Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Penguin Fun

 Do your students love penguins?  Winter is a great time to learn about penguins - and other polar animals!  Last week I shared some ideas for learning about polar bears, so this week I thought I'd blog about penguins.
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

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!
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
After walking through the photo exhibition and seeing pictures of penguins doing all the things penguins do, we noticed a lovely, long bench.  The children decided to practice tobboganing, which is just sliding on our bellies.  This is one of the ways penguins move across the ice!
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Back at home we tried holding "eggs" on our feet, just like daddy penguins do all winter. We were inspired by the book Without You, by Sarah Weeks, pictured here along with some other fun penguin books:
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Standing still was pretty easy, but when we tried to waddle with our "eggs" on our feet, they went rolling.  We decided we would not make good penguin daddies, that's a hard job!

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.)
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
We also watched some awesome youtube.com videos about penguins.  These links will take you to some of our favorites!
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!
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

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?
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

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!
Penguin Fun (math, science, reading and craft activities) from Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

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!

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