Why Are Polar Bears White? A Preschool Investigation | Still Playing School

Why Are Polar Bears White? A Preschool Investigation

By Devany | Labels:

One of E's questions on our KWL chart for polar regions was "Why are polar bears white?"  We did an investigation this week to see if we could discover the reason.

I put two animals on a white piece of cardboard: a green alligator and a white polar bear.  I asked E which was easier to see.I think she was confused by my question because she said the polar bear.
 I asked her to go the whole way into the other room and look at me.  This time I stood the cardboard up and put a tiger and an arctic fox in front of the white cardboard.  I asked her to name the animals.  She got the tiger immediately, but had to take several steps forward to tell me the other animal was a white fox.
Winter Preschool Theme
Again, I asked her which animal was easier to see against the white cardboard.  She said the animal that wasn't white.  Yes!

Next we discussed where animals live and how that relates to their color.  We noticed that polar animals are often white like the snow they live on.  An alligator is green because it likes to hide in grass and mucky green water.  A bear is brown because it lives around dirt and trees.

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We've been reading through the following books on arctic and antarctic animals including our favorites so far:

We also used these animals in our camouflage simulation and daily for lots of fun pretend play.  D likes to make the tiger and bears growl.  While I was upstairs putting him down for his nap today, E created a habitat for the alligator and the polar bear completely independently!

Challenge: Sink a Marshmallow from P is for Preschooler

Melting Ice Cubes from Stir the Wonder

Valentines Day Ice Science from Little Bins for Little Hands


  1. This is a great way to teach about camouflage. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great idea for explaining camouflage! The animals on the cardboard is a perfect visual!