Friday, January 16, 2015

Pretty Penguins

One of my kids' favorite stories in Winter was Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester.  (Check the Metamora Public Library for this book and others in the series.)  Tacky is an odd penguin to say the least wearing Hawaiian shirts and making splashy cannonballs, and it's no surprise he doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the "pretty" penguins who happen to wear bow ties and act very prim and proper.  However, Tacky saves the day when some trappers show up and his fellow penguins find him to be "a very nice bird to have around."

A fun counting activity to follow-up the reading of this book is found on my favorite website, Making Learning Fun.  Print the penguin math mat and the playing cards onto cardstock and laminate.
Making Learning Fun penguin math mat

Penguin bow-tie cards
After purchasing mini bow-tie pasta, color them red, blue, yellow, and green by placing a few pasta pieces into 4 different plastic snack bags.  With a bit of different liquid food color and rubbing alcohol added into each bag, seal them and shake the bags until all pasta is coated.  On paper towels, dump out the colored pasta to dry overnight. 
Colored bow-tie pasta
Gather the math mat, bow-tie cards, and pasta.  Have your child turn over one of the bow-tie cards.  Count the bow-ties on the card and place that color and number of bow-ties (pasta) on the "Pretty Penguins". Keep counting and playing until all penguins have a bow-tie.  
You can easily turn this into a game by printing two or more penguin math mats, one for each player.  Take turns counting and adding bow-ties to your mat.  The first player to complete their mat is the winner.  Enjoy the penguin fun!  --MJ

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