Polar Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts projects can complement the science and literacy activities in your polar festival. Creative projects engage students and promote multiple means of expression. The projects could be paired with a science or literacy activity, or they could be used as an independent festival activity. Students could also complete some projects in advance and display their work at the festival.

We’ve included art projects and hands-on craft activities for the same topics as our science lessons: Polar Geography; Seasons, Weather, and Climate; Glaciers, Ice, and Snow; the Aurora; Polar Animals; and Peoples of the Arctic.


Salt Dough Maps
Groups of students create maps of the Arctic or Antarctica using salt dough. Making the maps is fairly time consuming – make sure to allot enough time for this activity! The maps could be made during the festival or made prior to the festival and displayed during the event. If time is an issue, paper maps of the Arctic and Antarctica could be colored or labeled instead.

Tortilla Map
In this lesson, students create a three-dimensional map of Antarctica using a tortilla and dough. (Scroll down to the bottom of the web page to find this lesson.)


Snowy Painting
Paint a snow-covered landscape with homemade puffy “paint.”


Make snowflakes by cutting and gluing together paper-towel rolls.

Paper Snowflakes
Fold and cut six-sided snowflakes.

Real Crystal Snowflakes
Make crystal snowflakes from borax. The “snowflakes” must sit overnight for the crystals to form.

Ice Cube Painting
Use an ice cube and powdered Kool-Aid or tempera paints to make designs.


The Aurora: Inspiration for Art and Poetry Integration
This article from the May 2008 issue of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears includes links to video clips of the aurora, nonfiction articles for students, and several art projects that could be used as a festival activity.

Northern Lights Drawings
Make sparkling drawings of the northern (or southern) lights.


Polar Bears

Polar Bear Craft
Cut out a paper polar bear and decorate it with cotton balls, packing noodles, or tissue paper. Suitable for the primary grades.

Polar Bear Puppet
Make a polar bear puppet from simple materials.


Penguin Paper Craft
Paper penguin created with a template. Suitable for primary students.

3-D Penguin
Make a three-dimensional penguin with two foam cups.

Penguin Light Bulb
Create a three-dimensional penguin from a burned-out light bulb. Best for older students with adult supervision.


Inuit Activities
This site contains Inuit recipes from Shishmaref, Alaska, as well as links to several art projects: spirit masks, finger masks, scrimshaw, goggles, sculptures, and soap carvings.

Inuksuk Stone Statues
In this activity, students explore an ancient form of communication used by the Inuit people of Northern Canada.

This article was written by Jessica Fries-Gaither. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Kimberly Lightle, Principal Investigator, with any questions about the content of this site.

Copyright November 2008 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

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