Penguins and Polar Bears

OPENING SONG: See Favorite Opening Songs

OPENING RHYME #1: Two Little Penguins

Two little penguins sitting on a hill. (hold up two fingers)
One named Jack and one named Jill.

Waddle away Jack. Waddle away Jill. (place hands behind back)
Come back Jack. Come back Jill. (bring hands back to the front)

Two little penguins sitting on the ice (hold up two fingers)
One bows once, the other bows twice (made index fingers bow)

Waddle little penguins. Waddle away. (put fingers behind back)
Come back penguins. Time to play! (bring fingers to the front)

Credit: King County Library System via Storytime Katie

Two Little Penguins Rhyme and Finger Puppet

Free finger puppet pattern from Craftiness is not Optional.

OPENING RHYME #2: The Polar Bear Game

Polar Bear, Polar Bear,
Where have you been?
I’ve been to play with another bear friend.
Where did you go to?
And what did you do?

We played a bear game two by two.
Take one step forward,
Take two steps back,
Turn all around, jump front, jump back.
This polar bear game,
Is not hard to do,
Just grab a partner and you do it too!

Credit Read Virginia

THEME & NONFICTION: Penguins and Polar Bears
Even though we often see pictures of polar bears and penguins together, they actually live on opposites ends of the earth.  Polar bears live in Arctic areas near the north pole and penguins live in southern Antarctic areas closer to the south pole.  So this means that polar bears and penguins never actually meet!

I like using these two nonfiction early readers from National Geographic to show some photographs of penguins and polar bears, and to share a few fun facts about each.

 National Geographic Penguins  National Geographic Polar Bears



Talk about how both male and female penguins cradle their eggs between their upturned toes and their featherless bellies to keep them warm.  After discussing, pass out shaker eggs, Easter eggs, tennis balls, (or other small spherical objects that you may have on hand!)  Ask children to try to balance an egg on their feet; then have them try to walk with the egg on their feet.  Give them a few minutes to try it out.  How far can they go without dropping the egg?  (Try this yourself ahead of time – it’s really difficult!)

Egg Challenge

BOOK 1: Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks
With its simple text, this book would be appropriate for both toddlers and preschoolers.  These two pen pals lives on opposite ends of the earth – and are opposite in many other ways too!  Big/tiny, white/black, loud/quiet, etc.  Each two page spread highlights an opposite, which makes for a fun guessing game in storytime.

Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks

FLANNEL RHYME: Five Perky Penguins

Five perky penguins, Stood on the shore
One went for a swim, And then there were four. (swimming motions)

Four perky penguins, Looked out to sea (look around)
One went swimming, And then there were three. (swimming motions)

Three perky penguins said, “What can we do?” (shrug shoulders)
One jumped in the water, And then there were two.

Two perky penguins, Sat in the sun.
One swam off, And then there was one. (swimming motions)

One perky penguin said, “This is no fun!”
He dived in the water, And then there were none.

Five Perky Penguins Free Printable from Sunflower Storytime

Click Here for Printable

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:  Hop on an Iceberg and Swim in the Sea

Spread sheets of white and blue paper around the room (if possible, have them taped to the floor ahead of time.)   Put some music on, and have children move and dance around the room. When you pause the music and call out “Hop on an iceberg!” children must find a white piece of paper and hop on it.  When you pause the music and call out “Swim in the Sea!” children must find a blue piece of paper and make swimming motions with their arms.  Give kids a chance to find the sheets of paper and complete the action before starting the music again.  I like both of these songs to use during this activity:

Doin’ the Penguin by Sesame Street

Doin' the Penguin by Sesame StreetPenguin Polka by Annie and the Natural Wonder Band

Penguin Polka by Annie and the Natural Wonder Band

BOOK 2: Archie the Daredevil Penguin by Andy Rash

What a silly and charming book!  Archie is a penguin who is afraid of “the creatures who lurk in the briny deep” so he refuses to swim. But he can’t let his friends know about this deep, dark secret – especially since he’s a daredevil penguin.  Best for preschoolers and kindergarteners (see additional resources for more book selections for toddlers.)

Archie the Daredevil Penguin by Andy Rash

Not only is the book hilarious, check out the book trailer that features a catchy-tune.  Love this!

