Polar Bear Sound Activity

Brrrr, it’s chilly!  But, we are getting our bodies moving with this super versatile polar bear sound activity.  This  game can be played five different ways to build phonological awareness!

It’s a perfect literacy activity to use with multiple ages or to repeat over and over to build different skills.

A phonological awareness game that can be played five different ways to build phonemic awareness. It's a great gross motor activity for a polar bear theme unit too.

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First, do you know the classic book, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr.?  It’s a fun book to read before playing this game because it is all about listening and speaking.  And, that is exactly what phonological awareness is all about.

Phonological awareness can be developed using lots of playful oral games with kids over and over.  This game is designed to be played multiple times and changed to fit the needs of your child.


Materials needed for 1-2 players: 15 white pieces of paper, masking tape, Polar Bear Sound sheet, and master call sheet

polar bear sound game finish line

  1. Pick a large or long open space to play the game.  Randomly place the 15 pieces of white paper (the icebergs) on the floor.  Use masking tape to help the papers stay in place.  Space the papers so that the kids can reach the icebergs by stretching just a bit.
  2. Place the Polar Bear Sound sheet at the opposite end of the start line.
  3. Print your master call sheet.


polar bear sound activity for building phonological awareness with preschoolers

The kids will stand at the starting point.  Each time a question is answered correctly, they take a turn stepping to an “iceberg” within reach.  Players can move in any direction, but can not occupy an iceberg with another player.

If a question is answered incorrectly, then the player must remain on the original iceberg.

falling off the iceberg in the polar bear sound game

If a player falls in the “water” while moving, he or she has to move back to the original iceberg. The player basically loses a turn.

The first player to reach “Polar Bear Sound” wins.

Here are five versions of the game.  Choose the level that best suits your child.

Segmenting Sentences Into Words

Tell each player a short sentence.  The player has to count how many words are in the sentence.  Encourage the child to make a fist and put up one finger for each word he or she hears.

For example, “Polar bears eat seals.” has four words.


Say a word and have the child say a word that rhymes.

The word “ice” rhymes with nice, slice or dice.

Segmenting Words into Syllables

Say a word.  Have the child repeat the word and then clap how many sounds they hear in the word.

For example, “Artic” has two syllables (arc-tic).

Identifying Beginning Sounds

Say a word and ask the child to tell you the beginning sound he or she hears in the word.  It helps for the child to repeat the word before identifying the beginning sound.

The word “tundra” begins with /t/.

Segmenting Phonemes

Call out a word.  Have the child repeat the word and then stretch it out like a rubber band saying each individual sound (phoneme).

The word fox has three phonemes /f/  /o/  /x/.

Have fun building phonological awareness with this oral polar bear sound activity that also builds gross motor skills.

This week’s Early Childhood Education Team theme is the tundra  Visit the links below for more great early childhood activities related to the tundra theme.

But before you explore…

P.S. For more great book recommendations and  literacy ideas, we send out a weekly newsletter. You can see a sample here.  If you like what you see, sign up to receive it for FREE each week.

Arctic Animal Sensory Writing Tray by Fun-A-Day

Home-made Books: Tundra by Powerful Mothering

Arctic Animals Writing Prompts by The Educators’ Spin On It

Why Are Polar Bears White? | Animal Adaptations on the Arctic Tundra by Raising Lifelong Learners

Tundra Animal Sharing and Halving by Rainy Day Mum

Arctic Edition, Mother May I Gross Motor Game by Tiny Tots Adventures

Arctic Animal Matching Games by Life Over C’s

Arctic Animals Preschool Science:  Blubber and Ice Explorations! By The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Science Fun-Learning About the Woolly Bear Caterpillar by Capri + 3

Arctic Preschool Letter Hunt by Learning 2 Walk



About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 18 years of experience. Jodie's passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing our youngest readers.


  1. We are playing this today! My kids have been loving movement games and I can see us having fun with this one.

  2. Fantastic will print this out for tomorrow it will get us up and moving and working on phonics at the same time.

  3. What a wonderful game. We will have to try this out! I like the variations.

  4. this is a great idea! Keeping it for when we reach this point! 😀

  5. We are going to use this soon! We are big fans of all types of sounds and LOVE this book.

  6. I love the combination of movement and engagement here! The title made me think this would involve a lot more sound and music making – can imagine a version that is less focused on the language literacy aspect and more on creative sound and music making where each iceberg is an opportunity to make some related sound and music. Will eventually try this out!


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