Winter Penguins (K)

I have so many projects I want to post about right now that it's ridiculous.
For the past month and some change I've had a student teacher who had been taking the lead of pretty much all of my classes - so when she finished her last week this past Friday - I was eager to jump back in and start teaching my classes again (with new projects too)!
So I've decided to start my winter project posts with this kindergarten penguin project - cause gosh darn it.. it's adorable (and my first group finished it today)! :)

I've seen many versions of this project on Pinterest.. but my favorite one (and the main inspiration for this project) was the one created by Patty Palmer at Deep Space Sparkle. They are just so cute!!

On the first day we started by reading the book "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh and began talking about primary and secondary colors. After reading and reviewing my awesome color mixing PowerPoint, we did a little color mixing experiment.
I had all my kinderbabies (deal with it) sit on the carpet and told them that I would need a bunch of volunteers - but would only call on students that were sitting quietly and paying attention.
I then filled up three clear containers with water and added a drop of white tempera paint to give the water a tint to make it easier to see the colors. I told my students that I wanted to do some color mixing of my own and needed to start with the primary colors. I then asked students to raise their hands and tell me a primary color. If they gave me a correct answer, they got to come up to the table and put in a few drops of food coloring into one of the containers and mix it up.
Once all the containers were filled, I asked students how I could create various secondary colors and what primary colors I would need to combine to create them. Many volunteers later, my containers were transformed from primary colors to secondary colors. I then asked my students what they thought would happen if they mixed all three primary colors together (you'd be surprised... or maybe not - by how many children said it would make rainbow water)?
In order to find out, I asked my students to tell me what two primary colors I used to make each secondary color, then tell me which primary color was missing from each concoction. Once we figured out what was missing, we added the color and found that each container turned brown! Ohhhhhhhh!! Ahhhhhh! **It is moments like these when being an elementary art teacher feels more like being a magician-rock star hybrid.  :)

Once our experiment was over we spent the remaining time in class passing around my color-mixing shakers. The shakers are made up of old snack size gatorade bottles that were filled half way with a primary colored oil and half way with a primary colored water (created using food coloring). I super-glued the lids on because of the high toxicity of the oil if ingested and the alluring color that naturally makes one want to ingest it.
When shaken, the oil and water temporarily mix together to create a secondary color - then separate back to their original primary-colored state within a minute. The kids LOVE them.

The next day when they came in I had students apply that they learned the day before and experiment with color mixing on a sheet of 12"x18" white drawing paper. I gave each table a container of blue, yellow, and magenta tempera paint and instructed them to fill their page with color. **I used magenta tempera instead of red because of the quality of color it creates when mixed. I made sure to explain to my kinders that that pink is created when you mix red and white - so it works very similarly to how red would mix prior to them beginning. 

The next day we started class with a piece of 4.5" x 12" white drawing paper and aqua-colored chalk pastels. I demonstrated to students how to draw a wavy ellipse at the top of their paper, draw two lines down on both sides, then connect those lines at the bottom to create an ice float for their penguins to sit on. Once they cut out and glued down their ice floats, we began creating our penguins feet.
For this I gave each student a piece of 4"x 3" orange construction paper and showed them how they could fold the paper in half and cut out an "M" shape along the bottom of their folded paper, then open up the fold and cut along the fold line to create 2 feet. These were glued onto the ice float on their paper.
For this particular class this is all we got done on day 3 (ommmmmggggg stop talkkkkkkinggggg!!).

On day 4 they started creating the body for their penguins. I gave them a piece of 9"x12" black construction paper and had them cut out a giant upside-down "U" or "rainbow" shape from the top of their paper. Once the black part was glued down, students repeated this shape on a piece of 8"x 10" white drawing paper and glued that down overtop of their black shape.
The next step for students was to create the wings for their penguins. I showed students how to fold a piece of black construction paper in half, then draw and cut out a "D" shape.

On day 5 my students added the beak and the eyes to their penguins, then got to add additional details with scrap paper, buttons, and yarn.

This project in it's entirety took me 5 days (including the initial intro to color mixing day) - although it probably should have only taken 3 1/2 - 4  40-minute class periods. We had a rough week though. :/


  1. Love the contrast of the b&w cutouts with the painted colors

  2. Love this! Thanks for the great explanation of the primary color experiment. Plan to do after holiday break. Happy Holidays!

  3. "you'd be surprised... or maybe not - by how many children said it would make rainbow water"
    Whenever I do my Color Mixing Magic Show they come up with the most raaaandooom answers! There are always a few "rainbows" and i have even gotten "sparkly", "invisible" and "silver" . . . .wtf? but then when they see it turns to brown the Ninja Turtles might have well just walked in because they get so so excited.

    These penguins are amazing they have so much personality and I particularly like your commentary lol! I am pinning (and probably stealing) this :-D

    Also, those gatorade bottles are brilliant.