a friendship story
a friendship story

Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon is a delightful story of a friendship, separation, and reunion between a Penguin and a Pinecone.   The book is wonderfully illustrated and will capture the interest of young children (and those who are young at heart!).  It is one of our children’s favorite books and is sure to become one of yours, too!



The activities offered are extension activities to use with young children after reading and discussing the story.   The suggestions below are designed for children ages 3-7, but adaptations are given, where possible, for slightly older or younger children.

Fingerprint and Thumbprint Penguins

Fingerprint and Thumbprint Penguin Craft

Materials needed:  Black/White/Orange Tempera Paint, Paintbrushes, Paint Smocks/Trays (or an old T-Shirt and Paper Plates), White “Scratch” Paper (to practice printing), and Heavy Blue Paper (for the final prints).

Invite the children to create the prints by assembling all the materials on a large tray or a table.  Tell the children they are creating Penguins and ask them to practice dipping their thumbs and index fingers into black paint and making prints on a separate sheet of practice paper.  To make the Penguins:  have the children make one index finger print for the head and one thumb print underneath the head for the Penguin’s body.  Once the children are comfortable making prints, provide each child with a sheet of heavy blue paper.  After making the Penguins, allow the prints to thoroughly dry.

When the black Penguins are dry, the children can add a white print on top of the black “body” thumbprint (our kids used their pinky fingers to make the white tummy prints).  **Note:  make sure the black prints are thoroughly dry or you’ll end up with GREY Penguin tummies!

The children may wish to add other features to their Penguin crafts:  our kids used the non-brush end of  paintbrushes to make the eyes (white dots and then black centers) and an orange nose/dots for the feet.

Older children may wish to make a background for their craft with pinecones, snow, pinetrees, or any other scenes from the book.

Penguin and Pinecone Math and Literacy Puzzles

DIY Math and Literacy Penguin Puzzles

Materials needed:  Pre-cut Blank Puzzle Pieces, Penguin Stickers, Black Permanent Markers, and Smocks (or old t-shirts) to protect clothing.

There are various ways to use blank puzzle pieces to create math and literacy centers/games for use at home or in the classroom.  Below are just a few suggestions:


  • Make 2 piece puzzles:  Mark any puzzle piece with a number the children have had introduced.  The children should then place the corresponding number of Penguin Stickers on the second puzzle piece.   The children could also match a numbered puzzle piece to the number word, tally marks, or dots.
  • Make 3 piece puzzles with any of the above:  Numbers, Number Words, Tally Marks, Dots, and/or Penguin Stickers.
  • Make 4 piece puzzles with any of the above:  Numbers, Number Words, Tally Marks, Dots, and/or Penguin Stickers (we made sets of 4 piece puzzles in the photo above).
  • Make 5 piece puzzles with any of the above:  Numbers, Number Words, Tally Marks, Dots, and/or Penguin Stickers.


  • Make 2 piece puzzles where the children write or stamp an uppercase letter on one piece and a lowercase letter on the second piece.  The children might also write/stamp a word on one piece and the BEGINNING letter of the word on another piece.
  • Make 3 piece puzzles – CVC words or any word families the children are working on
  • Make 4 piece puzzles – CVVC, CCVC, CVCe, etc.

We’d love to hear how you and your children use blank puzzle pieces to create various games to play!  Leave us a comment below when you have a chance to explore, play, and create!

The Penguin and the Pinecone Stacking Cups

Penguin Stacking Cups

Materials needed:  10 Black paper or plastic cups and Penguin Stickers (per child/group/or set desired).

The stacking cups are so simple to make, but it is one of our favorite centers.  Set the cups out and have the children peel and press the Penguin stickers to the cups (stickers are a challenging fine motor task!).

Games to play:  

  • Stack the cups on top of each other  (can set a timer for individual races).
  • Stack the cups in a pyramid formation (ask smaller groups to make their own designs).
  • Play “What’s Missing” with 2 or more cups:  Show the children two or more small items. Have one child hide the objects, one at a time, under the stacking cups.  The other children should then close their eyes, while one item is removed from underneath the cups.  When the children open their eyes they must guess which items has been removed.  As the children gain confidence in playing the game, add more cups and additional items.
  • Make “kindness” cups and label a cup with each child’s name.  The children can write/stamp notes to each other on slips of paper and place the notes inside the cups.  It makes a fun writing station/center for the kids!  Be sure to read some of the notes each day to encourage kindnesses in the classroom or at home!

We hope your children enjoy reading, exploring, and playing with Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon!

For MORE Winter Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten, see the Winter Theme here on the blog!

For a Science Activity, visit The Life Cycle of a Conifer Tree!

Blank Puzzle Pieces

Black Paper Cups

Penguin Stickers

Disclosure:  The Preschool Toolbox is a participating member in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

By admin

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