Our recent family trip to the beach has sparked many conversations about the beautiful creatures of the sea. My daughter has been particularly interested in whales. “Why are they so big?” and “How come they have so much blubber?” are just some of the things she inquired about. That got the teacher mom in me thinking. So I decided to do a practical hands-on activity with the my daughters to demonstrate the crucial role the blubber plays in the life of a whale.
Shopping List for DIY Whale Sensory Bin:
Here are the items you’ll need to do this experiment yourself:
- Safari Whale TOOB
- Large container
- Crisco (vegetable shortening)
We started off our experiment by activating some prior knowledge and reading a book about whales. I was able to explain to the girls that the blubber helps regulate the whale’s body temperatures while they journey across the arctic in frigid temperatures. However, they didn’t fully grasp the concept until they got their hands wet.
Creating Your Safari Ltd Whale Sensory Bin
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
First, fill your container with water and add in your TOOB of Whales. Next, add all the ice to the container. Put your hands in and begin to explore the freezing temperature of the whale habitat. My girls wanted to do this experiment outside, because they said that is where the whales live. The hot climate we live in allowed them to feel the drastic difference in temperature from our habitat to that of the whales. It also kept melting our ice! You may need to refill the ice throughout this activity or do it indoors to minimize this issue.
Once their little fingers were freezing, I told them we were going to pretend to be whales and put “whale costumes” on our hands. They put on gloves lined with Crisco inside. The Crisco represents the thick layer of insulated blubber the whales have. My daughters couldn’t believe the drastic difference in the water temperature. They wanted to keep adding Crisco and see how warm they could get their hands.
This experiment was great on so many levels. All the questions my daughter had were answered and it lead to a lot of great conversations about various topics. We discussed how we use our senses, specifically touch during this activity. We were also able to compare and contrast the water with and without our “whale costume” and identify other animals that use blubber to keep warm.
This is the perfect easy and educational activity to do on any type of a day. It would make a great water activity for a hot summer day or fun entertainment for a long rainy afternoon inside. Moms and teachers everywhere can make learning fun with this activity.
About the Author
Ariannie Machado is a certified Elementary Education teacher with a masters in Special Education and mother of twin toddler girls! Follow along with her on Instagram @ariannie__