Have a Safer Internet Day with PENGUINPIG!

This year’s Safer Internet Day takes place on 11th February 2020 and even though online safety should be embedded across the curriculum all year, this event is a chance for school aged children across the country to speak up about their experiences online. For Safer Internet Day this year I have designed an activity themed around the story PENGUINPIG for our younger learners at school.


“PENGUINPIG is the number one best-selling story about a little girl who reads of an exciting creature known as a penguinpig on the Internet. Filled with delight and intrigue, she decides that she must go and find one.

However, her parents are far too busy to take her and so she decides that she will sneak out and find the adorable PENGUINPIG all on her own. Carefully, she follows the instructions from the website – but does she find her delightful PENGUINPIG?


Stuart Spendlow’s storybook is perfect for younger children and is a great way to begin early conversations about safety online. Stuart writes a whimsical story that early learners can relate to; they can easily spot the mistakes the little girl makes. The moral of the story gives practitioners the opportunity to talk about pop-ups, adverts in games and messages young children might see when they are using mobile devices.

My ‘PENGUINPIG’ Learning Journal

For your Safer Internet Day activity you will need to read PENGUINPIG to your class first. You can buy a hardcopy of PENGUINPIG here or a digital copy on Apple Books here.

IMG_D2E7CB21C034-1Then you need to download my ‘PENGUINPIG’ Learning Journal here. To use this learning journal you will need an iPad with Pages installed. Read through and watch videos in the Teacher Notes included. I show you how to use each activity in this section but this blog post also links you to Apple Support pages so you can learn skills for Pages there too. When you have familiarised yourself with the activities, delete the Teacher Notes pages before using AirDrop to share the document to your class iPad devices.

Activity 1: Design your animal

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There are 3 activities in the learning journal for children to work on. The first is to design their own fake animal using different animal shapes. They simply drag and drop the animal body parts to the body template. Tapping on the + in the top right corner of Pages will give children the option to Add Drawings. They can use their finger to sketch a face and pattern to their fake animal’s body. The second part of this activity requires your pupils to type an advert for their fake animal.

Activity 2: Share your advert, spread the message

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Next they show their fake animal advert to their peers, taking selfies with their classmates to demonstrate how quickly adverts are seen by other users online. It’s simple for them to add their selfies to their learning journal, they just tap the gallery icon on each frame and tap ‘Take Photo’.

Activity 3: Reflect on the moral of the story

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The last activity in the learning journal asks children 3 questions about information they find online. To answer these questions children record their voice. To do this they tap the + in the top right corner of Pages and select Record Audio (see steps to do this here). You can discuss these questions individually, as a group or a whole class before they record their answers. Children can then share their learning journal back to your teacher iPad using AirDrop.

Why Teach This Lesson?

This lesson will give children the opportunity to use their digital skills to create something. They will learn how to create digital artwork, insert photographs and use record/stop/play functions for audio. They will understand the different ways that technology is used at home (to consume information) and at school (to create information). They are also able to demonstrate their speaking skills by recording their voice, giving evidence of them using new vocabulary and information.

Most importantly though, young children have access to mobile devices, cameras and the internet as part of their daily routine. Simply saying ‘they shouldn’t be using it’ isn’t working so ignoring technology from the early years will not support our learners to be confident and effective users.

It is important that we talk to children about the behaviours, decisions and choices online rather than give advice on specific incidents or skills for particular apps and services. Trends in games, services and social medias change regularly but the behaviours and choices remain the same.

When young children encounter adverts and information online during their gaming or viewing time, they need to be sure on what to do. PENGUINPIG gets children talking about the information they see online and the decisions they need to make. This lesson plan and learning journal gives children the vocabulary and knowledge needed to talk about their experiences.

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