Winter is always a fun time to talk about arctic animals. I absolutely loved this idea from Discover and Learn Preschool for exploring how arctic animals stay warm in icy water! Animals like walruses, seals, and polar bears all have a thick layer of fat, called blubber, that keeps them warm in the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. And polar bears have black skin underneath two layers of fur that help trap the heat when they are on land.
Here is a fun fact: Although you often see Polar Bears and penguins together in books and movies, they actually live at opposite ends of the earth. Polar Bears only live in the arctic (North Pole) and penguins live in the Antarctic (and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere).
Want to see if a layer of blubber can really help you stay warm in icy water? Try this fun experiment!
Here’s what you’ll need: a bowl of icy water, Crisco (or vegetable shortening), latex or vinyl gloves, and plastic wrap.
First of all, encourage your child to put his/her hand into the ice water.
Obviously, Little Brother was not a fan of freezing his hands! :
Next, put a surgical glove on your child. This will allow your child to participate in the experiment without having to spend hours trying to wash crisco off his/her hands. :)
Then have him/her scoop out the shortening and make a fist.
Put on a glove yourself and then add gobs of shortening to the outside of his/her hand as well. Wrap the ball of shortening with a piece of plastic wrap (we forgot this step and it was kind of a mess!!!).
Then have him/her plop their hands back into the ice water. Little Brother was a bit hesitant at first, but noticed a big difference in how much warmer his hand stayed with the layer of “blubber”!
You Might Also Like: