Have you ever wondered why penguins don’t freeze to death? Penguins have to cope with an immensely harsh environment with extreme cold temperatures and added wind chill.

Animals who live in cold countries tend to have several special adaptations that keep them warm.

Emperor Penguin Chicks on the snow in Antarctica

Penguins living in cold climates stay warm thanks to their thick feathers and blubber under the skin. Feathers are great on land, but not much help for keeping warm in the cold ocean. This is where the blubber layer comes in.

Penguins stand up and rock backwards on their heels to reduce contact with the cold snow. If they were lie down, they would get much colder very quickly.

Some species huddle together in large groups, they rotate around so the same penguins are not always on the outside.

This simple investigation demonstrates how a layer of fat is perfect for keeping animals warm.

How to Penguins Stay Warm?

You’ll need

200g Lard

Latex gloves



Medium sized container

Stop watch


Half fill the container with water and ice.

Carefully place your hands in the water and time how long before it becomes uncomfortable.

Put a latex glove on one hands.

Cover the gloved hand with lard.

Place the gloved hand in the water and again time with a stop watch how long it takes to feel uncomfortable.

The lard acts as an insulator protecting your hands from the cold of the icy water.

How do animals stay warm - lard, glove and icy water in a bucket

Download the experiment instructions

instructions for an experiment to discover how penguins stay warm in winter

Penguin Challenges

Find out why penguin’s feet don’t freeze.

Polar Bears also have a thick layer of blubber and hollow, colourless fur which traps heat from the sun helping to keep them warm in winter. How do you think Polar Bears cool down in summer?

Discover how Penguins stay warm with this easy activity using lard and icy water.#scienceforkids #penguinscience

More animal science for kids

Make a chicken life cycle sensory bin.

Create fun food chains with my easy craft ideas.

Learn all about Earthworms with my homemade wormery.

I love this Penguin lapbook from Mrs Jones Creation Station.

If crafts are more your thing, Red Ted Art has some BRILLIANT penguin craft ideas.

Penguin Facts for Kids

Most penguins live in Antarctica, but there are a few who live in the slightly less freezing climates of the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand.

Galapagos Penguins cover their feet with their flippers to stop them getting sunburnt! Clever!

Penguins are birds who spend most of their life in the ocean.

Penguins come onto to land to lay eggs and look after their chicks.

Penguins can’t fly, but are fantastic swimmers.

Did you know Penguins have claws on their webbed feet to help them grip the ground and not fall over.

Penguins are not the only bird who can’t fly. Ostriches and Emus also don’t fly.

Penguins have brilliant eyesight which helps them catch fish in the darkness of the ocean.

Penguins store food in their stomach or a special pouch in their throat for their chicks!

Emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins and can be over 1 metre tall!

Penguin chicks can’t go into the sea until they have grown adult, waterproof feathers!

Fun facts and activities about Penguins!! #Penguins #Penguincrafts #Penguinideas #Penguinfacts #Penguinscience

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Originally posted at Science Sparks