Who doesn’t love a polar bear? I think most of us are aware of how tenuous their existence is these days. How sad the world would be if we lost the polar bear! They are deceptively cute and cuddly-looking, but we all know they are fierce survivors of some of the harshest weather on the planet. As winter begins to wind down, how about a last hurrah with a bear that enjoys the cold and snow all year? This week’s Storytime Short features the book by Mac Barnett called Polar Bear in the Snow. The simple, easy-to-follow text is enhanced by the magical art of Shawn Harris. 

As I searched for a great polar bear craft for to go along with this storytime, I discovered paper plate whirligigs. Paper plate whirligigs are easy to make and a lot of fun, so I adapted one of the ideas I found to make this wonderful twirly-whirly polar bear. You can stop by the Ashland Library this week to pick up a Take & Make kit with all the supplies you need to make this craft. If not, the following is a list of supplies to recreate this craft at home: 

  • 2 paper plates  
  • Pencil 
  • Scissors 
  • Glue 
  • Black marker 
  • Rubber band, ribbon, or yarn
  • Googly eyes and black pompom nose are optional, and can be picked up at any store that sells craft supplies. 

1. To begin, take your pencil and starting from the outside edge of your paper plate, draw a spiral toward the center.  

2. With your scissors, follow the line you drew and cut out the spiral.

3. Cut the middle out of your second paper plate to make the head for your polar bear whirler. Use the rim of the plate to trace out ears for your bear. Put the rest of the rim aside, we’ll be using that later.  

4. Color the middle of the polar bear ears black, and glue them onto the back of the head. 

5. Glue on your googly eyes and black pompom nose. Then draw on a mouth. If you don’t have googly eyes or pompoms, drawing on the face is also a great option.  

6. Glue the head of your bear to the middle of your spiral. 

7. Use what is left of the paper plate rim you put aside, and cut out two polar bear paws. 

8. Trace out little pads on the paws and color them black. 

9. Glue the paws onto one of the inner spirals of the paper plate. 

10. Now it’s time to give your polar bear some fish friends. Here’s a template you can print out and use as your own 

11. Give your fish a little pizzazz with crayons, markers, or color pencils. Cut them out and glue them on to the outer spiral of your whirligig. 

12. Turn your paper plate whirligig over, and glue or tape a cut-open rubber band onto the back of the polar bear’s head. This will give it a nice bounce as well as enable it to twirl around. (Ribbon, yarn, or string will also work.) 

 You can hang your polar bear craft from the ceiling, doorway, light fixture, or ceiling fan. Take a deep breath and blow, any little breeze will make it go! 

Interested in learning more about the Polar Bear? Check out this booklist, where you’ll find titles ranging from Bill Martin’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? to Caroline Arnold’s A Warmer World, a more serious look at climate change and how it can affect wildlife. For a more personalized list of books, check out JCLS Discovery, where a librarian will curate a list of books on any topic of your choice.