ACTION SONG: Penguin Dance by Jack Hartman
A fun gross motor activity to get everyone moving!  This song starts with shaking your right flipper, then adds an additional movement with each verse  (left flipper, right leg, left leg, head, turn around.)  Teaches right/left, patterns, and following directions.

Penguin Dance by Jack Hartman

Watch a video of kids dancing to the song here.

BOOK 3: If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor

Not only is the book very informative, but it also has beautiful, realistic illustrations and fun lyrical text that goes through many gross motor movements – which encourages active participation!  Good for both toddlers and preschoolers.

If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor

CLOSING RHYME:  Polar Bear, Polar Bear Turn Around
Have children stand up and then match actions to the words of this rhyme.

Polar bear, polar bear turn around,
Polar bear, polar bear touch the ground,

Polar bear, polar bear bend down low,
Polar bear, polar bear touch your toe.

Polar bear, polar bear slide on the ice,
Polar bear, polar bear spin around twice,

Polar bear, polar bear reach up high,
Polar bear, polar bear wave goodbye.

Credit: Read Virginia

CLOSING SONG: See Ya by Carole and Paula in the Magic Garden
This is from a children’s TV show that was on in the 70’s called The Magic Garden.  I heard it on the radio a little while back, and have been feeling it lately.  It’s such a happy little song.  Hope you have “shiny day”!  You can listen to the song here on Vimeo.  You can purchase Carole and Paula’s CD here, or you can download the song for free from Television Tunes here.Carole and Paula in the Magic Garden

See ya.
Hope you had a good, good time.
Hope you’ll have a good, good mornin’.
Hope we get to see you again.

See ya.
Glad that you could stay a while.
Glad that we could say good mornin’ to ya.
Hope you’ll have a shiny day.
Bye now.
Hope you’ll have a shiny day.

CRAFT: Polar Bears and Penguins

These little polar bears and penguins are pretty easy to assemble.  Just cut out the pieces (I’ve included a printable template below) and then glue or tape them onto the upside-down cups.  To make these, you’ll need:

  • White Styrofoam or paper cups
  • Black, white, and yellow paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue or tape

Polar Bear and Penguin Craft from Sunflower Storytime

Polar Bear and Penguin Craft Template

Polar Bear and Penguin Craft Template

Additional Resources

There are so many good penguin and polar bear books, that it’s hard to choose.  Here are a few more favorites.

Virgil and Owen by Paulette Bogan
Virgil the penguin finds a lost polar bear Owen and decides that he will be his new best friend!  But Virgil wants Owen to be his friend, and his friend only.  A short story with a nice message about sharing and friendship.  Best for preschoolers.

I’m looking forward to the  newest release in the adventures of Virgil and Owen on January 27, 2016: Virgil and Owen Stick Together

10 Little Penguins Pop-up by Jean-Luc Fromental
A small book that packs a punch….a pop-up punch that is.  Count down from ten to zero as each penguin playfully disappears from the scene.

Penguin’s Hidden Talent by Alex Latimer
An off-beat and adorable book that will appeal to both preschoolers and parents.  Penguin is struggling to find a talent for the upcoming talent show.  He’s no good at burping the alphabet or swallowing a whole marlin, like his friends…what could his hidden talent be?

Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack
A sweet, rhyming book that you can sing to the tune of “Hush Little Baby.”

Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera


CRAFT: Penguin puppet
These cute little penguins are made out of black cardstock, and white and yellow paper.  They are taped onto popsicle sticks to make stick-puppets.
You can print out my pattern here

10 thoughts on “Penguins and Polar Bears

  1. Pingback: Storytime Themes | Dandelions & Roses

  2. Excellent little penguins – thank you so much! My library has the Magnet STEM Science Station from Lakeshore. I will be using the fishing pole and magnetized plastic fish from that kit and having the kids match the color fish to a cup with each of the penguins attached (I made a green penguin instead of the purple). Extra literacy reinforcement – I will have the color written in letters on the cup / bucket for them to notice. This is for an outreach activity. Thanks once again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was looking for something interactive for my penguin storytime and the egg challenge is such a neat idea. So simple, but I don’t think I would have ever thought of that. Thanks for the awesome idea, the kids will love it!

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. omg. Thank you for posting info about Magic Garden. I used to watch this show as a kid and used to love their record ( I still have it) but a CD would be awesome!! Also, the penguin ideas are great for storytime too 🙂 Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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