Hello, I wanted to share with you a few things we’ve been enjoying and learning about penguins from. It is nothing major, but it is fun, beautiful and educational and is a good introduction into the subject of Antarctica and the fascinating creatures living there.
Our boys’ love for penguins started with a beautiful Russian/Japanese animated film called “Lolo the Penguin”. To parallel their love for Lolo I found them a wonderful little book about penguins that they have been going over and over on their own or with us reading it to them. I also found some good brief videos about penguins on youtube. And lastly we have large Maps book with very beautiful map of Antartica that we reference as well to see where the penguins live and who else live there.
Our views on screen time for children
Before I share the videos and the books I wanted to briefly share our views on screen time and video content for children. I think a lot of modern animated films and cartoons for children are utterly awful. They follow a Hollywood template of being overly dramatic, loud and very busy with things zooming by, exploding, running and screaming. The language is often primitive at best. The aesthetics are absent all together. And the characters tend to be rather poor role models. They act in sort of temperamental ways, lacking in manners and maturity — not something I would want my children to model after. So our children do not watch and are unaware of most of the modern cartoons or animated films.
On the other side, I believe quality visual content could be great for children, as long as most of children’s time is still spent running around, preferably outdoors. In our experience a good children’s animated film can act as a great spring board into a whole new world of interest for a child, whether it is penguins or dinosaurs or a world of beautiful fairy tales that show them how to be brave and kind. So, while we do not own a TV we do allow children to watch videos or films on our iPad making sure they watch things we feel are beneficial to them — something that is beautiful and informative in some way.
I came to notice that older animated films for children have slower and all together calmer pace of storytelling. The narration and dialogue are spoken in better English (Russian, etc.) and spoken slower and calmer so children can learn and expand their vocabulary. And lastly, the characters behave in realistic mature manner and solve problems and challenges in ways that we would do so in real life with communication, treating others with respect, being brave, kind and intelligent.
“Lolo the Penguin” animated film
“Lolo the Penguin” is children’s animated film about two little friends Lolo and Pepe, the Adelie penguin chicks. It starts with the story of their birth and follows them as they become grown penguins. It has both adventure and actual educational information about Adelie penguins. The characters are very charming. And the film comes in three parts each about half an hour long. So a child can just watch one part and end off there.
Note on translation: this animated film was made together by Soviet Union and Japan, so originally it is spoken in Russian or Japanese. Fortunately I was able to find English dubbed version of it produced in Australia. According to the person who shared the video on Youtube the dubbed English is missing in few places, but there should be subtitles available to help you get through those parts. I know this is not ideal, but I think the film is very beautiful and your little ones will fall in love with it while learning all sorts of great things.
Our map books
As far as the books, first I wanted to make a quick mention of our map books. The large maps book with the beautiful map of Antartica is the Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska. We also use Montessori: Map Work for a quick reference.
I always try to invoke an atlas or a map when they are watching or reading something they like. It ties different bits of knowledge together and expands their understand of things and the world in which they live. I think it works really well as both of them love going through the atlas and Alexandros (currently 3.5 years old) from time to time chooses the large maps book as his bed time story. We pick a page based on his current area of interest and discuss different thing about it.
from the “A First Discovery Book” series
And here is our favorite little Penguin book from the incredible “A First Discovery Book” series. These wonderful French books for children are fortunately available in English and we own every one of them I could get my hands on. They all have great illustration. The information is presented in clear form in small bits, great for little children to grasp. I highly recommend them. We get ours at Thrift books as they become available. They come in 3 different additions, we like the spiral-bound best.
Here are few photos from this book for you to see. One other little book that sort of goes along with the theme is the The Egg book from the same series. It doesn’t talk about penguins or Antarctica, but as penguins are birds and lay eggs this little book is a good addition to this topic.
Lastly I wanted to mention that short bits from nature documentaries (3-5 minutes long) are very popular with our children and I think they are good for any age. Our love for eagles, for example, started with a 2 minute video of eagle flying and catching a salmon. We probably watched it a million times by now. 🙂
My personal favorite nature documentaries are those produced by BBC for outstanding quality. And I especially love everything with Sir David Attenborough. I think I get more intelligent and cultured just by listening him speak 🙂 . But truly, if you haven’t seen any of his documentaries I highly recommend them for the whole family.
And in closing, here is a little clip showing brave Adelie penguin coming to the rescue of other penguin chicks.