Who said you couldn’t have fun in December and hit standards?!? A tradition I have in December is making reindeer food. We spend a week learning about reindeer/caribous. So why not bring a little magic into learning?!?
The night before I prep all items into a shipping box and place it in the freezer.
Our elf leaves a note in our Morning Message that he brought a package from Santa and we must open it immediately!
1. First, we examine the box.
2. We read for clues (labels I hot glued onto the box).
3. We pass the box around. I leave the box in the freezer and just before school starts put it under the tree. That way it feels like it came from the North Pole!
4. Then after we discuss what we think is inside the box and try guessing using clues.
5. I open the box and take out a note from Santa.
(I tie a ribbon around the note).
6. I read the note out loud to the kids at the carpet and then take all the ingredients out.
The excitement is contagious!
Have an Elf in the classroom? I included an additional letter that you could use! =)
Ingredients and Materials
- Love (red sprinkles)
- Magic Dust (green sprinkles or brown sugar. I don’t use sparkles because it is not good for wildlife)
- Zip loc bags (snack or sandwich sizes: Either works)
- Hot glue sticks/gun (helps to keep the labels on with round bottles)
- Laminating sheets (I laminate the labels so I can reuse the containers each year)
- Optional: ribbon (used to put around Santa’s letter)
I have 4 tables and I prefer to have 4 of everything to eliminate dead time between ingredients, but you could definitely get away with one of each item.
I begin with reindeer food (oats) and zip loc baggies. I have the kids put their reindeer food immediately in their book-bags after this activity. I would suggest writing names on the bags with sharpies.
I let the kids scoop 1 cup into their bags. (Pictures courtesy Chickadees & Bumblebees LLC). I LOVE that they put the ingredients in bowl and are able to mix it all together!
Not only does this activity hit Reading, Writing, and Math standards it also encourages team building skills! Not often do we get to teach and practice social and emotional skills such as sharing, patience, and working together! Another reason why I LOVE this hands-on writing project! <3
Then I say we need magic dust (I use brown sugar), BUT you could use green sprinkles or holiday sprinkles.
We use a dab of Magic. I say it doesn’t take much magic for the reindeer to find the food! We are practicing listening skills and paying attention!
Last, we need some LOVE! We have a TON of love in this classroom!
I have the students close their eyes (holding the bottle) and think of how much they LOVE reindeer! Then they sprinkle in the love!
After all ingredients are in the their zip loc bag, we put the reindeer food label into their bag and close it.
Now I have students meet with their shoulder partner (for a Turn and Talk) to retell in order how they made their reindeer food using details! This a great strategy to use to process new information while engaging in conversation with their partners. I limit this discussion to 2-3 minutes to be most productive. Before the discussion, I remind them of the book “Olive the Other reindeer” (that we read earlier in the day) and how we retold the story. I emphasize the importance of details and order of events. I refer back to the Anchor Chart.
Then we end the writing with a reindeer craft! You can see in this picture the writing sheet is for more independent writers. I have other recording sheets for emergent writers. I encourage the use of invented spelling.
If your kiddos are not writing yet, I have tracing version included.
Students also illustrate and color the pictures.
If you would like to grab the labels, writing, and craft click here!
Have a GREAT rest of your week! Much LOVE!