Penguin Art Project

Colorful penguin art project that use simple supplies and teaches a bunch of art techniques. Makes a cute Xmas craft, too!If you are looking for an expressive, easy and impressive penguin art project, look no further! These adorable penguins are quite easy to complete in two, 40-minute sessions and use simple art supplies. I’ve seen so many adorable penguin art projects, but my favorite are these. Thank you Mountain Color!


To start, paint a 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper with puck tempera paints. I use puck tempera paint purely for the ease of prep. You can set the palettes on the table and whisk them off after the lesson is done…no cleaning or wasting paints.  I asked the children to create a colorful background for the penguins but didn’t give them any guidelines other than they could use as many or a little paint colors as they liked. In my demonstration, I used all the paint colors and paint horizontal stripes, so many children copied me, but many children created dots, patterns, full colors, etc.

To make the penguin, I gave each student a piece of black and white sulphite paper. I showed the children how to make a large letter “U” on the back of the black paper. I cut it out and made a smaller letter “U” on the white paper. Cut out the white paper and place white paper on black paper. For the wings, I showed the children how to fold a piece of black paper in half and draw a skinny letter “D”. They cut the double paper out for the two wings.


On the second day of this lesson, the children drew an iceberg on white sulphite paper using a blue chalk pastel. They cut the iceberg out and glued it to the colorful background. Once the iceberg is in place, the penguin can find it’s home on the iceberg.

Now comes the truly FUN part: decorating!

I set out scrap paper, scraps of burlap, buttons, oil pastels, yarn and palettes of white paint and q-tips. The children made hats, mitts, snowflakes, purses, scarves and all sorts of wonderfully creative things. It’s so rewarding to walk around the art room and see busy little hands and happy faces. I couldn’t believe (honestly) that the children were able to complete this project in time, but they did. After thinking about it, I decided that because the skills required were not too challenging and because the project was quite simple to start and fun to finish, the children never lost concentration.

I hope you give this one a try…it’s a keeper!!! Aren’t my first graders an artistic bunch?

Colorful penguin art project that use simple supplies and teaches a bunch of art techniques. Makes a cute Xmas craft, too!

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  1. Tanya says:

    These are so cute. I’m wondering if my 3 year old could do it. Maybe with a lot of help. It would still be a fun project to do with him. He loves when we do crafts. He always carries them around for the next few days showing everyone he sees.

    • Patty Palmer says:

      This would be a fun project with your little guy…perhaps give him 2 or 3 colors to paint the background and then he could hep glue the bits and pieces to his penguin. Have fun!

  2. Meredith Kaur says:

    Hi Patty,
    I am a high school science teacher, and I really enjoy reading your blog. I use Google Reader to subscribe, and I noticed sometime in the past 2 weeks or so, it seems like you switched formats. I can’t read the whole post in Reader anymore, but I have to click over to your website to see the “full post” and I was just wondering why you changed the format and if you have any plans to change it back? I really dislike it this way.
    Thanks for all the great lessons and art projects! It’s been great reading :)
    Meredith Kaur

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Hi Meredith,
      I switched over to truncating my RSS feeds for many reasons, but mostly to protect my content. Many blogs are opting to do this. I’m sorry you don’t like having to click to my blog but I probably won’t change it. I put so much work into my blog and offer so many free posts and resources that I do prefer people read my blog on my site rather than never clicking through. I know that I personally prefer truncated posts as it takes me much less time to scroll through my reader and click through to the posts I really want to read, instead of scrolling through hundreds of full posts and photos.
      Thanks for voicing your opinions though. I appreciate the feedback.

      • Meredith Kaur says:

        I understand. It’s a real shame you have to worry at all about your content. It’s such an awful thing to think about people ripping you off. Well I’m still subscribed so I may be reading less, but we’ll see. Thanks for sharing your opinions as well.
        Thanks for all the great lessons, even this science teacher has learned a few things :)

  3. Those penguins are adorable. Makes me want to go read “Tacky!” The collage bits really add a lot of character.
    PS- I fully support your decision to truncate your blog in feeds. It used to annoy me but in the past months I’ve learned a little more about “pirate” blogs that steal and republish content. Not cool at all. A click through is certainly worth all the goodness at DSS!!

