Penguin Party

After School Penguin Party -6yr- Iceburg Punch




Kathy in Glenview, IL, USA


January 2010


Runner Up


For my daughter's sixth birthday in December, we had a penguin party. It was at home and we had about 15 children. We had the party just after school let out for winter break, a few days before Christmas. 

INVITATIONS: I got light blue blank cards and matching envelopes at Michael's craft store. On each card, I glued an iceberg" made of white paper and then I let my daughter decorate each one with penguin stickers and some little fish stickers. Each card was different: some had the penguin standing some had it sliding some penguins had a fish in their flippers some had fish balanced on their heads.  For the text I wrote "WADDLE you be doing on (date)? For a COOL  start to the winter break please come to a party to celebrate Sophia's sixth year since hatching! Place: (Last Name) Research Station" and then the time etc. The invitation also said to wear black and white and that we would provide a penguin costume. 

DECORATIONS: Outside I had a bunch of balloons to mark our house in our theme colors of white black and orange and I hung a "penguin lantern" from the dollar store on our front door. In the living room I had a lot of little penguin cutouts from the teacher store plus some paper penguins that my daughters made themselves  taped on the walls and more balloons. I also removed the rug and instead taped down a blue plastic tablecloth on the floor. In the dining room there were some sparkly plastic snowflakes hanging from the doorway. There were also lots of decorations in our home office (see below). Up in our bedroom where the art activity was I had a large cardboard cutout penguin left over from a school book fair and some more balloons. 

ACTIVITIES: As the children arrived they could get a penguin costume --this was a black T shirt (I tried to watch and buy them on sale) with a piece of white felt sewn on the be the penguin's belly and a pair of orange socks to be the feet. Instead of buying orange socks for everyone (too expensive) I bought cheap white ones from Target and dyed them myself with Rit dye.  Once they were dressed the kids could go around to three stations. At the Art station (up in the master bedroom) they could make a penguin out of paper. I had pre-traced bodies wings and tummies out of black and white paper and the children could cut them out draw and cut their own beaks and feet out of orange paper glue everything together and add sticky-back googly eyes as the final touch.  At the Cooking station (in the dining room) they could make a sugar cube igloo. These were built on paper plates. There were stacks of sugar cubes and bowls of white icing and they could either stick the sugar cubes to an upside-down white paper cup to make a sort of dome shape or else just build a more free-form sort of fort with sugar cube walls but no paper cup. The igloos went into gallon ziplocs labeled with the child's name to take home.

The final station was the Penguin Playland. This was in our home office. I had a curtain of blue and white crepe paper hanging in the doorway. Inside I had moved all the small furniture out to the garage leaving only a desk and some tall bookshelves. I hung huge Styrofoam snowflakes from the dollar store all over the fronts of the bookshelves to partly cover up the books. There were also some paper snowflakes that my girls made. Around the top of the bookshelves I hung a blue and silver tinsel garland and the room also had another big cutout penguin like the one in the bedroom. On one blank wall I taped up a bunch of penguin cutouts and igloo cutouts from the teacher store. The Playland had four activities. On the desktop (which was empty; I had cleared off the computer) I put a white tablecloth and then added 300 cotton balls for snowballs and two dozen little plastic penguins from the teacher store (These later went home as party favors). Besides the cotton balls the desk top also had a couple of Little People playgrounds for the penguins to play in. Next to the desk in the corner by the bookshelves I had a big pile of large cardboard brick blocks which I had wrapped in white paper (just like wrapping a present) to make igloo blocks. There were some stuffed penguins (dollar store) and a stuffed snowman to go in the igloo too. On the other side of the office there was a little table with white playdough with white glitter in it with playdough tools a muffin pan and winter-themed cookie cutters.  In the last corner was a blue plastic wading pool full of four gallons "Insta Snow" from Steve Spangler Science with bowls and spoons to dig in it. This fake snow was a BIG hit; I would definitely recommend it for any winter-themed party! It does not "pack but the kids had a blast digging it, sprinkling it, etc. 

