Animals of Antarctica

Animals of Antarctica
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Snow Small World

We love penguins here. We have dancing penguins, singing penguins, regular stuffed penguin and plain ol’ plastic penguins from Safari TOOBs. We also read many many penguin books- Big A’s favorites being  Flip and Flop  and  Pierre the Penguin . Often at times she picks out a reference book to be read during her bedtime ( I know funny! and I even try to gently deter her from picking out “reference books”)  But she doesn’t care. Young minds are still uncorrupted  with regards to norms and rituals. A giant book on reptiles is still a good bedtime book for them. These days she picks out  National Geographic for kids –Penguins.  To quote her we are doing a “penguin project”.  This morphed into a South Pole habitat creating activity. In other words we had good fun with the “South Pole small world play”

Things you need
  •  2 bars of ivory soap
  • shredded toilet paper
  • whisk
  • open tray or any container to mix the soap
  • I used a pizza box to set up the scene
  • blue food color
  • yogurt container lid or any circular object
  • shaving cream –optional
  • Plastic polar animals
  • List of animals that inhabit the region in a easy to identify manner

We started off making clean mud for our fake ice. I realize that the usual recipe for clean mud calls for shredding your soap bars, but I just did not follow that one this time around. Big A wanted to see the “ivory soap explosion” and the younger one “me too”ed it. Heading to their cute requests demands, I popped a bar of soap on a paper towel in the microwave. It amazes them. every.single.time. The soap just blows up and expands into this soft pliable cloud looking clump. Let it cool for a minute and it ready for play. We blew up 2 soap bars and started shredding some toilet paper.

Mom approved tearing activity is always fun and this time we managed to tear the pieces into equal sizes-there you go that’s for some math.  We did so much math yesterday!  Then we added some hot water to the soap + paper mix and the girls started whisking away. Once the mixture has cooled down, we used our hands to explore our clump. Girls had their go at some sensory play while squishing the mixture and made into a perfect consistency. Big A tried making a snow ball, a mountain , a icy lake etc. Unfortunately  they really were not allowed to splash soap at each other since we need to save the soap to make “South Pole”

Once they were done with sensory play, we transferred the “ice” to the pizza box with its corners painted white to go with the theme.  We smoothed it flat using a spoon actually – you could be better and use a spatula and unleash the baker in you and frost it like a cake. Once smoothed, Big A wanted to “make some water” for the animals. If it is all ice, they can’t drink it. “let’s make some water”. Yogurt lid to the rescue- cover it up with some more ice and add blue food coloring .

We brought our our animals using a list I had prepared.

Big A used her list to collect her polar animals from this messy pile of more animals.

This was a good time to explain to her one more time they polar bears and penguins don’t live in the same place even though they both like ice That’s that. She set up her animals in their new habitat and played pretend very enthusiastically for a long time. I talked to her about food chain. Right about now she seems to be ok with the idea that seals get eaten and eat other animals. She can’t fathom the idea that seals and “cute orcas” are mean animals (predators) This time she casually said “ seals eat penguins because they also need food” Last year she said “ Why can’t they eat something else like plants or something” Good progress with the reality thing.

While talking to her about food chain, she sassed me and moved the orca to the ocean because “ orcas don’t lie around on ice, they live in water”

  

Oh to up the cute factor a bit, I made a “South Pole” sign. I also used a bit of shaving foam to create ice bergs. Big A wanted to glam it up with glitter. Here is our glamed up south pole.

Everything after this point was all Big A. She created many many “predator-prey” stories. While I was thinking “ may be I did lot of serious stuff because I hear a zoology lesson for pretend play” and bam! like that “ A knight and a brave princess come to protect the penguins from the seals. Along come a army of puppies to play with the penguins.. Relieved- alright my little 4 year old girl is still there.

Learning de jour
  • New animal habitats
  • Polar bears don’t live with penguins even though they both like ice
  • Food chain – predators and preys
  • Gather materials needed for the project using a picture list.
  • Language through pretend play.
  • If you have older kids you could discuss
  • Global Warming
  • Harsh life in the Antarctic regions and how their delicate ecosystem could easily be disturbed by man
Note: All the animals used for play may not be theoretically correct – like Harbor Seals don’t inhabit the south pole etc. only leopard seals are present. But we are playing with a 4 year old right? Please visit Angelique Felix to participate in the World Animal Day link up.

Thanks for reading

Happy Sharing

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