Most students can’t help but fall in love with penguins. It may be how they totter through the snow and ice like they’re searching for a lost set of keys, or how for penguins, black-tie optional isn’t an option—they’re stuck in their natural formal wear.

    One way for students to connect with these flightless birds living in the coldest regions of the earth is by reading fun and fact-filled penguin books. Each of these books is a great lead-in to crafts and writing activities to further students’ understanding about penguins and their quirky habits and personalities.

    A fun way to make a penguin book come to life is by students making their own shoebox penguin, which they can use to store small books, pencils, and everything they need for learning. This craft is an inexpensive and engaging way to kick off any lesson on penguins this winter.

    What you need:

  • Shoeboxes, any size, one per student
  • Black paint
  • Paint in an assortment of colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scissors
  • White, orange, and black construction paper
  • Glue
  • What you do:

  • Have students paint the lid of a shoebox black. They can paint the rest of the box black, or another color of their choosing. Set the boxes aside to dry.
  • To create the penguin’s chest, ask the students to cut an oval from the white construction paper, then glue it to the lower half of the box lid.
  • Now ask students to cut a triangle from the orange construction paper and glue it above the white chest to make a beak. To make the beak stick out from the box lid, students can fold down a flap—about 1/2-inch wide—from the orange triangle's base and glue the flap to the box lid.
  • To make the eyes, instruct students to cut two circles from the white construction paper and two smaller circles from the black construction paper. Encourage them to glue the white circles above the beak, then glue the black circles inside the white ones to complete the eyes.
  • Ask students to fold a piece of black construction paper horizontally, then draw a large single wing shape on the paper. Next, they can cut out the wing shape with the paper folded to get two wings, then cut this in half and glue one half to each side of the box lid.
  • Next, ask your students to fold a piece of orange construction paper into halves. They can trace their hands on the paper with the base of their palms at the fold. Ask them cut out the hand shapes and glue these handprint "feet" to the bottom edge of the box lids.
  • After reading and crafting, Scholastic Teachables has everything you need to round out your lesson on penguins. Fun and engaging, these three printables are ready-to-go, saving you time while helping your students develop the skills they need for reading success.

    1.     Draw & Write About a Penguin (Grades K–2)

    This activity encourages students to draw their own penguin and write about these interesting birds.

    2.     My Book of Penguin Words (Grades PreK–2)

    Young readers learn important sight words and vocabulary related to penguins with this mini-book. They’re even encouraged to draw a picture and describe it with one the new words they learned.

    3.     All in the Family (Word Families): Pocket-Folder Center (Grades K–1)

    This printable turns into its own pocket-folder penguin learning center. It includes an activity mat, picture card, and a practice page focused on word families, rhyming, sorting, and following directions.

    These books, activities, and Scholastic Teachables are here to help teachers and arctic animal lovers like you teach your students about penguins and the joys of reading. Even better, these teaching materials are ready to go, saving you time when you need it most during the winter season. The above printables are free to subscribers of Scholastic Teachables or are available for individual purchase. Log in, or sign up now for a 30-day trial.