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Playful Penguins

At a recent trip to the local aquarium, my daughter was captivated by a waddle of African penguins. (A group of penguins on land is called a waddle, nesting in a group they are rookeries, in the water they are part of a raft. A large group of penguin chicks is a creche.)

So, we borrowed a few penguin-themed books from the library and made these penguins out of cardboard toilet paper tubes and construction paper.


  • cardboard toilet paper tube
  • black construction paper
  • orange construction paper
  • white construction paper
  • googly eyes
  • scissors
  • glue
  • pencil


1. Fold a strip of black paper, approximately half the circumference of the cardboard tube, in half. Trim the folded side to create rounded corners while leaving the pieces connected at the folded edge (see the picture above “Materials”).

2. Glue the folded strip over one end of cardboard tube, like a hat.  This will be the top of the penguin’s head.

3. Trim the black sheet of construction paper so that it will cover the entire cardboard tube.  Wrap the construction paper around the tube and glue it tight.

5. Cut a triangle out of the orange construction paper to create a beak.

6. Fold the bottom of the triangle and add glue to just this folded edge. Glue the beak to the penguin.

7. Add a dot of glue where you will place the googly eyes and add eyes to the penguin.

8. Cut an oval from the white construction paper and glue to the penguin’s stomach.  Trim the bottom if necessary.

9. Cut out wing shapes from the black construction paper. (I drew elongated tear-drop shapes and my daughter cut them out.)

10. Fold the rounded part of the wings under, add glue to the tab, and glue the wings to the penguin.

10. On orange construction paper, trace the end of the tube and then draw penguin webbed feet attached to the circle.  Cut out the shape and glue to the bottom of the penguin.

Have a penguin parade!

Educational Connections:

  • Geography: Plot all the places on the map where penguins live.  What do these places all have in common? Penguins only live in the Southern Hemisphere!  Find out more about why penguins do not cross the equator. Older kids may find this article about penguins who did cross the equator interesting (most likely on a fishing boat) and have fun spotting media images of penguins where they do not belong–hanging out with Santa Claus or polar bears, for example.
  • Ecology: Penguins have some unique characteristics.  What do you notice about penguins?  You may already know that penguins are flightless birds.  Why can’t penguins fly? If penguins can’t fly, how do they best move around and hunt for food?
  • Ecology: Most penguins have black backs and white underbellies–why? (hint: it has to do with camouflage)
  • Ecology: Male penguins take a strong role in rearing the young, taking turns warming the egg and protecting the chick while their partners go in search of food. What other animal daddies take on special roles?
  • Ecology: Where do penguins fit in the food chain? Why are many penguin populations currently at risk?

Picture Books About Penguins

Penguins are popular protagonists (how’s that for alliteration?) in children’s books but I only found a few that include factual information about penguins in the story line.  Check out these children’s book selections.  I’ll share more picks later in the week, some of which have fun stories but are lighter on the information.

Where Is Home, Little Pip?, by Karma Wilson:  My family really enjoyed this story about family of penguins living in the Antarctic.  Pip lives happily in his rocky nest with his parents, who hunt for fish in the ocean, until one day he wanders off and cannot find his way home.  As he searches for his parents, he learns about the homes of the other animals he encounters.  My daughter was a little concerned Pip might not find his mom and dad but she loved the little songs and was enchanted by the message of the tale: home is where the heart is.

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!, by Bob Barner: Although this is more non-fiction than fiction, this book has rhyming couplets that reveal facts about the lives of penguins.  The bold, graphic illustrations are attractive to the youngest kids.  At the end of the book, there are pictures of every species of penguin and more fun trivia.

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Ecology, Featured, Winter · Tags:

11 Responses to "Playful Penguins"

  1. Cyndy says:

    Love them!! Great pics. Thanks Candace for “always” have original and nice crafts!! Thanks!!!!!!! :))))

  2. These are so cute. I need to make animals with JDaniel.

  3. The penguins are too cute! Very resourceful post. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Janelle says:

    Your TP tube penguins are adorable. My daughter made printed penguins this week for the stArt project.

  5. Love this! Thanks for sharing! Just featured it!

  6. Natalie says:

    I learned some fascinating facts from this post. We also loved Little Pip. Thanks for joining WMCIR!

  7. Susana says:

    Thanks for sharing these penguin books. Your penguin crafts turned out absolutely adorable!

  8. Kara Reidy-Vedder says:

    So cute! Thanks for stopping by the Little Learners Lounge!

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