Pretty Little Penguins

What’s black and white, looks like it’s wearing a tuxedo (ie. perfect for the New Year!) and lives in some of the chilliest places on Earth (also perfect for the time of year!)? Penguins of course! Toboggan with us through a week of perfectly picked penguin pursuits (did you like my alliteration there?) as we explore these funny little birds and the cool places in which they live (it’s not just Antarctica!)

Literacy:

-P is for penguin letter craft: I cut out large letter P’s and all the pieces we’d need to add to them to make penguins then asked my littles if they knew what letter penguin starts with. Then we decorated the P;s to make penguins!

-P is for penguin writing practice: I printed this “P is for Penguin” writing page and had my littles identify and practice writing their Ps (my 3 year old just did the big one).

-Penguin guided drawing: This is such a fun way to practice oral listening and direction following skills! You just give instructions out loud on each step for drawing a penguin and have your little listen and follow along. I got the idea from Natalie Lynn Kindergarten.

-Penguin sentences beginning reading: I printed this penguin themed fill in the blank sentence page on Teachers Pay Teachers and used it in the following way- I had my little cut out the words, then I helped him sound each one out (I had him try on his own first, then helped if he needed it). Next I read each sentence for him while pointing to the words, and re-read the sentence with each cut out word in the blank until he figured out which one belonged.

-Writing prompt: All About Penguins: Each day I had my little think of a fact he knows about penguins, write it in a sentence and draw a picture illustrating it. By the end of the week we had a small book!

-Penguin books: Here’s a list of books we read this week. If your little is ready to try listening to a chapter book I highly recommend “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”. It’s a classic- we read it last year and my little loved it!

Math:

-Iceberg and penguin counting: I gave my littles “icebergs” with the numbers 1-10 on them. I had them identify each number, then count that many penguins to put on the iceberg. If you have a set of tiny penguin erasers (they came with polar bears and snowflakes a few years ago at Target) you can use those but if not, black pompoms will work in a pinch or penguin cut outs!

-Penguin number ordering: I printed these cute little penguins then wrote the numbers 1-20 on their tummies. Then I laminated them and cut them out. I had my 3 year old order the numbers 1-10 and my 5 year old add on 11-20.

-Penguin word problems: I printed these penguin word problems from Teachers Pay Teachers, filled in the blanks and had my little use Goldfish crackers as a manipulative to solve them.

-Penguin shape craft: I cut out the shaped needed to make a penguin, then gave my littles instructions on how to glue everything together using shape words. They’re pretty good with most shapes, so I threw in some trapezoids to expand their knowledge a bit!

-Penguin roll and add: I printed this penguin roll and add sheet from Teachers Pay Teachers, then had my little roll 2 dice, add the numbers and color the matching penguin.

Science/Social Studies:

-Antarctica map exploration: Although penguins also live in the southern parts of Africa, South America and Australia, we decided to focus on Antarctica for this lesson. First I showed my littles a world map and asked them to find Antarctica. Then I showed them a map of just Antarctica (far more accurate in shape and size). I asked them to compare the two and we discussed why the world map skewed the shape and size of it because Earth is a sphere and when you flatten it into a map, you have to cut it and stretch it out to at the poles to make it flat. Then we looked at just the map of Antarctica and discussed the key/found the landforms on the key on the map.

-Penguin K/L chart: We made a t-chart at the start of the week and I asked my littles all the things they knew about penguins and I wrote it down under the “what we know” column. Then as a culminating activity, we discussed what we now know about penguins and wrote it down under the “learned” column.

-Penguin life cycle: We printed, cut out and put together this worksheet on the Lifecycle of Penguins. I got it from Teachers Pay Teachers for free!

-Penguins are birds diagram: I drew and penguin on chart paper, then wrote the parts on sticky notes with lines pointing to each part on my picture. Then I had my littles take turns labeling the parts (which they find quite fun!) Next we reviewed the features of all birds and wrote them on the chart too.

-Melting ice inquiry: I asked my littles what makes frozen things melt (heat!) Then I asked them what they thought would happen to ice cubes left in the sun, in the house, and in the fridge. Then we put 3 ice cubes in each location and observed their changes and compared them.

-Antarctica and penguin movies: To show the littles a bit what Antarctica is like, we watched a short 5 minute Nat Geo Kids movie about it on YouTube, then followed it up by a short movie on penguins so we could see the little guys in action (which my 3 year old found utterly hilarious!)

Art:

-Penguin footprint art: I painted my littles’ feet like penguins then had them make prints with them. We added eyes and beaks (and in the case of my high arched 5 year old, the rest of the body!) to make them complete.

-Penguin rock painting: I had my littles each find an oval shaped rock, then they painted them with black and white (they were supposed to do white tummies with black around them, but they ended up grey because preschoolers! LoL After they were dry, we added faces and white tummies- SO CUTE! You can hide the rocks in the park for people to find, or keep them!

-Paper plate penguin: I had my littles paint black around a paper plate, then add eyes and a beak to make penguin heads.

-Fuzzy tummy penguins: These are so cute and work on fine motor skills as well as art! I printed some cute penguins, then gave my littles 1 inch squares of white tissue paper to crumple up and glue to their tummies. I got this idea from Pinterest.

-Ice building sensory bin: I’m not sure if this is art, but the littles were building and being creative so I’m counting it! I just put some ice in the blender, just covered it with cool water, and hit blend until it was a wet snow texture. I made 2 blenders full so they’d have enough to play with before it melted (or they ate it all…LoL). Then I added some penguin erasers and empty fruit cup containers to make igloos and let them play! I got this from Mrs. Plemmon’s Kindergarten.

Extras:

-Letter of the week: Oo, each day we do a different activity focused on our letter- introduction/have your little practice it on the chalkboard (or white board), think of words that start with the letter and make a list, workbook letter writing practice, workbook word writing practice.

-Word of the week: on, each day we do a different activity focused on our word- introduction/sound the word out/have your little practice writing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, word family list- think of other words that rhyme with your word of the week, use the word in a sentence (have your little come up with the sentence and write it for them) then have your little illustrate the sentence, and workpage practice.

-Bible verse: This month’s Bible verse is “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 I write each word in the verse on a post-it, stick them to the wall then have my little point to each word and read it each day all month.

-Character trait of the month: empathy…this word is reviewed and posted at the start of the month then each time one of my littles freely demonstrates generosity I use the word to specifically praise what they’re doing and encourage the trait in them. (ie. “You could tell your brother was upset and you comforted him like your own feelings got hurt- thank you for showing empathy.”)

Supply/shopping list:

  • small penguin erasers (or print outs)
  • goldfish crackers
  • dice
  • ice
  • 3 bowls
  • Nonfiction penguin book
  • rock
  • paper plate
  • tissue paper
  • fruit cups (empty)
  • blender
  • cake pan or cookie sheet

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