I was first inspired to plan a polar bear theme by Mac Barnett's new book, A Polar Bear In the Snow, but at the last minute decided not to use it because I wasn't sure the pictures would be visible and clear enough to everyone, with us having storytime outdoors and being all spread out.
We started with a "Hello" song, then introductions followed by a warm-up song, "Hello, Everybody". I brought out a non-fiction book to share a few pictures and interesting facts about polar bears and where they live, then led into our first book with our "story song".
I started with a silly book guaranteed to get their attention and lots of laughs, Polar Bear's Underwear by the creative team collectively known as Tupera Tupera. Polar Bear fears he has lost his underwear, and his friend Mouse kindly helps him search for them. They find several different pairs of underwear, but none are his. When Polar Bear finally finds his underwear, it turns out they were never really lost at all.
Kids love guessing whether each pair of underwear is Polar Bear's, and if not, who they might belong to, with the patterns of each pair giving a hint as to their owner. For example, the striped underwear belongs to Zebra, the underwear with carrots on them belong to Rabbit (who is wearing them on his head), and the tiny pair with flowers on them belong to Butterfly. This book is a lot of fun, but also encourages critical thinking in making predictions and introduces the concept of camouflage.
Next we did a counting down rhyme, accompanied by clip-art on my magnetic board:
Grizzly bears are big and brown,
After I read the book to them, I mentioned the other two books in the series and showed them another unique trait they all have, which is in addition to reading them aloud, they can also be sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"! I didn't sing the whole book, but demonstrated with the first few pages. I explained finding multiple ways to share or explore a favorite book helps children engage in a new way and calls attention to the words and rhythm in a different way, also helping to develop phonological awareness and language.