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Why Don’t Polar Bears Get Cold?

December 27, 2010

Picture taken from Google.


  • bowl of ice and cold water
  • vegetable shortening
  • plastic bag
  • a bowl with ice and  some cold water.


  • You can ask your child to imagine he was a polar bear swimming in the Arctic (the bowl of cold water), ask, “How would you stay warm?”
  • Let them put  their fingers in the water – is it cold?
  • Let them come up with some ideas, listening intently but don’t tell them if they are right or wrong.
  • While you are listening, fill a plastic bag with vegetable shortening. You need enough that will cover your child’s hand completely with a 1/2″ to 1″ around all sides.
  • Now you can explain that under the fur of the polar bear is a thick layer of blubber, which is fat.
  • The bag of vegetable shortening is like the fat.
  • Have them either put his hand right in the bag with the shortening – if he isn’t sensitive to the way it feels. Or place their hand in a plastic glove or another plastic bag before inserting their hand into the shortening.
  • Once they have their hand in the bag with shortening, tell them to take a small dip in the ice water (but keep the opening above sea level – so it doesn’t go under water!).
  • Ask if his fingers cold?
  • The fingers will stay warm because the shortening helps hold in their body heat, just like the blubber does on a polar bear.
  • Pretty neat!
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