Arctic Puffins for Primary Students

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Circle time: Puffins, Arctic Birds

The final lesson in the series of arctic animals will focus on the puffin. Explain to the children that it is similar to the penguin, but the puffin lives in North America, while the penguin lives in Antarctica. The puffins are only ten inches tall, about the size of a quart of milk. Their diet is mostly small fish, which they can carry as many as 10 in their beak. Puffins are great swimmers, using their feet as rudders and wings to “fly” under water. Also, these birds fly through the air at 45 to 55 miles per hour. For protection, the puffins will use their special beak and feet to dig, or “burrow” into the dirt between rocks. Their body is covered with waterproofed feathers, which allows them to spend months at sea. Puffins usually live to be 20 years old. The National Audubon Society and Project Puffin is where some of this information was found. Read the book, There Once Was a Puffin, by Florence Page.

Activity: Paper Bag Puffin

This is a creative way for each child to make their own puffin. These are the items needed:

Lunch paper bag


Black crayons

White construction paper

Orange construction paper

Black construction paper

Wiggly eyes



The teacher will assist each child, as they stuff the bag with newspaper and fold over the top to be stapled. Each child should color the body of the puffin with a black crayon and glue on the pre-cut white oval for the belly and pre-cut black wings. The children will glue on the wiggly eyes and pre-cut orange beaks and feet.

Phonics: Rhyming Words

Have the children form a circle to interact, as they sing a song to the tune of the “Muffin Man”. Sing " Do you know the puffin bird, the puffin bird, the puffin bird? Do you know the puffin bird? Do you know a rhyming word?" The teacher says a word, then the child says a word that rhymes, until everyone has had a turn.

Suggested reading:

Puffins Homecoming: The Story of an Atlantic Puffin, by Darice Bailer

There Once Was a Puffin, Florence Page

The Puffins are Back, by Gail Gibbons

Puffins Climb, Penquins Rhyme, by Bruce McMillan

This post is part of the series: 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