Friday, January 13, 2012

'The Little Penguin' and an Icy Sensory Tub

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This turned out a little like a unit study, which is not typically how we do things, but it was fun, nonetheless.  It all started when my husband came home from AC Moore with the Safari Ltd Penguins Toob play set.

While putting away some new science readers that same night, I found a little picture book about penguins tucked away on our bookshelf that I forgot we owned.  I just took it from there.

We started with My First Book of Animals and found the section called Penguins and Albatrosses.

As you can see, the section is very short, but full of facts that are easy enough for a 5 year old to understand and remember.

We then read The Little Penguin by AJ Wood.  It is a fictional story about a penguin chick, but it also had some facts thrown in too.  I would classify it as a simple living book.

3D Puzzle
I had recently found this 3D puzzle at the Dollar Tree, and at the time it was one of only a few penguin activities for our winter theme, but it obviously went well with these other activities.

It was a little too complicated for Elliott.  We worked on it though, but he had to be my helper, since he still wanted me to put it together.  Unfortunately, when we took a break, little brother took apart our hard work, and broke a piece!  I am going to try to save it though, because Elliott was heartbroken!  He really wants to paint it, so hopefully I can make it work.

Eat Like a Penguin
For lunch we ate like the penguins!  I found our "wave" plates that sorta kinda resemble the ocean, and I filled it with fishy foods.  I made tuna fish sandwiches, and cut them out with a fish shaped cookie cutter.

I added a few mini marshmallows for bubbles, and a school of goldfish crackers.  Then I put some blueberries on there as our fruit.  Elliott wanted lettuce for seaweed, so that was his own special finishing touch.

The boys loved it, and not only did Emory at least taste his tuna sandwich, Elliott actually ate his!  Other than Emory's sandwich, both boys cleared their plates.  Of course the only thing they wanted seconds of were the goldfish and the blueberries!

Icy Sensory Tub & Science Play
Inspiration:  Ice Treasures from Happy Little Munchkins

A few of the penguin toys were put into a silicone muffin tray and frozen.  Once I took them out, I then gave the boys medicine droppers, measuring spoons, and a spray bottle and small bowl full of warm water, and left them to their own devices to free the penguins!

It didn't take Elliott long to figure out the water in the bowl and spray bottle was warm, and it would do the trick.

Emory on the other hand, was a bit more aggressive.  Once large portions of the ice melted, he just started throwing the chunks into the tub to make them crack apart.

Once all the penguins were rescued, it turned into creative play.  Emory absolutely loved it, and he played with it for over an hour!

The next day I asked Elliott if he wanted to do any more penguin activities.  He said yes, so we tried a few other things.

We attempted to do a Penguin Tangram from Making Learning Fun, but I didn't print their tangram pattern page out and ours weren't the right size for their page.  Elliott quickly passed the tangrams down to his brother so he could try something else.

We then started a grid coloring page, to introduce basic coordinates.  He understood the concept and was quickly working on his own, but the kid just doesn't like worksheets and coloring.  We might go back and finish it later, but I think it was a little too monotonous for him.

Earlier this week we did a Penguin Pattern Block page and a Math Grid Game as part of our winter theme day.

Each of the individual activities were interesting to Elliott, but I'd say the Icy Sensory Tub was by far the favorite of both boys!


  1. I LOVE your ice sensory tub! I have this on my list to try with my kiddos. I just know they will enjoy it!

    Criss-Cross Applesauce

  2. Great ideas, I'm glad your boys loved the Icy Sensory tub, ice seems to be a big hit with the toddler crowd! Love the creative presentation of lunch too!

  3. I LOVE your ice sensory bin and the themed lunch! Such awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I like your book on animals. I may have to get Liam a book like that.

    Your themed lunch is so cute! I really need to break out my cookie cutters.

  5. What a wonderful week!! Thanks for showing all the fun activities! Love the puzzle, lunch and ice sensory activit!! VERY COOL!! I'd love for you to come link up at TGIF kid oriented Linky Party - - I know my readers would love this too =-)
    Have a great weekend,

  6. Very fun. Need to do that ice sensory bin!

  7. Fun week - and the icy sensory tub is awesome! I just added your post link to my Montessori-Inspired Arctic and Antarctic Unit at

  8. You had such great stuff!!! I love doing activities related to a book :) Thanks so much for linking up to Sharing Saturday. Have a great week.


  9. What a wonderful week packed full of penguin ideas. I think my girls would love to have a crack at that penguin puzzle. It would be fun to paint. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.

  10. I love how you tie food into your lessons! Great job. Thanks for linking up at Thematic Thursday.

  11. Thanks for linking up at Thinky Linky Thursday! I love these activities and it looks like they had so much fun! This is the second time I've seen toys frozen in cupcake pans this week, I really want to try it :)
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

  12. This ice tub is AWESOME!!!! I am SO pinning this...I've never seen anything like it before. I could totally use this in speech therapy sessions too. LOVE! Thanks for sharing your inspiring ideas with us all at Thrifty Thursday, have a fantastic weekend!

  13. fun, fun, fun! we have a penguin day coming up - I just LOVE them!

    Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you this week.


  14. love the ice tub... will have to put that on our list of things to try... :)

  15. Congrats, this post has been featured on Cachey Mama's Classroom!