Monday 16 January 2017

Having fun motor skills practice making penguin cupcakes

Having fun motor skills practice making penguin cupcakes

"There hasn't been much snow!" Jane moaned.  With all the Christmas films and cards having snow everywhere it's hardly surprising she and the other kids have been disappointed with the lack of white stuff.  A few flakes over the weekend went down well so I tried to capitalise on it by making penguin cupcakes using a recipe kit.  Kit's are great for as as they give instant access to baking and that's good when your autistic boys either get upset when waiting or will lose interest in an activity before it's begun. And we can talk about where it does snow and some penguin facts too.
We used a recipe mix from Tesco. Like all kits it had the basic instructions on the back and contained all the dry or non-fresh ingredients:

  • Chocolate cake mix
  • 6 black cup cake cases
  • Black icing sugar 
  • Orange chocolate candies that were used for beaks and feet
  • White rolling icing
  • Black writing icing pen/gel
  • A stencil to make the penguin bodies
If you are good at making your own chocolate cupcakes then you can easily grab the idea too. We had to add an egg, 30g of melted butter and 20ml of milk to the dry cake mix supplied.  If you can't get this mix you can try another cupcake mix - there's lots and you can pick the flavour or colour you like. The kids all love this bit, it's easy and just involves stirring.  It also helps them develop their bilateral fine motor skills as they have to both hold the bowl and stir.  Putting the mix into the cupcake cases it always a bit messy and I help out with a spatula.

Making the penguin cupcakes

Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled you can cover them in black or grey icing by mixing icing sugar and unsalted butter. Roll out the white icing which is another great bilateral movement technique, and either cut out using the stencil or use a cutter. We used the top half of our gingerbread people cutters as the stencil is too fiddley for our lot. Finally add the orange treats as feet and a beak as use the icing gel for eyes.  You could also use an edible pen or other gel colour too.

Our penguin cupcakes

Here's some of the interesting penguin facts:

  • Penguins don't fly - penguins have adapted flippers to help them swim in the water. 
  • Most penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere. The Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin specie that ventures north of the equator in the wild. 
  • Large penguin populations can be found in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. No penguins live at the North Pole. 
  • Penguins eat a range of fish and other sealife that they catch underwater. 
  • Penguins can drink sea water. 
  • Penguins spend around half their time in water and the other half on land. 
  • The Emperor Penguin is the tallest of all penguin species, reaching as tall as 120 cm (47 in) in height and... 
  • Emperor Penguins can stay underwater for around 20 minutes at a time. 
  • Penguin’s black and white colour keeps them camouflaged when they are swimming. The black on their back is hard to see from above, while the white on their front looks like the sun reflecting off the surface of the water from below.  This is good as we've just made black and white penguin cup cakes!
  • Penguins in Antarctica don't have to worry about other land animals eating them. This means they aren't afraid of people and wildlife photographers can be right next to them to take photos. 

My kids loved making these.  The only downside is the black icing is fairly obvious and we had the wipe a lot of faces, fingers and any spills up fairly quickly!

Linked on:
Mummy in a Tutu


  1. These look lovely! I like working with fondant icing but I've never done any kits before - the look really effective! And my eldest loves penguins too. I'm going to have to keep my eyes out for these! #TheListLinky

  2. Ooh I love both cake and penguins so this post is right up my street! I love that you've incorporated a great learning opportunity and development or motor skills with the baking. My two love to bake too but I suspect that it has a lot to do with the whole licking of the spoon thing. Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

  3. Oh I love these cakes - what a gorgeous idea. I think my little man would adore making these! #bloggerclubuk

  4. love your site! so important #foodiefriday


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