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Migration and Hibernation

Learn about animals that migrate and hibernate.

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Let's explore migration and hibernation!

Many polar region animals hibernate or migrate to survive. Hibernation is when animals sleep through the coldest weather, living out of their fat storage;using minimum energy. Migration happens when some animals move to warmer places when the coldest weather arrives.

Children will learn about migration and hibernation and animals who fit into each category through discussion and research.

Learning Outcomes




Receptive Language (Listening and Understanding), Observation and Inquiry, Science, Math


Oral Language

Observation and Inquiry


Optional: graphing


Step 1:

Talk about migration and hibernation and their meanings. Do they Discuss how not all animals can live in snowy climates, so when winter comes, they either have to move to warmer climates or curl up for a long winter's nap. 

Step 2:

Talk about animals that migrate such as types of birds, geese, butterflies and fish. 

Step 3:

Talk about animals that hibernate (or go to torpor) including deer mice, bears, turtles, squirrels, skunks, and bats. 

Step 4: 

Talk about the difference between hibernation and torpor. Animals that hibernate go into a very deep sleep for a long period of time, usually during winter. Hibernation helps an animal conserve energy. Torpor is considered a lighter sleep, in which the animal can be easily awakened. The purpose of torpor is similar to hibernation—to conserve energy during winter months when food is scarce. Torpor is often grouped in the same definition of hibernation, which is why many people say that bears hibernate.

Step 5: 

Have each child choose one animal. Have them research about the animal and its characteristics. Have them draw  or  create the animal using art supplies. 

Step 6:

Have the children share with their friends about the animal that they chose. Have them share if they hibernate or migrate and all common characteristics studied.

Let’s do some math! Graph which animals hibernate and which migrate

Extend this activity: Make a class book with animals that migrate and hibernate.

Playful Questions

What is migration?

What is hibernation?

Why do you think animals need to go through these processes?

What can impede migration and hibernation?

How can humans collaborate in the processes?

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