Today, I have a hands on learning activity for second grade using a polar bear game. This number line games for 2nd grade could actually be used in any age or grade level math, however, the polar bear craft that we used for a second grade math game turned out to be a fun way to work on base ten operations and adding 10’s and 100’s to two and three digit numbers. In second grade, adding two digits is a big deal! This polar bear activity is a fun two digit addition games for 2nd grade (and other grades).
If polar bear crafts and activities are right up your ally this winter, try some of these other polar bear activities, including a polar bear slide deck for distance learning or virtual therapy brain breaks, and this cute polar bear self-regulation activity.
Polar Bear Craft
You’ll need a few materials for the polar bear craft. Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
To make the polar bear craft, glue the small white crafting pom poms to the white pom pom. These will become the polar bear’s ears. Glue the black pom pom to the bear’s face. This will become the nose. Add the googly eyes and your polar bear craft is done.
There are a lot of fine motor skills being addressed in the making of this polar bear craft: pincer grasp, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, bilateral coordination, and separation of the sides of the hand.
This polar bear craft would pair nicely with our snowball math activity, designed to inspire hands-on learning with gross motor skills. The polar bear math activity described here would also go well with our Winter Fine Motor Kit, which is loaded with polar bear themed fine motor activities and crafts designed to target and strengthen specific fine motor skills.
Polar Bear Game
We played a polar bear game to boost second grade math skills by working on adding 10’s and 100’s to numbers along the number line. I showed my daughter how to use a straw to blow the craft pom pom polar bear craft across the table and along the number line.
We started the bear at zero and tried to see how far she could get the bear to go down the number line. I then asked her a few questions that I had written out on cards:
- What is your digit?
- Is your digit even or odd?
- What is 10 more?
- What is 10 less?
- What is 100 more?
We played a few times and then tried a few different extension ideas for this activity.
- Starting at where the polar bear lands, count on by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s.
- Start out by saying “We’ll add 100 to the number where your bear lands.” Then, practice counting backwards by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, and 100’s.
- Use two polar bear crafts to practice single and double digit adding and subtracting.
This polar bear game would be a great way to work on aspects of numbers with a hands-on approach to learning. Use it along with this Snowman Math-Composing and Decomposing Numbers activity.
Polar Bear Sensory Activity
This activity doubles as a polar bear sensory activity as it offers oral motor skills work. By blowing the straw to move the craft pom poms, children experience proprioceptive input through their mouth and cheeks. This sensory input is calming and can be a regulating tool to help kids focus following the heavy work through their mouth.
Using the straw to blow the polar bear across the table requires some “oomph” because of the weight of the crafting pom poms. Blowing through a straw is a great way to provide proprioception through a winter-themed oral motor activity. This is a fun activity for sensory seekers, kids who seek out oral motor input, and children who tend to fidget during learning or homework.
Check out our January Occupational Therapy calendar for more winter-themed sensory activities.
Polar Bear Therapy Activities
If blowing the straw requires too much effort for your child, or you would like to try a fine motor activity, practice flicking the polar bear across the table. Keeping the bear on the table requires precision of fine motor skills, making it another way to use the polar bear craft in therapy and hands-on learning.
Additional polar bear therapy ideas include:
Use this polar bear gross motor activity to work on balance, motor planning, movement changes, and strengthening.
This polar bear science activity challenges fine motor skills.
Use polar bear crafts, pencil control sheets, scissor skills challenges, and more in the Winter Fine Motor Kit.
This Polar Bear Food Chains activity focuses on handwriting.
This Polar Bear Footprint Multiplication activity builds hand strength, arch development, grasp, and coordination.
This Polar Animal Pattern Activity for First Grade focuses on visual perceptual skills.
This Arctic Animals Sight Words Game develops visual perceptual skills.
For some penguin fun, this Penguin Art Project inspires fine motor development with a penguin craft. This Penguin Addition to 100 with Hundreds Chart builds eye hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit, with 100 pages of done-for-you therapy activities, including polar bear themes. Grab it now before January 9th and you get a bonus of 3 fine motor slide deck activities.
These reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.
Play Dough Roll Mats- Use the 6 play dough mats to develop fine motor skills and hand strength needed for tasks like coloring with endurance, manipulating small items, and holding a pencil. Kids can roll small balls of play dough with just their fingertips to strengthen the intrinsic muscles.
Pinch and Grip Strength Activities- Challenge fine motor skills with polar bear and winter themed glue skills page, tong/tweezer activities, lacing cards, finger puppets, 1-10 counting clip cards, 10 toothpick art pages, find & color page, 5 crumble art pages.
Pencil Control Worksheets- Connect the arctic animals or winter items and stay on the pencil path lines while mastering pencil control.
Arctic Animal Cutting Strips and Scissor Skills Sheets- Work on scissor skills to cut along lines to reach the arctic animal friends or snowflakes, snowmen, and mittens. This is a great way to strengthen the motor and visual skills needed for cutting with scissors.
Handwriting Sensory Bin Materials- You and the kiddos will love these A-Z uppercase and lowercase tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 tracing cards with directional arrows, 1-10 counting cards.
“I Spy” Modified Paper- Includes: Color and find objects in two themes: winter items and arctic animals; 3 styles of modified paper for each theme: single rule bold lines, double rule bold lines, highlighted double rule.
Fine Motor Handwriting Sheets- Try the 4 Find/Color/Copy pages in different styles of modified paper, rainbow writing pages in 3 styles of modified paper.
Write the Room Activities- Using a winter theme, these Write the Room cards includes: 5 lowercase copy cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 5 lowercase tracing cards, 5 uppercase copy cards, 6 cursive writing copy cards, 2 styles of writing pages.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.