How to make Play-Doh penguins

Play-Doh is one of my toddler’s favourite activities. We usually play with it during her baby sister’s nap time, as I’m still not quite comfortable letting the baby play with Play-Doh. So nearly every morning at the same time, the Play-Doh comes out!

Usually we pretend to make biscuits – she loves to put them on the ‘baking tray’ (the plastic moulding tray) and put them into the ‘oven’ (the cardboard box!). But sometimes something fun will happen naturally and we like to go with it! This time, I made a little penguin out of some of the mixed up Play-Doh.

After a few months of playing every day, obviously all the colours have been mixed together, and they make this slightly revolting blue-grey colour. The colour actually works really well for making penguins!

After I made a couple of penguins, my daughter asked me to make more and more, until I’d made more than 20!

I’ll admit they’re not my best artistic work, but they were really quick and easy – just a thick sausage shape, pinched to make a beak, and pinched again to make two feet.

My daughter decided to stand al the penguins together on an ‘iceberg’ (the upturned moulding tray). It reminded me of the way penguins huddle together on the ice, which started a really lovely discussion about how penguins huddle together to keep warm, and the way they rotate so they each get a turn to be in the warm centre of the huddle.

We even looked on YouTube at some videos of penguin huddles in Antarctica – so what started as mindless fiddling with a piece of Play-Doh actually ended up with my daughter learning something really cool!

She also enjoyed using the Play-Doh penguins to tell a little story – she decided that one of the smaller penguins was a baby, and then chose which penguin would be the baby’s mum and dad. It was a lovely activity that didn’t require any prep work.

To make Play-Doh penguins, you will need:

  • plenty of Play-Doh (any colour, but the mixed up blue grey colour works well!)
  • something to make an ‘iceberg’ – either the plastic moulding tray, or any sort of upturned box

You could extend this activity by:

  • looking at penguin videos on YouTube and discussing why they huddle together
  • learning about what noise penguins make
  • using the penguins for some story telling play
  • making other Antarctic animals to play with alongside the penguins

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