Winter Carnival!

Winter Carnival! lesson plan

Celebrate winter with sled dog races, ice carving, curling-and polar bear swims! Capture fun at frosty festivities in Canada and the northern United States.

  • 1.

    How cold does winter get where you live? When Canadians say cold weather, they mean temperatures such as those in Alberta, which often drop to 5ºF (-15ºC). In the Northwest Territories, the thermometer often goes down to -14ºF (-26ºC), and temperatures rise above freezing only in June, July, and August.

  • 2.

    What would you do if you lived when winter lasts 5 or 6 months? Many cities in North America hold Winter Carnivals to embrace the weather. At these carnivals, you'll find a variety of activities that are only possible when the temperature drops below freezing. Some are traditional, such as sled dog races, ice-carving competitions, cross-country ski competitions and ice skating parades. Others are unique.

  • 3.

    Learn more about the events and activities at various winter carnivals around the North America. What weather conditions are essential for their success? How do people dress?

  • 4.

    At Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada, the Rideau Canal becomes a 4 1/2 mile (7.2 km) skating rink. In Sault Ste Marie's Bon Soo Winter there are Bum Slides, giant snow chutes for sliding down on your... (you guessed it). Quebec's winter carnival has a mascot called Bonhomme, a living snowman who roams the festival. Across Canada and into Minnesota, curling and broomball tournaments are held.

  • 5.

    Now imagine what events YOU would try at a winter carnival. Would you be in the polar bear swim where hearty people jump into ice-cleared water for a refreshing dip? Are you brave enough to try the Bum Slide? Strong enough to carve ice with a chain saw?

  • 6.

    On black construction paper, draw several winter carnival activities with Crayola® Construction Paper Crayons. Come up with at least one of your own ice or snow inventions.

  • 7.

    Cover your art area with newspaper. Using a Crayola Paint Brush with stiff bristles, flick splatters of white Crayola Washable Paint on your drawing to add a snowy effect. Air dry flat.

  • 8.

    If you want to make a class Winter Carnival collage or parade, cut out your activities with Crayola Scissors. Glue them together on roll paper using a Crayola Glue Stick to display.


  • Students learn about outdoor winter activities, including sports and the arts.
  • Students gather information about weather conditions and winter carnivals in Canada and/or the United States.
  • Students visually depict their findings, and invent other winter activities, in an imaginary winter carnival scene.


  • Choose a winter carnival activity for more in-depth science research. How cold must it be to make ice sculptures? How is the ice cleared away for the Polar Bear Swim? How are sled dogs trained? Present your findings visually and orally.
  • Plan and put on your own Winter Carnival. What events are suitable in your climate? Or how can you pretend it's cold enough?
  • Find a weather pen pal on the Internet who lives in a place with weather that's very different from yours. Keep a temperature log and share your findings with your weather mate.