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Arctic Animals: Reindeer and Caribou Activities

written by: Willa • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/17/2012

This is the fourth lesson of the series on Arctic Animals. Focusing on the reindeer and caribou, this lesson consists of age appropriate information and activities that include phonics, math and vocabulary. This series may be used for K-1st grade children.

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    Is it a Reindeer or a Caribou?

    In this part of the Arctic Animal series, we meet the reindeer and the caribou, members of the deer family. They are very similar, but the reindeer are smaller than the caribou and are domesticated. People use them to work, pull sleds or even have them as pets. The caribou are large and wild. They are created to adapt to the severe winters of the arctic tundra and migrate, or travel, great distances each year.

    Review the map of the vast arctic region. Their huge antlers help to protect them. Both the reindeer and the caribou are good swimmers. Their coat is specially made to shed water and snow, but also insulates them from the harsh climate. Read the book, If You Want to See a Caribou, by Phyllis Root. This artful and informative story prepares the children for activities planned for the day.

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    Art Activity

    The activity is a reindeer or caribou stick puppet. These are the items needed for the project:

    • Brown construction paper.
    • Black pompoms.
    • Wiggly eyes.
    • Large craft sticks.
    • Glue.

    Have each child trace one footprint and two hand prints, spreading their fingers. The foot will be the face of the deer or caribou and the hands will be the antlers. Allow each child to choose to make either the deer or caribou. Remind them that both are similar, except the body of the caribou is larger than the reindeer. After the pompom nose is glued and the wiggly eyes are in place, have them glue the "antlers". Glue the project on the craft stick and allow to dry.

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    Math Activity

    The class will play this interactive game of bingo, using regular bingo cards. Cut from card stock, "deer foot prints" for the game pieces. Use flashcards to review any math the children are learning, such as number recognition or addition.

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    Phonics Activity

    The letter "R" will be used to review words that begin with "r". Teach the children to count syllables by clapping for each syllable in a word. Stress the new words that have been learned throughout this series on arctic animals. Review and clap to the syllables in these words: antlers, caribou, tundra, walrus, blubber, hibernate and migrate.

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    Suggested Reading

    Caribou of the Arctic (Brr! Polar Animals) by Sara Swan Miller

    A Caribou Alphabet by Mary Beth Owens

    Caribou Girl by Claire Rudolf Murphy

    If You Want to See a Caribou by Phyllis Root

Arctic Animals Unit, Part 1

This is a series of lesson for K-1st grade on various animals of the Arctic region. Each lesson focuses on how these animals are specially created to survive the harsh polar winters. Included are phonics, math and hands-on activities.
  1. An Arctic Animal Unit: Animals of the Polar Region
  2. Learning About the Polar Bear's Blubber: Kindergarten Arctic Animals Lesson
  3. Arctic Animals: The Walrus Lesson and Activities for Kindergarten
  4. Arctic Animals: Reindeer and Caribou Activities
  5. Arctic Animals: Puffins Activities