P is for penguins and pinecones

I came across this super sweet book titled, “Penguin and Pinecone” by Salina Yoon and just couldn’t wait to introduce it to the children. After reading the book by myself, I was able to think of so many possible ways we could expand on this book but knew we couldn’t possibly do them all…

“Penguin and Pinecone” is a story of friendship, kindness, and concern as well as a story that introduces concepts like forest, cold, hot, snow, climate, clothing, play, and more.  The book is very simply written and beautifully illustrated…

To give you a very short overview of the story, Penguin finds and befriends Pinecone but soon realizes that Pinecone can’t live in such a cold climate.  Penguin loads Pinecone up on his sled and takes him to the forest so he will be warm and safe. After time passes, the grown-up Penguin goes back to the forest and finds that his friend Pinecone has grown up into a beautiful pine tree…

Because we had a collection of pinecones gathered in our classroom, I decided to focus primarily on the pinecone aspect of this book. But honestly, I think I will read this book again during the winter because I feel like there is so much more this book shares that we could explore…

Mrs. Courtney and I decided to make each of the children a “pinecone pal” as a story token to take home complete with googly eyes and a little scarf (cut out of a sock).  Mrs. Courtney and I decided that the pinecone pals didn’t turn out all that cute like the one in the book but the children didn’t seem to mind. The one in the book didn’t have googly eyes and now I see why…

Before the children put their pinecone pals in their cubbies, Mrs. Courtney invited the children to compare the pinecones and organize the pinecones from smallest to largest…

After reading our book and comparing our pinecone pals, the children were off to explore pinecones and pine tree branches in some of our centers. At the easel, the children found pine paintbrushes to paint with….

I have a couple of pinetrees in my yard with lots of pine tree pieces on the ground so I gathered the pieces up and taped them to a craftstick to make pine paintbrushes. We were so busy all day that neither Mrs. Courtney or I managed to take a photo of the children painting at the easel but here is one example of how the paintings looked from using the pine paintbrushes…

We also invited the children to make a pinecone ornament. We wanted this process to be about color and glitter and so it was…

But I am going to wait and share our pinecone ornaments in my next post so I can share the entire process with you without making this post so long.  So be sure to check back tomorrow for more of our pinecone and pine tree explorations…

Available on Amazon

By |2012-12-08T07:00:48+00:00December 8th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. [email protected] December 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    What a lovely book. It’s now on my Amazon wishlist. Thanks and I look forward to see what else you do around this book.

  2. lori December 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    This is so sweet! I appreciate how you expanded the book into a morning’s activiites that are so tactile and friendly.

  3. Rhythm December 9, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I have seen this book around a lot lately and it looks really cute. I have not had a chance to actually read it yet tho. I love all of your pine tree activities to go with it. You ladies always have some fun ideas!!

  4. Lynnie Krehbiel January 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Hey friends!
    I just wanted to issue a warning for you all on this one. I suffer from allergies to pine trees. I cannot tell you the misery that will show up in my sinuses if exposed to pine trees, cones, or any of the like. It is an uncommon allergy, but if your students are allergic, this day will be NO FUN for them. I did not know until I was 23 that I was allergic to them. I just thought December was a “bad” month for me. So, your little ones may experience the same problems I did, if undiagnosed. :0( Some great ideas, though! Keep them coming!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Lynnie,
      Absolutely – folks should keep track of any allergies and watch out for them too. My daughter is actually allergic to pinecones and I am mildly allergic to pine needles. But in both our cases, we have to be actually in and around the trees and really messing with them to have any allergic reaction. Others may be more sensitive than my daughter and I are but there is always a possibility of allergies here.

  5. Tammy January 8, 2013 at 7:58 am - Reply

    You make teaching preschool look so easy! What am I doing wrong?! I am going to read everything on your blog/page so that my day can be as interesting and knowledgeable as your for myself and the kids! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Tammy,
      Keep in mind that what you see on my blog is what the children are experiencing and for them, preschool is engaging, interesting, fun, and in many ways – easy. But behind every “engaging, fun, interesting, easy” is a teacher, like you, who is working hard, planning, preparing, thinking ahead, observing, considering, trying, failing, negotiating, worrying, running, cleaning, and the list goes on:)

      So, I bet you are doing a great job but sometimes, it helps to stop and look at what your doing through the lens of a camera or the lens of your students – if it looks easy even though it feels hard – then most likely you are doing a terrific job.

      Some days, I go home at the end of the day and think that our day was utter chaos and then I review all the photos and can see children laughing, learning, playing, concentrating and realize that my day may have felt chaotic but the things my students accomplished or explored that day was absolutely astounding.

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