Things to Know
Reindeer and Caribou are the members of the deer species. Reindeer are smaller than
caribou. The reindeer is a medium-sized member of the deer family.
The reindeer is about 4 feet (1.2 m) tall at the shoulder and is
about 6 feet (1.8 m) long. Reindeer have fat thick bodies and short
legs. Reindeer are strong runners and very good swimmers. They can
run 14 to 16 miles per hour.
Reindeer can be found in the Arctic tundra, forests, and mountains in
Russia, Northern China, Canada, Alaska, and Scandinavia. It is very
cold where they live. They are very well adapted for the harsh arctic
tundra where they migrate great distances each year. Arctic ouline map.
Reindeer were domesticated in northern Eurasia about 2,000 years ago.
Today, they are herded by many Arctic peoples in Europe and Asia
including the Sami in Scandinavia and the Nenets, Chukchi and others
in Russia. Reindeer owners cut a notch in the ears to tell who the
reindeer belongs to. They depend on the reindeer for
food, clothing and shelter. Some Nenets even keep reindeer for pets!
Every reindeer both bulls (males) and cows (females) have antlers.
They grow a new set of antlers every year. Reindeer have very wide,
splayed hooves which enables the reindeer to spread weight on soft
snow to prevent them from sinking.
Reindeer have a short, dark summer coat and a thick, lighter colored
winter coat. Reindeer have white tails and necks. They have
unique hairs which trap air providing them with excellent insulation
and helps the them float in water. They are very strong swimmers
and can move across wide rushing rivers and even the frozen ice of
the Arctic Ocean!
The reindeer is an herbivore (a plant-eater). During the winter,
reindeer paw through the snow to find lichens and moss to eat. In
warmer months, they also eat leaves and herbs.
Lichens color page
*Things to Do
Reindeer Puzzle Pin
Need: 3 small puzzle pieces , brown paint, 1 tiny red pom pom, googly
eyes, pin back, glue (tacky or hot)
Paint all three puzzle pieces with brown paint. Let dry. One piece is
the face, the other 2 glued behind like antlers. Glue one of the
"antlers" to the back of the "face. The
"antlers" overlap only slightly and the "antler"
should be on an angle out from the "face." Glue googly eyes
at the top of the face, close together. Glue red pom pom nose at the
bottom of the face for a nose. Glue pin back to the back of the reindeer.
Reindeer Paper Bag Puppet
Need: small brown paper lunch bags(one per child), glue, scissors,
crayons or felt markers, construction paper (brown, red, and white),
red pom poms (if desired).
Have the children trace their hand (to the wrist) twice on brown
construction paper . Cut out the hand shapes. Glue the hand shapes to
onto the paper bag (at the top corners of the fold over part.).
On the fold over part of the paper bag add facial features. Eyes
(white paper) remember to draw onto the eyes black pupils. The nose
(red paper or red pom poms) is a red circle.
Need: 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup butterscotch
chips, 3 oz can chow mein noodles, 12 maraschino cherries (halved)
Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in a medium saucepan
over low heat, stirring occasionally ( or melt in a microwave).
Remove the pan from heat. Stir in chow mein noodles.
On wax paper drop about 1 tablespoon of the mixture in a v-shape to
resemble antlers. Press a cherry half at the bottom point of the v-shape.
Chill cookies on the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until cookies
Need: curled pretzels, straight stick pretzels, wax paper, m&m's,
red hots, melted white chocolate.
Lay curled pretzels (heart shaped) on wax paper. Fill open areas with
melted white chocolate. Put two matching M&M's (for eyes) in two
largest filled areas. Put one red hot in smallest filled area (for
Rudolph's nose). Break straight stick pretzels in half and insert at
a slant above eyes to form antlers.
*Sites to See
Rudolph Mini book to print (pdf)
Santa's Winterfarm Towers
Jan Brett's Reindeer Towers and Reindeer Ornaments color pages
with Lichens in Lichenland
Learn and explore what lichens are at this Oregon University site.
Geographics Nenet Reindeer Herders Of Siberia
Reindeer color page
Six Little Reindeer
Six Little Reindeer Mini Book-9 pages.
Bonus Features: Ordinal number worksheet. Santa and reindeer ordinal postions cut/paste.
Ages: K-1 Learn more ›
Click here to include your favorite Reindeer activity in this theme!