Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater was originally published in 1938. The book has withstood the test of time as a classic chapter book for kids ages 7-10. The whimsical book finds a house painter enthralled with South Pole penguins. After he receives one penguin (and then more), he transforms his basement into an ice rink and silly adventures follow. The story is delightful to read together – third or fourth graders can read the book independently, too. After reading, gather your Wikki Stix as kids will have fun creating a silly, yet effective, “penguin poop” popping craft. What’s better than reading, creating, and getting outside to see just how far “penguin poop” can really fly?!
Materials needed for the Penguin Popper Craft:
- White, Black, and Orange Wikki Stix
- One balloon (per craft)
- One empty cardboard tube
- Free printable cardboard tube cover – print here.
While reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins, kids begin to visualize ALL of those penguins in one house. While the book is a work of fiction, older kids always comment about the amount of work it would be to clean up penguin poop in their own house – “My dad makes me clean out the rabbit cage and we just have ONE rabbit!” The Wikki Stix penguin poop popper craft, while silly in name, is an effective launching tool to propel an item through the air. Kids can launch some “penguin poop” of their own after creating the craft below.
- Print the black covers for the cardboard tubes from the printable above (one per craft).
- Kids can cut out the rectangle and cover their cardboard tubes with the black paper.
- Kids can then design any penguin body they wish with white, black, and orange Wikki Stix (see the photo below for an example). Note: it’s easier for kids to create the penguin body, beak, and eyes on a table, and then lift the Wikki Stix penguin body and press it firmly to the cardboard tube.
- Cut one orange balloon in half and tie the opening closed. Place the balloon opening around the bottom portion of the Wikki Stix penguin craft. This will become the penguin popper.
- Kids can then create “penguin poop” by making a ball from 3 Wikki Stix (any color). Place the Wikki Stix created ball into the cardboard tube penguin popper. Pull the tied end of the balloon and LET GO!
- Take the penguin popper crafts outside (or in a large open inside room) and see how far penguin poop can fly. Note: make sure kids know not to use the penguin poppers in small areas as the popper can send the Wikki Stix ball quite a distance. Poppers shouldn’t be aimed at other’s faces, but pointed away from people and into a wide-open space.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins and the Wikki Stix Penguin Poop Popper craft are great winter boredom busters for kids. Challenge your own kids to an outdoor penguin poop popping contest and measure the distance from each of the Wikki Stix created penguin poppers. It’s a fun play for winter or anytime of the year.
For more fun ways to play with Wikki Stix this winter, please visit: