GIF of craft penguin made of felt flapping its wings against blue background
0

Waddle you waiting for? Become a penguin pro with over a dozen hands-on activities created for kids ages 4-8.

Dive into a different penguin theme each day with guided videos, crafts, interactive programs, and live webcams. Kids will activate their inner ornithologist (a scientist who studies birds) and learn all about African penguins—including the ones that call the Academy home!

Please note: While Science @ Home activities are designed to be conducted by kids, some little ones might need adult help with reading instructions and preparing crafts.

0
Photo of African penguin swimming underwater

Day 1: Penguin adaptations

Learn more about the unique ways these special birds survive—and thrive!—in challenging environments. (30-45 minutes)

P is for Penguin (video)
lkn

Find out what makes a penguin a penguin—from African penguins perfectly suited for their rocky ocean homes to emperor penguins surviving on the freezing Antarctic ice.

Penguin braying (video)
a

That’s a loud sound for a little bird! Every penguin has its own unique bray, which it uses to identify itself to other penguins.

While you watch this video, think about the three questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

  • What do these penguins sound like? Does that sound remind you of anything?
  • Can you make the sound?
  • What do you see the penguins doing?

Listen to guiding questions

Underwater penguin cam (video)
a

Ever wonder what the Academy’s penguins are up to at any given moment? Wonder no more—just tune in to one of our live webcams! This underwater cam lets you observe our birds diving, swimming, and playing beneath the surface.

While you watch this live webcam, think about the four questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

  • Are any of the penguins in the water?
  • What do you notice about how they move?
  • Can you float the same way they do?
  • Have you ever tried to swim like a penguin?

Listen to guiding questions

Make a paper penguin (craft)
a

Create your own paper penguin in just a few minutes! All you need is paper, scissors, a glue stick, and crayons, colored pencils, or markers.

Listen to instructions

Academy veterinarian Freeland Dunker examines penguin chick

Day 2: Penguin healthcare

A healthy penguin is a happy penguin. Learn more about what it takes to keep our penguins in tip-top shape. (60-90 minutes)

Pierre the Penguin storytime (video)
a

What happens when an Academy penguin gets sick? Read along with an Academy educator to learn about Pierre, one of the aquarium's most famous flippered residents.

En español

Color a penguin (craft)
a

Print out the coloring page and transform the penguin into your own colorful masterpiece. 

Chick check-up (video)
a

It’s a boy! Meet a very fuzzy penguin chick that hatched at the Academy, and observe the specialized care provided by our biologists.

While you watch this video, think about the three questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head. 

  • Have you ever gone to the doctor?
  • What sort of things did the doctor or nurse check?
  • Did they use any special equipment?

Listen to guiding questions

Two juvenile African penguins sit in the lap of Academy biologist

Day 3: Be a penguin scientist

Can't make it to southern Africa? Practice your penguin observation skills at home with this set of videos and activities. (30-60 minutes)

Peek-a-penguin (activity)
a

Become a penguin scientist! Observe our colony of African penguins and keep track of what you see.

Listen to guiding questions

Live penguin webcam (video)
a

Scientists learn a lot by observing, or watching, the world around them. Here are a few suggestions for how to be a scientist while watching the penguins.

  1. Print out the Junior Scientist Adventure Penguin Observation Activity Chart and follow the instructions on the first page.
  2. While watching the penguins on the live webcam, notice what the penguins are doing. Share what you see with a friend or family member or just think in your head.
    • Are any of the penguins in the water?
    • Are any of the penguins interacting with other penguins or a penguin caretaker?
    • What do you think they are doing? What makes you think that?
    • Have you ever seen other animals doing that? Have you ever done that?

Great job making observations! Check the webcam again soon to see if what you are seeing today is the same next time. Do you think it will be the same if you make observations at a different time of day?

Listen to guiding questions

Name that penguin (activity)
a

Our penguins wear special colored wing bands to help us tell them apart. Download this identification card to figure out which penguin is which as you watch the penguin webcam.

Stand-up penguin (craft)
a

Create a paper penguin that can stand on its own two feet!

Listen to instructions

Aquarium curator Vikki McCloskey feeds colony of African penguins at the Academy

Day 4: Behind-the-scenes with penguins

Get a sneak "beak" of what life is like in the Academy's penguin colony. (30-45 minutes) 

Fraction penguin (activity)
a

Not a fraction expert? It's ok, neither are penguins. But you can practice with this fun craft activity. 

Listen to instructions

Feeding time (video)
a

Feeling fishy? Our penguins sure are! Watch Academy biologists Steve and Emma feed our hungry colony and talk about the TLC they give these birds every day.

While you watch this video, think about the four questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

  • What do the penguins eat?
  • Is this the same or different as what they would eat in South Africa?
  • Why do you think the animal caretakers keep track of how much each penguin eats? Do you keep track of what you eat?
  • Why do you think the penguins wear wing bands? Is there a difference between penguins with bands on their right or left wing?

Listen to guiding questions

Just hatched! (video)
a

This little penguin hatched from its egg just a few days before we filmed this video!

While you watch this video, think about the two questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

  • What do baby penguins look like?
  • How would you describe their feathers, size, or color?

Listen to guiding questions

Masked mother and toddler daughter look at African penguins

Kid & caregiver extension activities

Now that you're a penguin pro, you might be ready to hop into some additional penguin activities and resources. 

Penguin conservation (video)
A

Discover more about how zoos and aquariums like the Academy are helping to save African penguins.

While you watch this video, think about the three questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

  • Where was Poppy before she came to the Academy?
  • What is a Species Survival Plan?
  • How do penguins living at the Academy help animals in the wild in Africa?

Listen to guiding questions

Breakfast Club with Vikki (video)
A

Celebrate World Penguin Day with Academy biologist Vikki and learn about the Academy's penguin colony and how we take care of them.

While you watch this video, think about the seven questions below. Share your answers with a friend or family member or just think in your head.

Video snippet 1:

  • How many penguins live in the Academy’s colony or group?
  • What are the penguins waiting for?
  • Do you do any training or enrichment with your animals at home?

Video snippet 2:

  • Have you ever wanted to take care of animals as an animal keeper or veterinarian?
  • What are some ways to get experience taking care of animals?

Video snippet 3:

  • Why is the animal caretaker hand-feeding the penguins?
  • Do you eat the same food as the penguins?

Listen to guiding questions

Sustainable seafood (activity)
A

By making smart choices when buying seafood, you can protect penguins and other ocean animals. Be sure to have the Seafood Watch guide handy so you can shop and order sustainably.

Academy @ Home

Enjoy an eclectic array of science content for all ages, from distance learning resources to in-depth livestreams.

Tell us what you think!
Science @ Home is always evolving. Drop us a line to let us know what you like, what you don't, and what you'd like to see more (or less!) of. Completed a craft that you're proud of? Send us a pic of that, too!