Learning about bears is a fun topic for a winter theme in your preschool or kindergarten classroom.
Using high interest topics to teach literacy and math skills makes learning fun and meaningful for kids.
Here’s a hands-on bear activity that will also help young children develop a strong mathematical foundation.
Bear More or Less Purpose
Learning how to compare quantities is a skill that develops over time with exposure and practice.
In this activity, children are using one-to-one correspondence skills to determine the number of objects counted, then comparing quantities.
Activities that provide opportunities to practice comparison skills deepen the understanding of numbers and quantity, thus building a strong mathematical foundation.
When we provide children with hands-on opportunities to manipulate objects, engagement and learning increase. Touching and moving blocks, counters, and other real world objects support research based best-practices of learning from the concrete to the abstract.
The skills covered in this activity include:
- subitizing: some children will be able to subitize the dots on the die, others only up to a certain number, and some, not at all
- one-to-one correspondence: pairing each object with one and only one number name as bears are counted
- more or less: identifying whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group
- understanding the meaning of the words more and less
Bear Activity Supplies
Here are the supplies you will need to make your own bear one-to-one correspondence activity.
- Paper bowls, one per child in your small group
- Gray or brown paint
- Paint brush
- Shaving cream
- Liquid glue
- One foam die
- Plastic bear counters OR Teddy Grahams
- Printable ten frames (available below)
Preparing the Bear More or Less Activity
First, turn the paper bowls upside down and paint them gray or brown to represent caves.
After the bowls have dried thoroughly, use the scissors to cut an opening in the front of each bowl to represent the opening in the cave.
Next, mix one part shaving cream and one part glue together to create “snow paint.” Use a paint brush to apply thick blobs of snow to the outside of the bowls. You could also use cotton balls to create snow if you prefer.
When the snow on the caves is completely dry you are ready to play the game!
Bear More or Less Activity Directions
First, ask your students to pair up or assign partners if you prefer. Next, give each child a cave and one foam die per pair.
To play, the students in each pair will take turns rolling the die and then place the corresponding number of bears in their caves.
After each child has rolled the die and placed the correct number of bears in their caves they will then lift up the caves to count and compare the bears and determine who has more and who has less.
The printable ten-frames sheet below can be used to help children visualize quantities and develop number sense.
Printable Ten Frame
You can use plastic bear counters from your math center for this bear activity, or Teddy Grahams if your program allows. Or you could use the activity with plastic bears the first week, and switch to Teddy Grahams the second week for more hands-on learning fun!
More Activities For A Bear Theme
If you are teaching a bear themed unit in your classroom, then I have a few more ideas for you to go along with this bear more or less activity.
Bear Cave Snack – After reading the story aloud in class, invite your kids to make this simple snack on their own using only 3 ingredients to extend the story even further.
Polar Bear Activities for Kids – Here are 25 of my favorite polar bear crafts, snacks, and activities to use at home or in the classroom for learning and fun!
Bear Counts: Counting on Paws – This hands-on activity, based on the book Bear Counts, can lead kids to practice counting and adding one more.
Bear and Hibernation Books- Here are some of my favorite fiction and non-fiction books about bears and hibernation to read-aloud to young children.
Going On A Bear Hunt Activities For Preschool – Whether you are exploring a bears theme or just following up after reading the book, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, then check out these bear hunt activities for your classroom.
Activities For Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – After reading this book with your preschoolers, use the activities below to retell the story, explore colors, or develop literacy skills.
Follow my Bear Theme board on Pinterest for more great ideas!