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Penguin Math Counters for Preschool Studying

January 21, 2023
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Create this adorable penguin math counters for hours of counting fun with your child or class. This eco learning craft gives children the opportunity to paint their own penguin and practice hands on fun with a playful penguin theme.

DIY ECO Craft Lid Penguins for Preschool Learning

When I saw this penguin counter post at First Grader at Last, I just knew it would be perfect concept for our playful preschool penguin unit. She has a great list of how you could use them in a first grade classroom or with your grade schooler at home.

Love2Learn2Day also made very similar penguins for math game pieces and Books2BridgeMiles daughter made 100 penguin counters using rocks. My mind got spinning right away.

  • How could these be used with children ages 3-5?
  • How could I make these with the supplies I had?
  • Could I make them with recycled materials?

And the Lid Penguin Counters were born. They are as easy to make as 1. 2. 3.

Disclosure: Affiliate Links used in this article.

Activity: Penguin Math Counters


  • Lids of varying sizes (washed and dry)
  • Acrylic paint (black, orange, and white)
  • Paint brush

Parenting Tip: Sometimes it is hard for me to let my kids do crafts all on their own. I have an idea of how I want things to look, and it would be nice for things to look pretty. (Especially since I know that YOU are going to be seeing the outcomes and I find it hard to bite my tongue and just let THEM do it.)

But the whole reason I blog is to enrich the lives of my children and so I remind myself that you, parents and teachers of young children understand and appreciate things that are kid made.

I had my 4 year old making the counters pictured and my 7 year old asked to join in (how could I say no) so these are, in fact, kid made. Not “picture perfect” but pretty darn cute.It is amazing what kids can accomplish if we just step back and let them do it.

Directions to Make the Penguin Lid Counters:

  1. Paint the tops and sides of each lid black
  2. When the black is dry, add an oval for the stomach and 2 circles for the eyes with white (great shape review)
  3. Lastly, add an orange beak, feet, and black pupils for the eyes.

Ideas on How to Use the Counters to Teach Preschool Concepts:

  1. Write the numbers 0-5 on pieces of paper. Have you child choose a number, read that number, and then gather the correct number of counters.  (Number Recognition and Number Sense
  2. Have your child grab a handful of counters, line them up and count how many there are. (Counting and Number Sense)
  3. Play, “How Many More?”  Set 3 counters on the floor and ask your child, “How many more penguins would we need to make 5 all together?” (Beginning Addition)
  4. Sort the lids by size, use a variety of vocabulary words such as; tiny, small, little, giant, big, large to describe the groupings. (Math vocabulary and Sorting by a Variety of Attributes)
  5. Make a penguin pattern based on the sizing.  Use a variety of patterns such as ABABAB, AABAAB. Encourage your child to predict what would come next. (Patterning)

Our 1 year old thought these penguin lid counters were lots of fun to feed the penguin box from last week. He had the older 2 kiddos in a fit of giggles, because the large ones wouldn’t fit in the hole and he got sooo MAD. We ended up let him use the smaller counters- with supervision of course and he liked that much better.

Preschool Penguin Activities

Playful Preschool activity ideas.

*Parenting a grade schooler? Here are some cute penguin writing prompts to print.

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