  4. Rina says:

    Hi Patty

    These are so wonderful! The colored background is a fabulous backdrop. The penguin decorations are adorable. Love that it only takes two classes (and uses tempera cakes!).

  5. Maris King says:

    Very impressive! Those penguins are really cute and I love the way it was being made.
    I love it so much cos there are some methods on how to do it. Thanks!

  6. J.R. Cooper says:

    I love these! The contrast between the background and the penguin is spectacular. I especially love how I could use this to get rid of some of my old wallpaper samples!

  7. Kathy Dailey says:

    These are just adorable! I’m going to try them in my kindergarten class this month. We may have to simplify them a little sincer we have a half day program but I know they will just LOVE the bright, funky penguins!! Reminds me of my bright, funky kinders!

  8. Risë Tyloch says:

    I plan to do this with my first graders. Love it!

  9. Sarah Rudland says:

    Thank you so much for this adorable art project! My firsties are going to do them in Art Station this week and I am so excited to see what they come up with! I’m going to have them all paint their background tomorrow morning when they first come in so they’ll be dry for whatever day they go to art station. This is just perfect for our penguin theme this week!! THANKS!!!

  10. Karla Boughton says:

    Thank you so much for this site! I am my son’s 1st grade art docent with more “crafty” than art experience. I’ve used two of your projects so far, and will be doing these adorable penguins this Friday. I only have one day, so I’ll be using pastels instead of paint, but I think the impact will still be there. Again, thank you for your generous website. I’m excited to see what the littles come up with…

  11. [...]  Of course there has to be an art project included in there somewhere. I saw this one recently on Deep Space Sparkle and knew it was perfect!  Caitlyn actually held out through the whole project, followed directions [...]

  12. [...] Space Sparkle (Art Lessons For Kids) has a Penguin Art Project for kids that looks like so much fun I want to do it too. Also, this blog is pretty awesome. I was [...]

  13. Nikki says:

    Thank you for posting this! I got a ton of fleece donated and it went perfectly with this lesson a couple of months ago. I also started it by reading Tacky the Penguin!

  14. Kelley Wilson says:

    I love this one too. I teach at schools where reading is a real priority. Therefore love having a good book to read to relate or tie into my lesson. This lesson would go great with “Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!” by Bob Barner. The book is basic, but I love the bio on Bob Barner as I often enjoy sharing the story of the illustrator as much as I do reading the book. Barner started drawing when he was three. I would ask my first grade class, “when did you start drawing?” imagine the responses! lol I love when I can make connections and tie in personal experiences. This will be fun for a winter unit. :-)

  15. [...] Penguin Art Project for second grade. Penguins are pretty cute little guys and based on how many times this project was pinned (over 12K!) it seems as though everyone else likes penguins too. What I loved most about this lesson is that we didn’t use templates and instead created our own little bodies. I adapted this lesson from an art studio and the one element I loved was using the warm and cool painted backgrounds. [...]

  16. [...] ΥΓ: Το link από το οποίο πήραμε την ιδέα είναι το [...]

  17. Eric says:

    Good morning,
    I’m a french teacher in an elementary school.

    Thank you for this great ideas ! They are very cute this little pinguins !

    For christmas, we’re going to make this animals.

    have a nice day

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Bonjour, Eric!
      That’s as much french as I know. Glad you found my blog an enjoy this lessons. It was so much fun to do.

  18. Sandy says:

    Love this project! I loved how you taught them to make the penguin by making a large letter u and wings with the letter d. Great visual.

