Focus on fun as you spotlight one of the season’s favorite animals – the reindeer. Children hear about the famous Rudolph during Christmas and wonder if reindeer can really fly. Teach your students about this animal through reindeer games and other movement activities.
Handprint Reindeer Hats
Prior to the movement games, invite the children to make reindeer hats to wear. Each child needs a strip of heavy-duty brown construction paper for the headband. Make sure it fits the child’s head and staple it closed. Then, trace and cut out two handprints from the brown paper. Staple these in the front of the headband to replica antlers. Glue on a red pom-pom nose and add a set of Googly eyes. Voila, a Rudolph hat!
Doing the Reindeer Romp
Ask the children to imagine that they are a herd of reindeer. Discuss how these animals move – walking, running, leaping, jumping, galloping, prancing and even flying (only Santa knows this). Encourage your little learners to partake in all of these gross-motor movements, except flying of course. Play music (classical or holiday tunes) and have the kids move to the music in an obstacle-free space as you call out specific moves. You can even piggyback the song “Did You Ever See a Lassie" and change the words to emphasize reindeer movements.
Next, talk about how reindeer are hitched together when pulling Santa’s sleigh. They must all move at the same time. Why not attach to a partner and move together? Hold hands with your neighbor and walk, hop, skip, and run together as the teacher gives commands.
Now, form a line of reindeer with pairs of children holding hands. With outside hands (on each side), have the students hold a rope, which reaches from the first child to the last child in line. Try the movements above while all hitched together.
During the long, hard winters, reindeer and caribou move in a variety of ways. Sometimes they trot, sometimes they wheel around to escape a predator, and other times they gingerly lope down hillsides. Ask your students to pretend they are reindeer and make noises that sound like the reindeer hooves clicking as they walk. Try snapping fingers or better yet, tap rhythm sticks together as they move along.
Reindeer Pokey Dance
Do this dance to the tune of “Hokey Pokey"
You put your antlers in. You put your antlers out.
You put your antlers in and you shake them all about.
You do the reindeer pokey and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about. Hey Rudolph!
You put your hooves in…..
You put your tail in…..
You put your red nose in…..
You put your reindeer body in…..
Instead of playing musical chairs, create a musical Rudolph reindeer game. Provide a large red pom-pom to become the reindeer nose in this game. Have the kids sit in a large circle on the floor. Play holiday music, including Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Ask each child to hold the red pom-pom up to his nose and create a big reindeer smile. Then, pass the nose to a neighbor. The child who is wearing or holding the red nose when the music stops is out of the game. Continue playing until there is only one person remaining. This is the winner!
The Reindeer Races
You will need two small boxes wrapped in holiday paper for this game. Divide the class into teams and have them line up in relay race fashion.
To begin, the first player in each line places a small wrapped box on his/her head. Then the player moves across the room (to an end line) and back again balancing the box. He then gives the box to the next player in line. Continue this process until all the students have had a turn. If the box drops, the player must stop and return the box to his/her head and proceed. The team where all players take their turns and finish first can all sit down on the floor. They are then declared the winner.
Take a large cardboard box and cover it in brown wrapping paper. Cut reindeer antlers and attach it to the top of the box. Draw large eyes. In the center of the box (facing you) cut a large hole to represent the nose/mouth.
To play the game, give each player four small carrots to toss at the reindeer box hoping to score inside the hole. Play one player at a time and see who can get the most carrots inside Rudolph’s mouth.
We hope you and your class have enjoyed these reindeer games!
If you want to partake in other reindeer activities, check out these articles on Bright Hub Education:
- Four Reindeer Crafts for Preschool: Celebrating Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Reindeer and Caribou Lesson Plan and Activities for 1st Grade
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Musical Ideas Incorporating the History of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Copycat Magazine, Reindeer Games, Nov/Dec 2002
Reindeer Pokey, https://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/reindeerpokey.htm
Party Magic by Sharon Coker and Maida McCormack, copyright 1989
The Mailbox Magazine, Much Ado About Reindeer, Dec/Jan 1990-99
Photo of Santa’s Reindeer courtesy of pixabay.com
Reindeer hat photo on Pinterest, author unknown
Reindeer with rhythm sticks courtesy of pixabay.com