What do you do on a winter cabin fever day? Take your toddler on a pretend trip to the Southern Hemisphere to visit the penguins with these fun projects. Penguins are intriguing creatures and your little one can waddle and swim around the house with the props he makes. As an added bonus, your tot will learn about this cool animal dressed in its finest tuxedo suit.
1. Paper Plate Penguin
Use a lunch-sized paper plate as the penguin’s body. Cut out a round head and two flippers from black construction paper. You will also need two web feet and a beak in pink. Glue the pieces in place and invite your budding artist to sponge paint the rim of the plate black, leaving the center white for the tuxedo-looking body. Add paper reinforced circle stickers or googly eyes. Your tot can color and decorate a bow tie from paper or choose fabric for this piece. Use this as a cute home decoration for the winter months.
2. Body Penguin
Trace around your child’s shoe to make a penguin body from white construction paper. Cut out this shape. To make flippers, fold a sheet of black paper in half and trace around your tot’s hand with his thumb at the fold and fingers held together. Cut out this shape and unfold it. Wrap this around the penguin’s body and glue or staple it in place. Color a set of eyes and an orange beak on the penguin’s head.
3. Penguin Puppet
Draw a simple penguin on paper and help your child color it. Or make another “body penguin” from the instructions above. Attach this picture to a cardboard toilet paper tube, which you can paint black. As you chant this verse, have your little tyke manipulate his penguin puppet across the table. “On the ice and snow, moving to and fro, my perky penguin can waddle, waddle, waddle; slide, slide, slide; nod, nod, nod; shake, shake, shake; and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, all day long.”
4. Penguin Vest
Cut a hole in the bottom of a large paper grocery bag, large enough for your child’s head to fit through. Slit the bag down the center and cut two arm flaps on each side panel. Together, paint the vest with nontoxic black tempera paint. Use white paint down the front to represent the penguin’s belly. Your little creature will love wearing this vest during pretend play.
5. Penguin Snack Mix
After all this crafting, your little learner may build up an appetite. Why not have a snack that represents a penguin’s life? Mix together fish crackers (penguins eat fish), yogurt-covered raisins (snowballs) and o-shaped cereal (lifesavers to float on in the water).