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Camels: One Hump or Two?

Updated on November 28, 2016

Camel Unit Study

Camels traveled across the desert to Bethlehem. The Three Wisemen ride on camels and hanging off the sides of the camels backs are gifts for the newborn child. There are two kinds of camels that live in two different kinds of deserts. The Bactrian Camels of Mongolia live in the cold, dry Gobi Desert. These are the camels with two humps. Dromedary Camels are the camels that live in the hot deserts of Arabia. Dromedary Camels have just one hump.

This unit study will contrast and compare Dromedary and Bactrian camels through fun, creative, hands-on learning activities. Read, write and listen to stories about camels. Measure the height of a camel and count their humps. Learn about desert habitats and the people that live with camels. Do art projects, sing songs and play camel related games.

Come learn with the Ships of the Desert...

Photo Credit: Camels

In the Public Domain

Caravan of Camel Facts

camel carava
camel carava | Source

Caravan Camel Facts Bulletin Board

  1. When we begin our unit study about camels I collect as many books as possible about camels, deserts, countries in which camels live and fictional tales of camels.
  2. Then I gather the children around me for a brainstorming session to see what we know about camels as well as what we would like to know.
  3. I write these facts and questions on cut out paper camels.
  4. Camel facts are posted on the bulletin board. These camels form the Camel Caravan of Facts.
  5. The camels with unanswered questions wait in the Question Corral near the bottom of the Bulletin Board waiting for answers in order to join the caravan.

Camel Reading Nook - Plush Camel Reading Buddies

Cozy Yurt for Reading about Camels
Cozy Yurt for Reading about Camels | Source

Camel Caravan Reading Nook

  1. Set up a desert tent or yurt with a rug on the floor, plenty of pillows, a wide variety of camel related books and some soft plush camels to read to.
  2. Children choose a book and a camel and settle down to read.

The best way to help children learn to read is to give them time and space to read. Read about camels every day and don't forget to share the knowledge you have learned from reading about the camels of the desert.

Camel Letters

Discover the letters in Camel Humps
Discover the letters in Camel Humps | Source

B is for Bactrian D is for Dromedary

What a fun project! When we were learning about camels we made a Dromedary camel like the one below with the capital letter D on it and then made a Bactraian camel, the one with two humps, and put the capital letter B on it. That way we learned the names of the two different kinds of camels while practicing writing b's and d's.

Later we took paper cut in the shape of sacks and wrote words that began with b or d on them to show what the camels were carrying in order to associate the letters with the sounds while discussing the ways that camels were used on the Silk Route to transport goods.

Bedoin on a Camel

Bedoin on a Camel
Bedoin on a Camel | Source

Create a Cardboard Camel

Make your own Cardboard Camels

Venn Graph Comparing Bactrian and Dromedary Camels

Bactrian and Dromedary Camels
Bactrian and Dromedary Camels | Source

How many syllables in a Camel?

Humped Camels
Humped Camels | Source

Learning Syllables with One and Two Humped Camels

  1. To practice listening for the number of syllables in camel related words you can take out one and two humped plush camels.
  2. Then ask the children to think of words related to camels.
  3. Write these words on index cards
  4. Ask the children to listen to the number of syllables and place the word next to the camel with the same number of humps as the word has syllables.

Can you think of any camel related words to add?

Camel Poetry - Poetry for the Camel Hump Unit Study

Camels Caravan
Camels Caravan | Source

Camels in Poetry

Today we begin an exploration of poetry with a camel theme.

  1. We first read several poems about camels and then begin to discuss what each of the poems have in common as well as their differences.
  2. We make a list of words that we might like to use when writing our own camel poems.
  3. Then the children split off to write their own poems.

Camels are Adapted to Life in the Desert

Camels are Adapted for Life in the Desert

In the above video we learn how Dromedary Camels are adapted to life in the desert. Camels are the only large animal able to survive in the hot, dry, dusty environment of the desert.

