10 ideas for Arctic Animals and a freebie
Updated: Jul 23, 2021
Several years ago I made units for all of the habitats we study in Kindergarten. They have been a huge hit with the kiddos! I recently decided to redo all of these units updating the Arctic Animals Clipart and adding more of the arctic habitat animals. The 2nd one I have redone is my Arctic Animals Unit. This is one of my very favorite units to teach. I am obsessed with teaching my students all about animals and where they live! The Arctic Habitat is filled with fascinating species of animals that have adapted to the harsh conditions of this polar region. So, which animals live in the Arctic?
The Arctic is the habitat for.....
Arctic Animals List (Land Animals)
Arctic Fox Arctic Wolf
Bearded Seal Musk Oxen
Walrus Arctic Hare
Puffin Husky Dog
Arctic Animals List (Water Animals)
Blue Whales Seals
Arctic Animals List (Sky Animals)
Snowy Owls Arctic Skua
Bald Eagle Woolly bear Moth
I start this Arctic Animals unit by introducing the Arctic Habitat facts and common vocabulary. I like to hang up the picture of the Arctic Habitat or project it from the computer onto the screen. I used to take the pictures and make an anchor chart which was great but my current school has giant view boards that make my trusty anchor charts obsolete. Either way the pictures included make for excellent engagement and conversation about what the arctic animals habitat is truly like. I also usually show a fact video from youtubekids.com to increase interest and start to get those brains wondering more about which animals live in the Arctic and the Arctic Habitat.
Once we have gone through the Arctic Habitat I begin to introduce the Arctic Animals that live there. I cut out the Arctic Animals pictures and place them around the drawing of the Arctic Habitat on a large sheet of construction paper to display in my classroom for the duration of the Arctic Animals Unit. This way the children can become familiar with the Arctic Animals and use them in writing activities. I also provide these in black and white for a student project that I will explain later in this post.
These small Arctic Animals cards can also be used for some other hands on activities:
1. I have printed out 2 sets on cardstock, laminated them and given them to the students for memory during centers.
2. One of my Pre-K co-workers has taken the Arctic Animals cards and placed them in a sensory bin with animals from the Desert Animals pack. The kids have laminated copies of the Arctic habitat and Desert habitat pictures and they then sort the pictures placing them in the correct habitat. (water beads would be fun in this sensory bin too!)
3. Print out 2 copies of the Arctic Animals cards, laminate and only cut one set out. Place velcro tabs onto the full copy and each animal to create a matching game for a binder or file folder. Great for building vocabulary and fine motor skills!
4. Use these Arctic Animals cards with Arctic Animals photographs to match the drawing to the real life photos.
One of my most favorite activities to do with kiddos is the Arctic Animals read the room. This activity allows movement, cooperative learning, vocabulary building and many other important skills. There are 2 recording options so you can differentiate for your kiddos learning levels. You could also give them a dry erase board and allow them to go around and write an arctic animals list without having to use a recording sheet and without the matching part of the activity. The large color cards will last for years once laminated and provide a rich learning experience. The kids just love using their clipboards to go around the room to find the Arctic Animals names. I have one kinder this year who likes to go look at the word then turn around and try to remember how to spell it without looking, it is super cute!
As we discuss each Arctic habitat animal I choose the ones that the kiddos are most responsive to as the main focus for our future lessons. I choose several Arctic Animals labeling pages for the class to complete and print out the fact books. Once we have completed some labeling to display throughout the room we will begin making our fact books. Depending on your class these can be made in a center or as a whole group. I have tried it in the classroom as a cut and paste in a center and as a whole group writing activity. Both ways work well but I prefer the cut and paste Arctic Animals fact booklets so my lower level students don't get behind with all of the writing. I have also found that less is more in these books. I only give my students one Arctic animal each time they visit the center so that they do not become overwhelmed with too many pieces and get them all mixed up. They have so much fun making these books together in groups and talking about the different Arctic Animals! I love to see their interest sparked!
While this arctic animals clipart is super cute and engaging there is no replacing actual photographs of the arctic habitat and the arctic animals. The class enjoys seeing real life pictures of the arctic animals and the arctic habitat. Just like the drawings I will print out the photographs to display in the classroom or use my view board to show them. I have also used these arctic animals photographs as read the room cards, they can still work well with the included recording sheets having the kiddos match the true pictures with the drawings.
