How to Make a Penguin Habitat


Seventeen species of penguins dwell in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Antarctica. When studying the species of penguins, many teachers assign the re-creation of penguin habitats to their students. A diorama is a common method of habitat construction and including ice-packed terrain and a water source needed for penguin survival contributes to a successful project.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoe box
  • Scissors
  • Light blue paint
  • Paint brush
  • Waxed paper
  • Glue
  • Metallic blue paper
  • Newspaper
  • White styrofoam block
  • Wooden craft stick
  • Spray snow
  • White, black and orange modeling clay
  • Cut a two-inch hole in one short end of a common shoe box to create a viewing hole. The hole is used to look into the diorama without disrupting the contents of the habitat project.

  • Paint the four interior sides of a common shoe box to appear as the sky over a penguin habitat using light blue paint and a paintbrush. Set the box aside to dry.

  • Cut a 4-inch square hole in the center of the shoe box lid, turn it over and glue a 5-inch by 5-inch piece of waxed paper over the hole. Allow the glue to dry. The waxed paper window allows light to illuminate the habitat.

  • Trim a piece of metallic blue paper to fit on the inside bottom of the shoe box. Glue it in place and smooth the paper from the center toward the sides to rid the paper of any air bubbles.

  • Cover your work surface with newspaper and with a wooden craft stick carve a block of white Styrofoam into a cone shape. Another option is to ask an adult to assist in the carving and use a sharp knife.

  • Spray faux canned snow over the Styrofoam cone shape and allow the snow to dry a bit before gluing the cone to the bottom of the shoe box. Penguins commonly live in arctic island habitats to keep from being attacked by land predators.

  • Form a three-dimensional egg shape that is approximately two inches tall and one inch wide with white modeling clay as the basis for a clay penguin. Overlap a piece of flat black modeling clay on one side of the egg as the black back section of the penguin and mold two flippers, one on each side. Create a beak with the orange clay as well as two webbed feet and attach them to the penguin base. Allow the clay to dry overnight and insert the penguin into its created habitat. Add more clay penguins if the time allows.

  • Place the shoe box lid back onto the bottom section and peer through the side hole to see the penguins in their re-created habitat.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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