  1. Camels can survive up to 8 days in temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius or 122 degrees Fahrenheit without eating or drinking.
  2. Camels can drink up to a third of their body weight in water in as little as ten minutes. Some camels can drink 130 liters or 34 gallons at a time.
  3. Camels store up to 40 kilograms or 88 pounds of fat in their humps allowing them to travel in the desert for days without eating.
  4. Camel's lips, teeth and stomachs are able to digest the sharp thorny plants that live in the desert.
  5. The eyelids protect the camel from dust and grains of sand that blow across the desert forming dust storms. Their eyelids are transparent allowing camels to see even when their eyes are closed. Camels also have bushy eyebrows that help to filter out the sand.
  6. Camels have nose lids that can close to prevent inhaling sand and dust.
  7. Camels have wide feet the act like snowshoes to prevent them from sinking into the sand.
  8. A camels long legs keep the body of the camel up off the burning heat of the desert floor.
  9. Camels have thick hard fur to protect them from the burning heat of the day as well as the cold of the night. Camels are born with thick hard patches of skin in places where they come into contact with the desert floor when they sit protecting their skin from burning.

NOTE: This video is from a Creationist prospective, not an evolutionary perspective.

Riding a Camel! - Camel Ride!

My Cousin riding a Camel!
My Cousin riding a Camel! | Source

Riding a Camel

This is a picture of my cousin riding a camel. The picture was taken near Jericho in Israel. Notice the camel blankets. They appear to be made out of cotton.

You might set up a wooden saw horse piled high with pillows, cover them with a cotton floor mat and pretend that it is a camel.Where would you go on your camel?

Have you ever ridden a camel?

See results

Thirsty Camels - How Much Water can a Camel Drink?

Watering camels at a well in the gobi desert
Watering camels at a well in the gobi desert | Source

How much water can a camel drink?

Watering Camels
Watering Camels | Source

The Thirsty Camel Activity

Ask the children to bring in clean empty milk jugs. When you have accumulated 32, go out to the playground, ask the children to imagine that the paddle pool is a camel. Use all 32 gallons of water to quench the camel's thirst.

  1. Does 32 gallons fill the pool?
  2. Could a camel drink more or less water than fits in the pool?

Camel Race Math Game

1. The Camel Race is a math game for two children.

2. Ea;ch child chooses a camel. Place your camel on a tile on the floor.

3. Determine the finish line. Take turns rolling a die with only the numbers 1 2 and 3.

4. If a 1 is rolled the Dromedary Camel moves.

5. If a 2 is rolled, the Bactrian Camel moves.

6. The first camel to the finish line wins.

Note: You will find links to purchase Dromedary and Bactrian camels below. Alternatively, I have found that just after Christmas you can often find camels in sales bins, thrift stores or parents of your students may be willing to donate camels from their collection of Christmas decorations.

A Dromedary Camel for the Camel Race Game

Safari Ltd  Wild Safari Wildlife Dromedary Camel
Safari Ltd Wild Safari Wildlife Dromedary Camel

If a 1 is rolled the Dromedary Camel moves.


A Bactrian Camel for the Camel Race Game

Silk Route Sensory Table

Sensory Table filled with Sand
Sensory Table filled with Sand | Source

Camels along the Sandy Silk Route Sensory Table

Set up a sensory table with sand and camels. Children can reenact stories of traveling along the Silk Route.

We made sacks from felt in the sewing center that the children loved to use at the sensory table. What items could you find to fill those sacks that would have been traded along the Silk Route?

Here is a list of items we discovered when we researched the Silk Route:

  • teas
  • salt
  • sugar
  • porcelain
  • spices
  • cotton
  • ivory
  • wool
  • gold
  • silver

Camel Printables

When creating lapbooks or as an addition to Literacy Bags print out copies of camel coloring pages. At first it could seem like coloring is just a waste of time but learning to color in the lines helps with fine motor coordination. It also helps children to notice the shape and comparative size of the camels. When coloring one of my students first noticed how big a camel's hoofs were compared to the size of its legs. That led to an investigation of hoofed animals.

Four Humped Camel

Silly Four Humped Camel
Silly Four Humped Camel | Source

Camels for your Caravan - Camels to populate your desert.

