Clay Bears and Hibernation

As temperatures dropped to minus 20 the other day. I snuggled up in a blanket and thought about what activities we could do in class this week to keep warm outdoors. I love winter but there are days I just want to hibernate like the bears – this prompted a few playful ideas – clay bears, caves and den building.

My special needs student – Elise returned last week to our Nature Art classes after being away in Toronto for 5 months. I am so thrilled to have our precious little warrior back with us at Educating the Heart.


Keeping Active

Elise arrived wrapped up warm in ski pants and jacket, gloves and hat. Hunting and gathering keeps us active and although temperatures were very low (minus 17) there was very little snow, allowing us to forage for many natural items.

Imagination and creativity flourish outdoors

We were looking for items that could be added to our clay bears. Elise found tiny black stones and charcoal for her bears nose and pine cones that would later morph into ears.

Clay Play and Hibernation

The wind chill was too nippy for our bare hands to work with the clay outdoors so we headed indoors to learn a little about hibernation and make our clay bears.

Creativity is as important as literacy – Ken Robinson

Elise made the most charming little clay bear that reminded me of Winnie the Pooh.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me – ME.” – Pooh A A Milne

As soon as Elise had finished making her bear she gifted her a name – Elise loves to give a name to everything she makes – we then headed outdoors to make a den/cave for Stephanie the bear.

Building a Cave

Using both her hands and feet Elise created several caves outdoors using the carpet of pine needles – this kept us warm and provided opportunities for Elise to explore and create her very own stories – she shared with me what food her bear liked to eat; who was coming over for a sleep over; and that the cave had a doorbell and who the bears neighbors were.


These multi-sensory experiences outdoors help children to retain knowledge more effectively and help nurture a love and respect for the natural world and all its inhabitants.

We Protect What We Love

Elise checking to see if she could fit in the cave

Whatever the weather we can always spend sometime outdoors, even if its just half an hour!

If you would like to learn more about our Nature Art Program for educators please click on the link: NATURE ART PROGRAM



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