Polar Vortex: Perfect for Polar Bears

Living in a polar vortex is no problem if you're a polar bear! The world's largest bear would just love the record-breaking winter weather Chicago has been facing. Share these wonderful books about this fascinating animal with your little ones.

Cold Paws, Warm Heart by Madeleine Floyd: This is a sweet fantasy story about a lonely polar bear named Cold Paws, who feels cold inside and out. He has no friends because all the other animals are afraid of him, and he spends his days alone playing his silver flute. Everything changes for Cold Paws when a little girl named Hannah hears his beautiful music. Shiver together each time Cold Paws says, "Brrrrrrrr."

Good Morning, Little Polar Bear by Carol Votaw: This wonderful rhyming nonfiction book is a great introduction to many kinds of polar animals from puffins to walruses and even narwhals. (Now there's an animal you don't read about every day!) As you read aloud, keep your little one engaged by adding motions, such as hopping like the arctic hare, tumbling like the arctic wolf or making antlers with their fingers like the caribou.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle: Introduce your child to the sounds of a yelping peacock, a braying zebra and a fluting flamingo. Teaching your little one animal sounds is not only fun, it's a great way to work on phonological awareness, an awareness of the smaller sounds in words. This will help when they are learning to sound things out on their own. I like to read Polar Bear, Polar Bear by singing it to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star."

Here's a fun and easy activity to extend these books: Pretend you are a picky polar bear who will only eat foods that begin with the "puh" sound the letter "p" makes. Try this rhyme, "My name is Peter Polar Bear. Listen to me! I only eat words that begin with 'p'. Puh, puh, p!" Using pictures of different foods, and emphasizing the beginning sound of each word together, sort out which ones Peter would eat. Pizza? Pears? Pumpkin pie? Yes, please! Hamburgers? Apples? Bananas? No!