Pre-K & Preschool theme ideas for learning about ocean animals.
Click here for a complete list of books about Ocean Animals!
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.
Catch a floater, catch an eel,
Catch a lazy whale,
Catch an oyster by the heel
And put him in a pail.
- Down By the Bay, by Raffi
- The Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium classical music. I also recommend this picture book that has the Aquarium song on CD with the book: Can You Hear It?
- Get an Ocean Waves Nature CD to play
Look for the Fish Bingo Game on the Bingo Games page.
Look for the Beach Grid Game on the Grid Games for Math page.
Printable pattern block mats in blackline and color. Look for the big and little fish mats to use with an ocean theme.
Look for the Ocean Cards on the Picture Cards for Themes page.
Children crawl like a crab from one point to another. Next, they have to 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.
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.
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.
[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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Float & Sink
children work in pairs to test the items (cap, penny, marble, feather, toy fish, Unifix cube, etc.) in the water. Each child gets their own item to test in the water, but each pair shares a tub of water. Before handing out each item, I ask them to make a prediction whether they think the item will float or sink. Then, we check our predictions to see which ones we guessed correctly.
Read the post at this link: Things from the Ocean Science Center
Boats (Exploring Density)
Children start with a ball of clay, which sinks in the water. They form the clay into a boat that will float. After they have made a boat that floats, they add small bear counters to see how many can sit in the boat without it sinking. Note: Only use oil-based, non-hardening modeling clay for this activity. Do not use play dough or earthenware clays.
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
Swedish Fish End of Year Gift
Read the blog post here: Swedish Fish Gift