Monday, February 3, 2014

Polar Fun In Kindergarten

Hello everyone! My name is Crystal McGinnis and I am a Kindergarten teacher in a small southern Missouri school district. Kindergarten is incredibly fun and extremely exhausting all at the same time!

 It has been a brutal winter here in Missouri. We have already missed a total of 13 days due to snow and cold temperatures. The weather channel is calling for more snow again tomorrow. I love the occasional snow day, but enough is enough! With the extremely cold temperatures lingering around, I have found it to be the perfect time to teach my Kindergarten students about my favorite polar animals. Penguins were first on my list!

We began our penguin unit by reading several non-fiction books about penguins. We then created these cute paper bag penguins. We stuffed white paper lunch sacks with butcher paper and then added the penguin features. These were a big hit with my kids. Grab your free copy below!

Paper Bag Penguins

Penguin Paper Bag Writing Craftivity


Penguin Writing

Writing in Kindergarten can be a real challenge. My Kindergarten students often struggle with coming up with their own writing topics and then actually following through and putting their ideas on paper. I wanted my kids to write about penguins so we began by organizing our information. After reading several non-fiction penguin books and watching some informative penguin related videos, we sorted the information that we had learned into true and false statements.

 We then used this graphic organizer to draw our favorite penguin facts. We often use drawing as a pre-writing strategy because so many of my kids feel confident with their drawing. We are still working on building our confidence with our writing. It will happen eventually!

After the brainstorming process was complete, we created a penguin themed class book. Each student was in charge of creating one page for the book.


Penguin Egg Races

After discussing how a father penguin must balance the penguin egg on its feet to keep the egg warm, we had penguin "egg races." The students balanced an egg (ball) on their feet. The students then raced while walking with the egg on their feet (more like smashed between their feet). We attempted to use Easter eggs first. The oval shape was difficult to work with so we switched and used sphere shaped foam balls that are generally used for creating crafts. These worked perfectly.


Penguin Addition

I found these penguin crackers a local grocery store and added them to my penguin activities. They were perfect for practicing addition. Now that Kindergarten students are expected to add with fluency (according to the Common Core Standards), we practice as much as possible.


Penguin Blubber

I wanted my kids to learn about animal adaptations and why some animals have blubber. I also wanted to introduce my kids to the scientific method. After searching through multiple websites, I found this blubber experiment. First, I started the experiment by having my kids place their hand in ice water for 10 seconds. After all of my students tested the water, I introduced the "blubber glove." Each student placed his or her hand in the blubber glove. They then placed their hand back in the ice water. They were amazed at how much warmer their hand was with blubber. We then recorded our experiment results on the blubber glove experiment recording sheet.


Penguin Dance 

 Kindergarten students must have many "wiggle breaks" throughout the day. I generally search You Tube to find most of my wiggle break material. I use this penguin themed video during my penguin unit. The kids love it!  
Penguin Cake

Did you know that you could purchase fun themed cakes like this at your local Wal-Mart bakery? Wal-Mart has a book that is devoted to animals. There are numerous animals to choose from.  I am excited to see what other animal cakes are available to go with my other units.


If you are looking for more penguin and polar bear themed materials, click on the link below. I have some freebies for you. Thanks for reading my post!


  1. You have such cute ideas for a penguin unit! Love the egg game and blubber experiment! I bet your students have a blast learning about penguins! Thanks for the ideas and freebie!

  2. My kids did have a blast. Kindergarten is such a fun age. You can do just about anything and they are excited about it!