I like to end my arctic habitat unit with the graphic organizers. We will have filled out the first part of the K,W,L chart earlier in the unit and then finish it up towards the end. I use the venn diagram to compare/contrast 2 of the arctic animals and even to compare and contrast the arctic habitat against another one of the habitats we have studied. Here is an example from my Desert Habitat Unit: (click on the picture to view that unit as well)
We have quite a lot of fun learning about arctic animals in our classroom. The classes love the arctic animals coloring pages that you will find for free below. In addition to these activities there are several other Arctic animals activities we do each year that the kiddos love!
Make and feel Blubber: Several of the Arctic Animals have blubber to keep them warm in their unforgiving Arctic Habitat. Exploring how blubber keeps them warm is a super fun activity! Fill a large bucket with water and ice. Take a gallon baggie and fill it with crisco vegetable shortening, place another gallon bag inside keeping the crisco in between the 2 bags. Allow the children to put one hand in the freezing water and the other in the "blubber" to feel the difference.
Directed Drawings: Choose the animal your kiddos respond the most to complete these arctic animal crafts. Since the Arctic is arctic wolf habitat and habitat for arctic fox I often choose these 2 for my directed drawing. Lead the class through a directed drawing that you create or there are several great artists on youtube.com that lead directed drawings for kids. (Preview videos first to make sure they are appropriate.)
Salt Painting: Photocopy an outline drawing of one of the arctic animals. Have the kiddos trace the outline with glue and sprinkle salt on while it is still wet. Once dry use watercolors to add small amounts of paint to the salt and watch it spread, it is very cool! This is one of my favorite arctic animal crafts!
Pretend Play: This has taken me a few years to build up the supplies for but my kiddos absolutely love it! Gather plastic toys of the arctic animals, create an ocean with a blue plastic tablecloth, reusable ice cubes and confetti snowflakes. Place reusable ice cubes and items as icebergs onto the "ocean" and allow the children to play with the items. They can make observations on their dry erase board, match picture cards to the animals or just play! All of these items with the exception of the animal models were found at the dollar store. (water beads in a sensory bin would be fun for this activity too!)
Free Art Center: Use the black and white copies of the arctic animals and arctic habitat picture to allow the kiddos to create their own arctic scene. Have blue paper, white paper, scissors, markers, glue etc. Allow the kiddos to cut, glue and create however they may like. They can also label each piece they make and animal they draw.
Class Book: Have each child choose their favorite arctic animals and draw a picture of it. They can then write about why this animal is their favorite. The included writing page is perfect for this activity. These drawings can then be compiled into an Arctic Animals class book and placed into the library for everyone to enjoy. The cover for the arctic animals coloring pages would be perfect as a cover for your class book.
Measure me: Use the average height of each animal and label that height on the wall. I like to use the read the room cards for this. Once the heights are all labeled the kiddos can measure their height against the growth chart. Then you can discuss how short/tall each animal is compared to you and your kiddos.
Movement Activities: Take some time to act like the animals either just on your own or with videos like the Jack Hartmann Penguin Dance. There are several videos I show each year especially the National Geographic Kids video that shows the penguins tobogganing. The kiddos love to try to toboggan! It is one of my kids all time favorites each year!
Temperature Check: If you have student thermometers you can easily compare temperatures using water ad ice. Talk about the different temperatures within the habitat and where you live. Have cups of water at different temperatures to have the kids measure the temperature and compare/contrast to where you are or other habitats.
Arctic Animals Day: Have a pajama day at the end of your unit where the kids can come in their pajamas and their winter wear (hats, gloves, etc.). This day is when I plan to do some of the fun activities already listed. Enjoy some winter treats like hot chocolate with marshmallow icebergs. This would be a great day to do your arctic animal crafts and your arctic animals coloring pages.
I hope you have enjoyed this Arctic Animals blog post and all of the ideas you can use in your classroom. Get all of the activity printables in my TpT store by clicking on any of the pictures.
Don't forget to scroll all the way down for your arctic animals coloring pages freebie!
The good news is if you already own any of my habitat units you will be able to download the updates for FREE!!!! If you do not already own them head on over to my TpT store now to get them for less than when all of the updated files are complete and they become full price.
I would love to hear from you and see the ways you are using my materials in your classroom! I would be so excited for you to join me here on my blog, facebook, instagram and my TpT store! Use the social media buttons at the top of this page and the member sign up to join and keep up with my latest blog posts!
You may also like the anchor charts that go with my habitat units, these are also in the process of being updated so get them while they are cheap!
FREE Arctic Animals Coloring Pages
Til Next Time,