  19. dolores says:

    I love this art lesson. Every piece comes out differently and gives the students a chance to make their own decisions on colors, shapes and increasing their art skills. As an art teacher (30+ yrs.) I have turned myself inside out trying to explain/convince elementary self contained classroom teachers that “doing art” doesn’t mean you solve all the problems for them. (aka artwork that has everything all cut out and all that remains are the mechanical no-brainer parts)

    And more for elementary classroom teachers: It also doesn’t mean that by using art supplies that your project is an ART project. It’s a (science, social studies, etc.) project using art supplies. It’s an unending battle, I swear.

    Keep up the good work! I would definitely try this one out for K-1 grades. Painting, cutting skills, visual skills, gluing skills – and just plain fun! You’re a good art teacher….

  20. IzzyLotte says:

    Hi Patti -

    Love the penguins!!! Wondering if you have a “tip” for getting the kids to cut hats/coats/etc…. the appropriate size …. ??? I can see my kinders cutting out hats that are the size of a 50 cent piece!

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Hi Izzy,
      You have to demo the process. I show the kids how to make scarves and hats by placing a small piece of paper next to the penguin and making a mark with an oil pastel. It always helps to place small squares of paper in a bin so kids don’t end up cutting huge pieces of paper.

  21. Alexi says:

    Hi! So happy I found your blog! Such nice art projects for my firsties! I was wondering what your evaluation criteria would be for this project?

    Thanks ! :)

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Hi Alexi,
      I don’t have to assess my students for skill levels but if I did, I would keep my focus on how well the children draw their penguin shape and put the pieces together. It’s not always intuitive for all kids. Another thing to watch for is how creative a child creates his penguin decorations. One of my students took great care in providing a realistic environment for her penguin while another student created a whimsical home. Both were thought out and executed well.

  22. Lynne says:

    Hi Patty,

    These are awesome! I love penguin crafts and am always looking for new ideas for my Kindergarten class. Love the method of using the letters U and D to make the body.
    Thanks so much.

  23. Amanda says:

    I just adore penguins and learning about them. This week I posted 101+ activities and crafts to do with a penguin theme and included a link back to this post. It was sooo cute. I hope our readers stop by and visit your site! Thank you for inspiring others to draw, learn, and connect with their children.

  24. [...] you, Patty Palmer, for this fun penguin collage project [...]

  25. Penguins says:

    […] From Deep Space Sparkle, see these instructions for making wonderful Penguin Collages. […]

  26. Susana says:

    Love the penguin art project! My kindergarteners really enjoyed it

  27. Susan Smith says:

    Would love to have this as my Christmas card. Have you thought about a print of this or selling cards?

  28. Joseph DR says:

    Excellent art project, Patty! I am doing this with my first and kinder kids. They’re having lots of fun :O)

  29. Mrs KW says:

    I pinned these a while ago and my class finished them today. Absolutely adorable. Penguins are now on the west coast of Scotland!!

  30. […] Polly Dunbar is simply the most adorable book ever and that’s good because these wintery penguins are the most adorable penguin project ever. It’s a perfect […]

  31. says:

    I did this project with my 2nd grade classes and they came out wonderful! We received lots of compliments from the teachers and staff!

  32. […] Vibrant Penguin Art Project paint the background, cut a U in black and a smaller one in white for the body, cut 2 Ds for the arms, use blue chalk/pastel to draw an iceberg then cut it out and glue onto picture with penguin glued to iceberg – then intro mixed media items for decorating (yarn, buttons, white paint for finger paint snowflakes…) Fabulous Fabulous idea from Deep SpaceSparkle […]

  33. […] since it’s soooooooo cold out, they totally fit in great. Ha! So the project idea came from here, and was changed and adapted a little bit, but not […]

  34. khalpana says:

    I love this penguin project, planning to do with preschool class. Is there any recommendation of picture book.

    • Patty Palmer says:

      There is a cute Oliver Jeffers book, Lost and Found, that is great with this lesson. Also, Penguin by Polly Dunbar.

  35. […] The inspiration for this assignment came from Deep Space Sparkle. […]

  36. […] project is inspired by Art with Ms Gram and Deep Space Sparkle! Click to check out their versions […]

  37. […] How adorable are these penguins at Deep Space Sparkle? Dress them up differently in funky […]

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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