Ocean Theme

Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about ocean animals. 

Ocean Activities for Pre-K, Preschool

Find more Ocean Activities for Pre-K on the category page.


Click here for a complete list of books about Ocean Animals!

Ocean Books for Pre-K

Crab Walk

{Large Motor}
Children crawl like a crab from one point to another. After children have had some practice, have them figure out a way to carry a bean bag while crawling like a crab.

Sea Shell Prints

{Fine Motor Skills}
Children use seashells in the play dough area to press into the play dough to make prints. You can do the same activity using self hardening clay and the children can keep them.

Colored Tape Fish

Children draw their own fish on a piece of paper. They tear off pieces of colored masking tape and stick them on for the fish’s gills.

Colored Tape Fish

Wax Resist

Children draw an ocean scene or one ocean animal with oil pastels. They paint over the whole paper with blue watercolor paint to create the water. The wax in the oil pastels resists the water, so the picture shows through the paint.

Ocean Wax Resist Art

Sea Salt Art

The children mix their own salt paint, and then paint a picture of an ocean animal.

Salt paint recipe:
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Liquid starch
Few drops of food coloring

Mix ingredients together. The salt gives a frosted or sandy appearance to the paint.

Salt Paint Art

Fish Bingo

{Literacy or Math}
Use plastic fish counters to cover the letter/number/shape on the bingo cards. We use these to play alphabet bingo, number bingo, shape bingo, or rhyming bingo.

Ocean Bingo

Fishing Game

Our “ocean” is a blue shower liner on the floor. Paper fish have 0-10 dots on them, with a paperclip attached, and are tossed onto the “ocean”. Children catch a fish with magnetic fishing pole, count the dots on the fish, and write or stamp the numeral on a fish cutout. The magnetic fishing poles were made with a magnet wand tied to a rhythm stick with string.

Fishing Number Game

Fish Flop

Children use spray-painted beans (one side yellow, one side blue) as pretend fish. Ten fish are placed in each child’s cup. The children dump the cup onto the table and count to see how many fish flopped on the blue side and how many flopped on the yellow side.

Fish Flop Math Game for Preschool Fish Flop Math Game for Preschool

Wave Bottles

Children use a funnel to pour a cup full of baby oil (or cooking oil) into a clear plastic bottle. They fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. We give the liquid a chance to settle, then add a few drops of blue food coloring. It’s fun to watch the blue as it drops through the oil and “explodes” into the water. Last, we add plastic “fish” (sequins), and make waves by turning the bottle sideways and rocking it gently.

Ocean in a Bottle: Discovery Bottle for Preschoolers

Ocean Bingo Stamping Game

{Math or Literacy}
Read about and print the Ocean Bingo Game here.

Ocean Bingo Stamping Game

Ocean Pattern Block Mats

Read about and print here: Pattern Block Mat Printables. (Go to this page and look for the fish mats.)

Ocean Pattern Block Mats

Beach Grid Game

Read about about print here: Grid Games

Beach Grid Game

Ocean Roll & Write Game

{Literacy or Math}
Print and find directions here: Roll & Write Games

Ocean Roll & Write Game

Tuna Fish Sandwich

With this snack, we get to taste something that comes from the sea. We use a fish cookie cutter to cut two pieces of bread. We make tuna salad by adding mayonnaise and sweet pickles to a drained can of tuna. Then, spread the tuna on the sandwich.

Ocean Snack

We place three vanilla wafers in a ziplock bag and crush them to make sand. We pour the sand in the bottom of a clear cup, and scoop blue Jello on top. Last, we add gummy fish.

Story Retelling

This is an activity that goes with any theme. Choose a book that goes with the theme, and have the children retell the story.
Read the blog post here for details: story retelling

Beach Prop Box

{Dramatic Play Center}
Suntan lotion bottles, Sunglasses, Flip flops, Radio, Swim fins, Face mask, Beach hats, Beach ball, Towels, Ice chest, Juice cans, Cassette tapes of beach songs, Buckets, Pails, Sand molds, Beach chairs, Mini umbrella


Nursery rhymes that go well with an Ocean Theme:

  • Rub a Dub Dub
  • Catch a Floater

Look for a printable poster of the Rub a Dub Dub nursery rhyme on the Nursery Rhymes Page.

rub a dub dub

Catch a floater, catch an eel,
Catch a lazy whale,
Catch an oyster by the heel
And put him in a pail.


Find more Ocean Activities for Pre-K on the category page.

More Resources

You might like this Animal Environments Sort & Classify pack, which includes ocean, polar, safari, forest, and farm animals and their environments. Available in my shop.

Animal Environments Sort & Classify


Title image graphics by Kate Hadfield Designs.