Learn From

These polar bear cupcakes aren't the only way to beat the winter drear while exploring the natural world. Check out these quick and easy snack ideas.

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.