Build A Penguin Winter World

Jan 7, 2016

There are certain themes that seem to universally engage children—dinosaurs, construction trucks and spaceships are a few. Then, there are other less common but still popular fascinations.

It just so happens that my three-year-old son and my seven-year-old niece both declared their affection for penguins recently. Quite a timely topic to explore in the winter!

Before delving into the Antarctic world of penguins, we first decided to make the penguin inhabitants.

You Will Need:

  • a set of wooden peg dolls (available in most craft stores)
  • acrylic paints (white, black and orange)
  • paint brushes
  • black permanent marker (optional)
  • pipe cleaners (optional) 
  • acrylic varnish (optional)


1. I started by roughly painting white areas on the peg dolls, where the penguin's faces and bellies would be.

After letting them dry, I outlined the edges of faces, bellies and feet. This can be done with a thin permanent marker or a thin brush and black acrylic paint.

Next, I painted all the black parts, including the eyes. Last, I added orange beaks and feet. The little penguins got scarves made from pipe cleaners.

How to paint peg dolls so they look like penguins.

While I was working on a few penguins at once, my niece made one as well, so we got a big happy penguin family.

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2. We left the penguins to dry for half an hour or so. Once dry, acrylics are generally not water-soluble, but if you have acrylic varnish around, you can add a layer on top to preserve all the paints.

4 penguin peg dolls.

Now the penguins needed a place to live! We have just moved from the mild winter in Southern Ontario to the cold winter in Saskatchewan and my son cannot get enough of playing in the snow.

The temperatures outside are often not great for spending a long time playing in the backyard, so we brought some snow inside in a tub. There we built our penguin world!

I turned a plastic margarine container upside down, cut a door and covered it in snow—it became a little igloo.

4 penguins in an Antarctic scene made from snow.

A blue bowl with blue marbles turned into a breathing hole in the ice. We made a snow slide for penguins and built a miniature snowman. 

When evening came into the snowy world, the penguin family gathered around an LED-candle bonfire.

Penguins huddle around a LED tealight

Then, the next day they had a lot of other adventures!

Both my seven-year-old niece and my three-year-old son enjoyed playing in the snow with their newly made penguins!

Article Author Liska Myers
Liska Myers

Read more from Liska here.

When not constructing lego towers and measuring the depth of puddles with her son, Liska likes to work on toys for him. Her blog Adventure in a Box is a collection of ideas on how to fill a playroom with unique homemade toys: build a fairy tree house, cut shadow puppets, give a makeover to old wooden blocks and so on. Liska also enjoys reading, painting, and exploring outdoors. You can follow her family's life and adventures on her blog, Facebook and Instagram.