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One of my favorite books as a child was Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The thought of penguins living in the refrigerator and performing on stage always brought a smile to my face. I was excited to share this classic story with my own children but I knew that just reading about these silly penguins was not enough – we needed to add a few fun activities and a tasty food treat to really bring this tale to life!
Mr. Popper’s penguins Captain Cook and Greta become the proud parents of ten penguin chicks. As we learned from our research, Emperor Penguins of the Antarctic only have one chick at a time and the process of caring for that egg and new born chick is very interesting. Did you know — when the mom penguin lays the egg she carefully passes the egg to the dad penguin and he is responsible for holding the egg on his feet and protecting it from the harsh winter weather for more than 60 days until it hatches?
When the penguin chick hatches the mom penguin returns to the Antarctic to find her family. The dad penguin passes the chick back to the mom and she balances the chick on her feet for several more months. The chick stays with its mom until the temperatures warm a bit and the chick is old enough to find food and care for itself.
Now it is your turn to be Emperor Penguin parents!
- A team of 2 people
- Tennis ball
- Small stuffed animal (a penguin would be perfect)
- Select one person to be the mom penguin and one to be the dad penguin.
- Mom penguin – stand up tall and have someone place the tennis ball on top of your feet. Figure out how to best position your feet to cradle the ball and practice balancing the ball on the top of your feet as you move around (remember, you can’t let the egg touch the ice/ground)!
- Next, work together to pass the tennis ball to your partner’s feet. It’s not easy and will take a pit of patience and practice. Again, don’t let the egg touch the ground and don’t use your hands.
- After each person balances and transfers the egg, try to complete the same tasks with the penguin chick (small stuffed animal)
Penguin Inspired Food
It seems that anytime our book club gets together our learning activities also include some related food. For Mr. Popper’s Penguins we decided take inspiration from our favorite penguins and create Penguin Cake Pops. Aren’t they cute!
Be sure to download the Penguin Cake Pops recipe for your family to enjoy.
A Few Additional Activities
No need to wait for winter to enjoy a little snow, you can always make Instant Snow! Just add water for an interesting science project.
Use a blank map to document the route Popper’s Performing Penguins took on their journey across the United States. Be sure the draw a path of penguin feet from one city to the next.
You can find these and other unit study ideas in the World For Learning World Study Guide for Mr. Popper’s Penguins.