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Shape Penguins: A First Grade Math and Art Activity

By Tracey Bleakley

Make these cute penguins with your first graders as part of a penguin or winter themed unit. This math and art activity is also great for reviewing the names of the shapes.

Art is a great way to teach and review geometry concepts with young children. This penguin art activity is a fun way to review shapes with first graders and to incorporate some math into your penguin theme.

Shape Penguin Art Activity

Shape Penguin Materials: For each child you will need...

  • One large, white oval for the penguin's body
  • Two smaller, narrower black ovals for the wings
  • One black circle for the head
  • One small yellow or orange diamond for the beak
  • Two small blue circles for the eyes
  • Two small yellow or orange trapezoids for the feet
  • Glue

Prior Knowledge

Begin this lesson by reading a new book about penguins. A few good choices are Penguin Chick by Betty Tathum, The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins or Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra.


Give the students the shapes they need to make the penguins. If you don't want to have them pre cut for the students you can make templates for them to trace around and then they can cut their own shapes. Review the names and properties of each shape and have the students find each shape and hold it up. Tell them that they are going to use their shapes to make a penguin.

Show the class a model of the penguin and then explain how to put the shapes together to make the penguins. Show them that to make the beak, they need to fold the diamond in half and glue one side onto the head. The students can then begin glueing their shapes together.

When they are finished the penguins can be displayed on a winter bulletin board. You can also have the students glue them on a large piece of paper and draw and color a winter scene around them.


You can assess the students knowledge of shapes by asking them to point out and tell you the names of the different shapes they used to make their penguins.


If you are using the penguins for a bulletin board display, give the students white paper and show them how to fold and cut snowflakes out of circles and squares. This is a great way to continue discussing shapes and to introduce or review the concept of symmetry. Add the snowflakes to the bulletin board.

Your first graders will have a great time reviewing shapes with this penguin art activity.