Animals in Winter

Kids in grades K-5 are invited to join us for our January STEM Program to learn how animals survive in winter! Register HERE to join us via Zoom on Tuesday, January 11 at 4pm.

Animals can deal with cold weather in many ways. They have at least three different options: migration – getting away from the cold, hibernation – sleeping through the cold, and adaptation – coping with the cold! We’ll talk about their advantages and disadvantages, and do two experiments to help us understand how animals survive, and even thrive, in the cold.

We’ll test the ability of feathers which help keep birds warm, and how oil from an oil spill affects their feathers. A kit to go with this activity will be available at Spokane Public Library locations starting Monday, December 27. Supplies are limited. 

If you aren’t able to pick up the kit and still want to participate, here’s what you’ll need: 

  • A large handful of feathers from a craft store (they will not be useable after the experiment)
  • 2-3 plastic sandwich zip-seal bags
  • Several ice cubes
  • About 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (whatever you have on hand)
  • A brush – a silicon kitchen basting brush works well, or a larger paintbrush that you don’t mind cleaning oil out of!

For our second experiment, we’ll use petroleum jelly to simulate fat (think of penguins and polar bears). You’ll need:

  • A small jar of petroleum jelly (usually available at the dollar store)
  • A bowl of ice water

Learn more about animals in winter using these resources, available using your Spokane Public Library card:

Book: Explore winter! 25 great ways to learn about winter

Book: Bugs and Bugsicles: insects in the winter

Book: Migration nation : animals on the go from coast to coast

Book: Winter sleep: a hibernation story

Book: Over and under the snow

hoopla eBook: Frozen Frogs and Other Amazing Hibernators Ebook by Mary Lindeen