The Indian in the Cupboard Activities

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This lesson provides you with activity ideas for the book The Indian in the Cupboard that assess important elements your students need to know. Use for post or during-reading for children on all levels.

Why Do Activities When Reading?

Children are naturally curious about their world and are eager to learn new things, especially when there's a connection to their personal lives. When reading stories about other children, students become enmeshed in the world of the characters, imagining the fantasy world as it evolves in print.

One of the great things about the novel The Indian in the Cupboard is the vast amount of cross-curricular activities and lessons you can incorporate. Concepts like Native Americans, magic, moral choices, and friendship are natural go-to items. Incorporate learning elements your students need to know like plot, characters, and setting into activities. Take a look.

Build Vocabulary

One element vital to understanding what is read is knowing what tough words mean. How can you keep your students on top of vocabulary throughout the novel? These fun activities will do the trick.

  • Vocabulary Twister

Played just like the real twister game, your students will enjoy getting active while learning key vocabulary terms. Set up the game by creating task cards for each vocabulary word used, and tape these to the colored circles on the twister board. Double-sided tape works well and makes things easy to remove.

Instead of using a spinner you'll place the definitions into a bowl or other container, then pull them out one by one and have students place hands or feet on the word to match. Let's say you have three students playing. One chooses right or left foot or hand, then pulls out a definition. Students must first find the correct word, then make the movement.

  • Roll -a-Task

This fun group activity can be adapted for any vocabulary exercise. You'll need vocabulary words on task cards, a dice, and an activity key. Create the key by assigning the numbers 1-6 an activity, such as acting out the word or drawing a picture. Other ideas include:

  • Play hangman
  • Give 5 clues
  • Give a synonym
  • Give an antonym
  • Use the word in a sentence, saying ''blank'' instead of the word.

Students play by taking turns pulling a task card, then rolling the dice. They then find the activity they need to do, let's say it's charades, and perform it while the other students take turns guessing the word. The first student to correctly identify the word AND give a definition gets to go next.

Setting Activities

Teach students about where, and how, the Iroquois Indians lived with these activities.

  • Log House

With students, research log houses, the type of structure Little Bear lived in. Have students build a similar structure using craft sticks. You could also have students make a one-dimensional structure using paper cut into the shape of a log house, with doors that open. Place another piece of paper behind and have students write important facts about the Iroquois.

  • London Calling

Omri, the protagonist, lives in London. Study what life is like in this English city. Read about traditions and lifestyle, then compare it to how we live in America. Search for pen pals in London and write to them. Listen to English accents and have students give them a go. Other ideas include:

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