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Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears Activity for Kids

Bringing Jan Brett's The Three Snow Bears to life

Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears is one of the books I wrapped up for our Christmas Book Advent Calendar, so I thought it would be fun to create an activity to go along with it.


This book is special for me, because a lot of the drawings look like photos my grandfather (that’s him in the photo above) took when he worked for Boy Scouts of America in the 1950s. My grandpa was in charge of the troops in much of Alaska, and many of those troops were made up of Alaska Natives, so he got to know them well. Jan Brett used similar native groups from Canada – the Inuit – as inspiration for her book’s illustrations.

Baby Polar bears in Alaska in the 1950s

Grandpa’s photos even include some “snow bears” he met while visiting Alaskan Natives! These first two photos are in the summertime, but Alaska is a very snowy place – as you can tell in this photo featuring my grandma!

Alaska snow

Grandpa’s photos include images of sled dogs, just like the ones Aloo-ki loses:

sled dogs in Alaska in the 1950s

This photo reminds me of the drawing of Aloo-ki’s dogs waiting for her after they are rescued by the very kind snow bears!

Sled dogs resting

Aloo-ki is out doing some ice fishing – another activity my grandpa photographed:


For our activity, I showed my kids these photos (which I only recently got copies of) and printed images of snow bears off Jan Brett’s wonderful activity page for this book. I thought about drawing my own bears, but why do that when an incredible illustrator has provided resources?

Three Snow Bears Activity

Jan Brett’s Snow Bears are dressed in beautiful Inuit clothing. I printed Mama, Papa, and Baby bears from Jan Brett’s sheets of small size bears and gave them to the kids so that they could design some outfits for their bears.

For whatever reason, Jan Brett’s PDF file is not a standard paper size, so some of the bears were cut off. This wasn’t a problem for us since it printed more bears than we needed anyway, but if you are prepping for a larger group of children you might want to do some reformatting before printing.

Three Snow Bears decorated by a six-year-old boy

Eight-year-old Emma’s baby bear is featured at the top of this post. She is still working on her other bears. Six-year-old Johnny’s bears are above, and you can find five-year-old Lily’s bears below:

Three Snow Bears decorated by a kindergartner

Each child decorated and cut out their own bears. Even two-year-old Anna enjoyed this activity:

Jan Brett's Three Snow Bears decorated by a two-year-old

How would you dress your snow bears? You can also make your kids some felt board bears to dress up as an activity for this book! This polar bear winter art project for kids pairs beautifully with the book as well!

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

8 thoughts on “Jan Brett’s The Three Snow Bears Activity for Kids”

  1. I love that you have a such a personal connection to this picture book! How cool that your grandparents lived in Alaska and that your grandfather ran the Boy Scouts!!

  2. Your work to help children make connections and express their experience is so powerful. When done in the multi-age family group, children learn how to be themselves, contributing to the work in whatever way they can. So glad you take the opportunity to share with all of us.

  3. Very impressive that your Grandpa was in charge of Boy Scouts in Alaska – what a hearty and resourceful ancestor to have! Love the photos!! What a wonderful accompaniment to the book.

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