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2015-02-19 11.55.59

Learning about Hibernation

By Connie Goldin, LMFT


Have you ever noticed how many books for children about bears feature beds in the story? It’s only natural, since big burly bears spend the winter curled up snugly for a long sleep, called “hibernation.” Hibernation is a state some animals, including insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals, enter into during the fall in order to survive the harsh winter. They find or build a refuge, for their hibernation. Interestingly, bears spend the cold months in a state of “torpor,” or “light hibernation.” Bears can wake up and respond to a noisy interruption outside their den. An animal in full hibernation can’t do this.

Learning about bears and forest animals is fascinating and fun. Polar bears introduce children to the Arctic and life on the frozen sea. Whether you are reading fiction or nonfiction bear books with your children, they’ll be introduced to these amazing mammals. There are other benefits to reading books that feature bears. Children can learn new vocabulary words, names of different forest and marine animals, and they can gain respect for the marvels of nature. Perhaps you have a sense of hibernation if you live in a snowy climate. What could be more cozy than to snuggle up together and read with your children? Here are some bear books and an art project that will help your young children learn about hibernation and nature’s plan for helping wildlife survive long winters. The books below are wonderful. Enjoy reading them with your children!


Outstanding Bear Books for Young Children


Hibernation Art

Two of the books above use paper cut-outs to create the beautiful artwork for their books. Older kids will enjoy cutting paper for the trees and sun. Little ones can paint or draw the trees more easily. Have fun creating a cozy den for the brown bear.

Bear Hibernation Craft from


These books can be found on

A Bed for Bear by Clive McFarland

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson,  Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

Finding Spring by Carin Berger

Face to Face with Polar Bears by Norbert Rosing and Elizabeth Carney


The painting above is my version of the cover of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle.

Connie Goldin



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