STORY: After the stations, we gathered in the living room to read one of my daughter's favorite stories, Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. We also read Antarctic Antics a book of funny penguin poems by Judy Sierra. The kids especially enjoyed the one about how penguin parents regurgitate their food to feed the baby penguins! And right after that, it was time for lunch.

LUNCH: I had three tin buckets full of food --one of chicken nuggets, one of fish sticks, and one of tater tots. (It was really tempting to toss the food at the kids and see if they could catch it in their mouths, but I thought their mothers might object.) To go with the bucket food, we had a tray of octopus-shaped hot dogs labeled squid." To make the octopus/squid hot dogs you cut a hot dog across in half. (Each hotdog makes two squid.) Then hold one half by the round end and make a cut up through the flat end to within about a half-inch from the round end. (The cut part on the flat end will be the legs and the uncut part on the round end will be the head.) Now turn the knife and make another cut so that the flat end has two cuts in it that look like a cross. Now make one more diagonal cut. Now you have make three cuts and that makes six legs. I have tried making one more cut the other way diagonally so that the octopus actually has eight legs but this makes the legs very skinny and the octopus kind of unstable. Just six legs is OK. Now drop the squid a few at a time into a pot of simmering water and cook for a few minutes. The legs will spread apart and curl making very cute little squid shapes! We also served baby carrots  blue Jello Jigglers cut in cubes and goldfish crackers. To drink we had chocolate milk or water. The kids had to eat sitting on the living room floor but they didn't mind. 

GAMES: After lunch we had some games. First there was Musical Icebergs --just like Musical Chairs but using white paper "icebergs" instead of chairs. For the music we burned a mix CD of lots of different penguin-themed kids' songs that we found on I-tunes (just run a search on "penguins and select all the songs that are categorized as children's music." Then we had  Penguin Waddle Relay. I divided the group into two teams. Each child had his or her ankles tied together with a strip of cloth and each team had a "penguin egg" which was a big round white beanbag filled with rice. Each child had to take a turn balancing the egg on top of his or her feet while waddling across the room and back and then passing the egg to the next teammate. If the egg fell the child had to stop and put it back on. This turned out to be basically impossible for the kids so I told them they could just push it along with their feet. Maybe waddling with the "egg" between their knees would have been better. I had planned another game called  Rescue the Penguin Chicks Relay where I had planned on having two baskets each containing a stuffed penguin buried in Styrofoam packing peanuts. I was going to explain that these chicks had gotten covered with snow and we had to rescue them before they suffocated. But we couldn't just whack away the snow with our flippers because we might hurt the chicks --we had to pinch it off a little at a time with our beaks! Each team would have had a pair of plastic tongs and the kids would have taken turns running to the basket and pinching off the Styrofoam peanuts with the tongs to uncover the baby penguins. But we ran out of time and did not play this after all.  For other ideas of course you could always play Pin the Hat on the Penguin or else make a big cardboard penguin with a hole in its mouth and try to toss beanbag fish through the hole. 

CAKE AND PRESENTS: After the games we had cake. I served the penguin cupcakes from the Family Fun website where you take a white-frosted cupcake and use three chocolate cookie halves to make the penguin's head and wings. The eyes were white frosting with chocolate chips. For the beaks and feet I used candy corn except that six of the cupcakes had an orange candle for the beak instead. They turned out really cute! With the cupcakes we had individual ice cream cups which I had made in advance and frozen on a tray. These were clear plastic cups each containing three mini-scoops of ice cream --one scoop of chocolate one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of orange sherbet. For the drink we had blue Hawaiian Punch served in a punch bowl with "icebergs" floating in it. I made the icebergs by freezing water in Dixie cups. After the cupcakes my daughter opened her gifts and gave out party favors. These were penguin-decorated cellophane bags from the dollar store each containing a mini Arctic Life sticker book from Dover Publications a plastic penguin from the playland a foil-wrapped chocolate peanut butter penguin (three for a dollar at the dollar store) and a plastic penguin cup (four for a dollar) full of candy --we had more gummy penguins that I bough online gummy fish and gummy lobsters from L.L.Bean (because they were so cute and I thought that maybe penguins could eat lobsters). 

THANK-YOU NOTES: For the thank you notes I used a box of penguin-themed holiday cards from Walgreen's."

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