I wanted to give you a little update on our “penguin preschool” fun. In addition to our Heart Penguin craft, we’ve completed a few other super easy and fun projects and activities.
One of Lauren’s favorite, favorite things to do is play with her water table. Since it’s winter and we can’t go out, I’ve been bringing it inside and letting her play. (I just put a few beach towels on the floor to control the mess.) When it snows, which sadly it’s done very little, she LOVES for me to fill her table up with snow. Her little hands get bright red, but she’s crazy for snow play. I also recently filled it with cotton balls. It was a fun, wintery sensory experience. For our little penguin unit I knew we had to do something with the water table.
I purchased this “Penguin Toob” at Michaels. (I’ve seem at PB Kids too.) They’re normally between $8 and $12, and I had a 50% off coupon, but you can image my excitement when it rang up on clearance for only $0.69! (I was, maybe, a little too excited, which I’m sure you can imagine if you know me.) After that, I went back and used my coupon to purchase the “Arctic Toob,” which contains things like a polar bear, seal, and igloo! Then while Lauren was napping I excitedly set everything up.
In the side of the table meant for sand (which we’ve yet to try out), I placed crushed ice.
I filled the water side of the table with water and a few “ice burgs.” I filled plastic yogurt and take-out containers from my recycling bin with water and froze them the night before. Then the mini-burgs just popped right out!
When I carried Lauren downstairs she practically jumped out of my arms to run to the table and start playing.
Even if you don’t have a water table, you could replicate this activity in a large plastic tub, a big mixing bow, or even your kitchen sink. (Playing with soap and water in the kitchen sink is another one of Lauren’s favorite activities.)
Another great sensory activity that we incorporated penguins into was shaving cream play. I remember doing this outside on the sidewalk with my mom when I was a little girl.
Since it’s February and going outside isn’t really an option, I set up this activity in the highchair to contain the mess.
First, we took turns shaking the $1.17 can of shaving cream, and then Lauren watched in amazement as I squirted a mound onto the highchair tray.
She dove right in, and, not surprisingly, really loved the soft, foamy texture of the shaving cream. (And, great news, she only tried to taste the shaving cream once, in the very beginning.) After a few minutes she said, “sticky,” so I wiped her hands a little with a towel. Then she went right back to playing. The white shaving cream made perfect “snow” for the penguins to slide around in, and after a bit we added some sand toys to the mix just for fun. I couldn’t resist and I got in on the fun too. We’ll definitely be doing this activity again soon.
Shaving cream isn’t just a great sensory activity for little ones, I used to use it in my classroom all the time. It’s great for everything from practicing handwriting and sight words to learning addition and multiplication facts. It smells good and it’s relatively easy to clean up so give it a try.
We also read an adorable penguin book this week. It was a gift from Aunt Lizzie last year and it’s called Lost and Found (by Oliver Jeffers).
It’s a very sweet story about an unlikely friendship between a little boy and a penguin. It’s a very peaceful story and in some ways it reminds me of my all-time favorite, Where the Wild Things Are.
To go along with the penguins and continue our wintery arctic/antarctic theme, we’ve also talked about polar bears. Have you seen this adorable book?
It’s the true story of an abandoned polar bear that became the star of the Berlin Zoo a few years back. It’s actually very long, but Lauren loved sitting on my lap looking at the precious pictures and listening to my paraphrasing. The back of the book has some interesting facts about polar bear. For example, did you know that female polar bears dig a den in the ice in which to have their babies? Also, polar bear cubs only spend between 1 and 3 years with their mothers. Of course, this seemed sad to me, and I told Lauren she had to stay with me much, much, much longer.
To go along with the book Lauren colored a polar bear and glues fuzzy white fur (more cotton balls) onto it. She’s really into gluing right now, so it was a great project.
I let her squeeze glue onto a paper plate and then she dipped the cotton balls into the glue before sticking them on her bear.
I love how she put one right on the nose! You can download a printable copy of this project sheet from EarTwggles.com for your own little polar bear here.
We’ve had fun with our arctic projects, and hopefully Lauren will get to see some of these creatures in person soon. We’ll be starting on some new “units” in the next couple of weeks, check back tomorrow for a preview of what’s up next.