Building on the messages from The Penguin Party

Below are some suggestions and practical ideas on how you can make the most out of The Penguin Party and the resilience-building messages it contains. What other activities and practices would you also recommend doing? Let us know!

We collaborated with early years psychologists, published experts in early years and primary school teachers to ensure that the messages in the book, whilst complex in nature, are presented in a way that is accessible and engaging for young children.

The book is a keepsake which families and children will return to as children grow, to illustrate or spark a conversation about their own worth, or about a specific life value that families want to discuss.

From birth to 2 years old

It's the perfect time to build the foundations! Focus on building the child's engagement with the book and its characters.

  • Talk about the party and how it was thrown especially to celebrate the child's arrival (as a baby)
  • Explore the illustrations, pointing out the colours and the different penguins
  • Ask the child to identify themselves in the story as well as their family
  • Above all, make it fun!

2 to 5 years old

Children will be developing their self-awareness and establishing a set of beliefs about themselves. The book can help them to explore the many positive attributes they already have within themselves. Whilst their understanding that other children don’t always think and feel the same way as them is still developing (see theory of mind), children will know to say thank you and sorry (although they may see it more as a set of rules/process to follow). At this age, we can help them to develop their empathy and to understand that being grateful and forgiving should be more about the emotions and feelings they trigger than the process.
Read more about how self-awareness develops

Example activities to engage with the book:
- Ask the child who their favourite penguin is, how each penguin is dressed
- Ask them about the party and what the penguins are celebrating
- Ask who is the chiefess, what her role is and what she does in the story
- Draw their favourite penguin character(s)
- Make up the background story of the penguin character. Where do they live? What did they do that morning?
Example activities to do alongside:
-Start a practice of simple daily questions. There is no answer too big or small, right or wrong
E.g What made you happy today? What made you laugh? What did you learn?
- Help them to notice and appreciate the small things (shadows on the wall, insects outside, shapes and colours of leaves, etc.)
- Acknowledge and encourage them to talk about what they feel, and help them to accept their emotions

5 to 10 years old

At this age, we can really help our children to understand the power of their own thoughts, to accept their emotions and feelings and that they are enough as they are. They can read the story (or part of) themselves and discuss each value/gift with an adult or you can focus on a single gift/value in a reading session and deep-dive into the character and the message itself.

Example activities to engage with the book:
- Research the different types of penguins that exist
- Pick a value/gift and ask the child what their understanding of it is
- Focus on a single value/gift for an evening read. Let the child read the page or read it yourself and have the child read it again (also called echo reading)

Example activities to do alongside:
- Start a simple journal (doesn't need to be daily, just a consistent practice)
- Expand the daily questions:
>1 person or event they feel sad/angry about - Ask them to forgive and understand the other's perspective
>3 things that made them happy
>3 things they are grateful for (An attitude of gratitude helps you to increase positive emotion and sustain it. More here)

Additional links:
Gratitude Exercises and Activities

What other activities and practices would you also recommend doing? Let us know!