Ruby Reads Books

Snow Day Box: Penguin Edition

Snow Day Box: Penguin Edition

There’s no day like a snow day.... until there isn’t. Which is why every year I put together a box of snow day activities, and then put it away for a snowy day.  Our original Snow Day Box (template and letter tile printables) are in this blog post. They’re a great place to start if this is your first Snow Day Box. 

This year, I’m making a penguin-themed Snow Day Box. You could choose this as a stand-alone theme, or you could use it to introduce a Mr. Popper’s Penguin read-aloud (find our poster here!)

Here’s what I’m putting in my penguin Snow Day Box:

1) Books. OF COURSE! :) I’m choosing a couple of funny picture books, and then throwing in a couple of non-fiction books that will help us with some of the other activities I have planned.

There are lots of fun penguin books out there, but two of my fiction favorites are 

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illus. by David Small, and 

One Cool Friend book cover

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, illus. Lynn Munsinger

Tacky the Penguin book cover

And don’t forget a few non-fiction books!

Penguins by Gail Gibbons book cover

National Geographic Penguins book cover

If you’re going to be completing the penguin attribute sheet (more info below) then you’ll probably need to consult a website or two in addition to any non-fiction books you read. Here are a couple that I’ve found useful: - Lots of information on each penguin type, but some is in paragraphs of text rather than a concise chart (though there is one of those, too), so it may take a bit of digging to find. Beautiful photography! 


2) A cross-curricular activity. We’re going to use our non-fiction books (and maybe some websites, too!) to complete a table of penguin attributes (get yours here!). 

Penguin Attribute table

We’ll use this when we make our toilet paper roll penguins (scroll down for that). We’ll also probably use it to try to figure out exactly what kind of penguins Mr. Popper’s Penguins are by listening for details in the story and comparing them to what we know about the different penguin species on our chart.

3) An art activity. We’ll be using basic crafting materials you probably already have at home to create our own penguins out of toilet paper rolls and construction paper. My kids love mystery, so they’ll use the attribute table (above) to make their penguin realistic, but then their siblings will also have to use the chart to figure out what kind of penguin they made. Maybe they’ll make more than one! Maybe we’ll have a penguin exhibition!

Toilet paper roll penguin

I like to put all my materials into a ziplock bag or other container before I put them into my Snow Day Box. That way nothing gets lost or damaged, and it’s like a kit-within-a-kit.

In my bag:

  • empty toilet paper rolls
  • construction paper (black and white for sure, but orange, red, and yellow scraps are good, too!)
  • yellow, orange, and red
  • glue stick
  • scissors

Have fun thinking of other construction materials!

4) A Snack! No Snow Day Box is complete without some kind of snack to warm up on a snowy day. It can be as simple as a box of special cookies (or Oreos, if you like to stay on color-theme) and a couple of packets of hot cocoa mix. Another option is to include a recipe card for a make-your-own-treat along with some shelf-stable ingredients.

OR.... you could make our Penguin Snack Mix and have fun figuring out why we included each of the recipe ingredients. (Mom disclaimer: this one’s pretty sweet, so feel free to sub out ingredients that you prefer or just make the snack cups small. You know the drill!)

That’s it! Pack it up and put it away for a snowy day in a few weeks, or a few days! You’ll be glad you did!

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