There are so many arctic animal learning activities that it can be hard to choose just a few to include in your arctic theme lesson plans. But why limit yourself? Try all five arctic animal preschool activities in this post!
This post has been updated to include a FREE arctic animal vocabulary printable. Be sure to grab your copy at the end of the post.
Arctic Animal Activities with FREE Printable Word Cards
The longer I teach preschool, the more my preschoolers teach me about arctic animals.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I’m not the master teacher here; my preschoolers are.
I mean, there are always set concepts I feel are important to include in any arctic animals theme, like how they camouflage themselves, how they hunt, how they protect their young, etc.
But every year there seems to be a preschooler in my class who will share a new tidbit of trivia I didn’t know before.
And this tells me one really, really important thing:
Preschoolers are primed and prepared to learn so much more!
So go ahead and pin this page of arctic learning activities.
Good luck choosing which arctic learning activities to add to your lesson plans. I typically just choose them all and let the children show me what activities interest them most.
Arctic Animals Learning Activities for Preschoolers
There isn’t really a reason to pick and choose from this list of arctic animals learning activities. Some fit in just right to your arctic theme preschool centers; some of them work well in small group settings or can be used during circle time.
- free arctic animal matching cards
- Safari Ltd Arctic TOOB (optional)
- Wild Republic Polar in Nature Tube (optional, and remove the penguins)
Recommended Arctic Animal Toys (Optional)
Arctic animal toys are not necessary for using the matching cards, but they add a fun hands-on element These cards are designed to pair with the arctic animal tube sets, if desired.
Here are my favorite arctic animal toys for preschoolers.
Arctic Animal Learning Activities for Preschoolers
There’s nothing I like better than having a single printable that I can use in multiple ways. It saves me space when sorting my printables, but it also makes my thematic lesson planning that much easier.
Be sure to read about all the arctic animal activities you can do with these matching cards.
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #1 – Matching Animals
Print out two copies of the arctic animal matching cards and place them in a pile on a tray. Invite your preschooler to make matches.
Have the cards facing upwards so that your preschooler can see all the animals and sort the duplicates to make matches. This is one of the first steps in teaching visual discrimination, which is an important pre-reading skill.
Encourage your preschoolers to say the names of the animals as they match them, too.
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #2 – Describing Arctic Animals
You can also use the cards to develop oral language skills by inviting your preschoolers to talk about what they see in the picture cards. Encourage them to name physical characteristics about each animal.
If your preschooler gets stuck and isn’t sure what to say when trying to describe the animals, help them by asking questions.
- Where does your animal live? (water or land)
- What color is the animal?
- What might this animal eat?
- Does this animal have fur?
- How does it stay warm?
- Does this animal live in groups, or does it like to live by itself?
Preschoolers may not know the answers to these questions right away, but this is a good way to start teaching preschoolers about the different characteristics of animals who live in the arctic.
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #3 – Arctic Animals Riddles
This activity is especially fun for circle time.
Lay out the arctic animal cards for your preschoolers to see or put them in a pocket chart. Secretly choose one of the animal cards and give your preschoolers clues about the animal. See if they can guess correctly based on the clues given.
These riddles are not written out on the cards; they are just clues you can make up on the spot.
- Which animal has antlers?
- Which animal has a fluffy tail?
- Which animal hibernates underground?
- Which animal has long tusks?
Of course, you always have the option to start with a really broad clue and then give more specific clues. This is always fun for the preschoolers.
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #4 – Matching Animal Names
You may have noticed that these matching cards are designed like Montessori nomenclature cards.
For an added literacy element, print two copies of the cards and cut the names off of the second copy. Then invite your preschooler to select a card and find both the matching pieces.
These are also called “3-part cards.” You can read this article to find out more about how nomenclature cards can be used with preschoolers. In Montessori practices, there’s a very specific routine that I sometimes like to add to my teaching strategies.
>>> What are Montessori 3-Part Nomenclature Cards? <<<
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #5 – Concentration
If you make two printouts of these cards, you can also play concentration games. Simply cut out both sets of cards, mix them up, and lay them on the table face down. Then take turns flipping over two cards at a time to see if they match.
Concentration (or Memory–the game can be called either name) is very appropriate for developing preschool critical thinking skills.
Even toddlers can play memory games! Try starting with fewer matching sets, like 3-4 sets at a time, or just leave all the cards face up in rows and ask your toddlers to take turns finding matches.
Arctic Animals Learning Activity #6 – Go Fish
Another easy game to play with these cards is Go Fish. Print out four copies of the cards, cut them out, and mix them up. Divide the cards equally among all players and then play a typical game of Go Fish.
Grab Your Free Arctic Animal Vocabulary Cards Here
Think you can use these cards while doing an arctic theme in your classroom? Grab your own copy by clicking the image below, and then don’t forget to try out all the extra ways to use these cards, too!
- Free arctic animal printable
- heavy card stock
- laminator (optional)
- arctic animal toys (optional)
- Download the free printable included in the post.
- Print on heavy card stock.
- Laminate for added durability (optional).
- Cut apart the cards.
Activities Using Free Arctic Animal Matching Cards
- Matching Animals - Print out two copies and invite your preschooler to make matches while the cards are face-up on the table.
- Describing Arctic Animals - Have your preschooler select a card and describe the animal. If your preschooler struggles for details, ask prompting questions.
- Arctic Animal Riddles - Lay out the matching cards for everyone to see. Secretly select an animal and then give clues about the animal for your preschooler to guess.
- Matching Animal Names - Print out two copies of the cards and cut apart. Cut off the names from one set of the animal cards. Have your preschooler then match both the animal and its name.
- Play Concentration - Print two copies of these cards and play a traditional game of Concentration or Memory.
- Play Go Fish - Print two copies of these cards and play a game of Go Fish.
Please read the post 5+ ARCTIC ANIMAL ACTIVITIES & FREE ARCTIC ANIMAL CARDS for specific details on how each activity might need to be prepped slightly differently. Some activities require cutting off the animals names, while others do not.
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I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.