We’ve been having a blast learning about winter and Arctic animals around here (did you catch the P is for Polar Bear post?)!
We started out reading some Penguin books:
Penguin by Polly Dunbar
This book is silly and doesn’t give any real information about penguins, but my 3 year old simply loved it. You could use it as an introduction book!
365 Penguins By Jean-Luc Fromental
Another silly one, but this does talk a bit about what penguins need to be comfortable such as food and climate control.
This one is much more factual and has some great pictures as well!
Why are penguins so fun to learn about?
Penguins are one of the most entertaining and interesting creatures that nature has to offer. Learning about these birds can be an exciting adventure!
Penguins have distinctive physical characteristics, such as their black and white feathers, orange feet, and colorful beaks, which make them attractive to observe. In addition, they possess surprising adaptations which allow them to survive in harsh environments with no land predators.
Watching their majestic swimming style is particularly enjoyable!
The behaviors and interactions between different types of penguins are also fascinating; for example, an Emperor Penguin family huddling together for warmth during cold weather can be heartwarming.
Furthermore, there is so much that can be learned from studying their nutrition habits and migratory patterns.
Ultimately, it is clear why penguins are so enjoyable to learn about – they never fail to provide unique experiences every time we observe them!
Can penguins fly?
Penguins may have wings but don’t use them to take to the sky like most birds. Instead of flying, penguins slide across the water, remarkably and uniquely called “porpoising.”
This behavior gives them an aerodynamic boost as they travel through the waves at high speeds – five or six times faster than they swim!
While porpoising isn’t exactly flying, it is certainly an impressive feat that no other bird can replicate.
All that to say, while penguins may not have wings to soar through the air like some other species, their aquatic feats are something to marvel at all the same.
How do penguins stay warm?
Penguins are well adapted to their cold climate; they have evolved a number of techniques to keep themselves warm.
The thick layer of feathers on their upper body traps a layer of air close to the skin, while blubber and muscle provides insulation.
Penguins can also huddle together and trap heat thereby increasing the temperature around them. Their feet contain counter-current exchange systems that allow heat to move between arteries and veins without loss, enabling them to stay warm even in the icy waters of the Antarctic.
As if all this wasn’t enough, penguins have an exciting way of controlling their body temperature – they can shrug and puff out areas of their feathers to adjust the amount of warmth they are getting. Truly amazing!
For our craft, we made Penguins based on a pattern over at Me and My Shadow.
The pieces were cut out ahead of time, and we opted to use glue instead of brads.
As you can see, these were pretty strange looking penguins. Too bad we didn’t have a book called “Alien Penguin” or something!
The eyes are stickers I picked up at Oriental Trading. You can get 1,000 stickers for $6 and the kids use them all the time!
Hard at work!!
If you’re looking for a little extra something to fill some time this week, check out Happy Feet. My 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son both love this movie!
If you live near a zoo, you could take a field trip to check out the Penguins. Be sure to read any plaques posted. You can also get apps to watch penguins live at certain zoos.
Want to sing some tunes about penguins, check out this video from Miss Tracy on youtube!
More Resources and Stuff to Check Out!
Cute Penguin School Lunch
About the Author:
Lindsey Whitney is a blogger over at Growing Kids Ministry. A blog designed to help parents, teachers, and Children’s Ministry workers who want to help the kids they love grow in their faith. You can connect with her via twitter or on facebook.