Populate your desert with dozens of camels. Divide your camel caravan into sections and count your camels by 10's. How long will your camel caravan be?

Sally the Camel - Sing the Camel Hump Song!!!

  • Sally the camel has five humps.
  • Sally the camel has five humps.
  • Sally the camel has five humps.
  • So ride, Sally, ride.
  • Boom, boom, boom, boom!
  • Sally the camel has four humps.
  • Sally the camel has four humps.
  • Sally the camel has four humps.
  • So ride, Sally, ride!

Sally the Camel is a fun song to sing with young children. Below you will find pattern pieces to create Sally with multiple humps.

  1. Have the children trace the camel body and hump patterns.
  2. Cut out several humps for each body.
  3. Children fold back the humps as they sing, counting backwards and subtracting a hump each time.

Camel Songs - Songs about Camels

Come sing songs of the desert and the camels who travel though it. Do you know any other camel songs?

Camel Nose

Camel Nose
Camel Nose | Source

Camels of Mongolia - Subprime on the Steppe: Mongolian Way of Life at Risk

A piece produced for the Wall Street Journal in early 2009 on Mongolia's version of the subprime lending crisis, in which a crash in cashmere prices led banks to go after the animals of debt-laden herders. This video was nominated for an Emmy and features camel milking.

Chatting about Camels - Ride a camel!

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    • suepogson profile image


      5 years ago

      That was a very interesting read. Thank you.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @evelynsaenz1: hey i agree

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 

      6 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      That Sally the Camel song brought back memories of primary school in Australia, only we sang "Alice the Camel" instead! We learnt that ours was the only country in the world to have wild camels.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent article. I didn't realise there was so much to say about camels. I'm planning to do the Mongolia Charity Rally in 2014, unfortunately not on a camel, but driving an ambulance from London to the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator:

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm thrilled about simple things in life seen from a different perspective - at least that's the way I perceive this new wonderful lens of yours!

      Thumbs up to you and your great job done here!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      7 years ago from France

      So much about camels! Obviously there's more to camels than meets the eye ....

    • debnet profile image


      7 years ago from England

      Wonderful ideas for lesson plans. Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      7 years ago

      camels are such strange animals. they just seem to take their time doing everything.

    • pimbels lm profile image

      pimbels lm 

      7 years ago

      Riding on a camel is funny, but when the camel gets down on the floor it goes head first, that is scary. Great lens, thank you.

    • pimbels lm profile image

      pimbels lm 

      7 years ago

      Riding on a camel is funny, but when the camel gets down on the floor it goes head first, that is scary. Great lens, thank you.

    • Krafick profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens. I regret having refused a free camel ride when I was in the Tunisia desert.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Woohoo, 100% on the Quiz!! I guess that was a Good Guess honestly!

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L B 

      8 years ago from Covington, LA

      This lens makes me think of the photo of my mom dressed in north African attire riding a camel on their honeymoon in 1949. As usual, an interesting and informative unit.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      8 years ago from Royalton

      @Virginia Allain: I didn't realize that there were wil camels in Australia. That will make a wonderful lens. I can hardly wait to read it.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      Hmmm, I should dig out my photos of the camel races in Alice Springs, Australia. That would make a good lens. A really fun event. The wild camels in Australia are the one-humped kind.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi! Would you like to add our Camel collections from Zazzle to your lense?

      Check them out here,

      Thank you :D

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Once again, I am impressed by your lesson plans. Nice Camel info

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a delightful lesson on camels. Yes, I did know that a camel can be milked. But I did learn the names of the one and two humps camels. Great lesson.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You are such an amazing teacher! and I love the Sally the Camel song! I sing that one with our grands!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the camel education!

    • squid-janices7 profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the education! I've got riding a camel on my bucket list so I guess I should figure out if I want to ride a camel with one hump or two ;)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      @SpellOutloud: Thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Evelyn Saenz 

      9 years ago from Royalton

      @nightbear lm: I find that children who are active are more interested and learn more.

    • SpellOutloud profile image


      9 years ago

      What a great unit Evelyn!

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      9 years ago

      What a great education, Loved it!!


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