A couple of years ago we were lucky enough to have a penguin exhibit at our local museum (Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.) Most of the exhibition was photographs, but there was also a docent with this beautiful taxidermied penguin, so we were able to get up close and check it out. It amazed us all to see how tiny its feathers were!
We had fun making our own penguin rookery, complete with chicks sitting snug on the father penguins' feet. I displayed them on a large sheet of polystyrene foam, and the mottled white background looked icy. (I've recently updated this activity and added a non-fiction book, and made it available here.)
Jack Hartman, penguin dance
Happy Feet brain break
The Learning Station, Penguin Song
We learned about the letter P the same week we learned about penguins, so we made some pink or purple lower case letters, and added some penguins to it. The children got to choose how many little penguins they made for their letter, so we added a little math by making a graph about how many penguins we used. Super simple, and totally relevant to the children - oh yeah, and it was a good reason to practice writing their names!
Here's another fun penguin activity that ties back into penguins sliding on the ice. Freeze a tray of water a couple of days ahead of time (you want it frozen completely solid). Sit a toy penguin on it, and see if it starts sliding. If you have it laid flat, the penguin won't move unless you scoot it along. Then slowly raise one end - I used stacks of dice - until your penguin goes sliding on the ice. Experiment with the ramp you've created - what else slides? How high do you need to prop the end?
You probably already know I love to use hand print art with the children each week too, so one of our choices was a hand print penguin - with a textured "snowy" background. I mixed approximately half shaving cream and half white paint, and let the children finger paint that onto their paper (fun!), then we made the penguin separately, and glued it on once the background was dry. The shaving cream/paint dried with texture and a lovely silky feel to it. If you haven't tried this yet, you'll be amazed by the results!
For even more penguin ideas, check out this post and this post here on my blog. If you're looking for resources you can download and print to help you teach your children about penguins, you can see what I've created here.
What are your favorite penguin activities? I'd love to know!