Thursday, August 16, 2012

10 ocean-themed preschool activities

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thanks to Bear's fascination with the cartoon Octonauts, we've been doing a lot of exploring of anything ocean related.  here are some of the activities we've done in this unit.  they were a great to incorporate into our super-fun ocean sensory bin that i did on the Kids Activities Blog.

we talked about the role of oysters in the ocean environment.  more specifically how they create pearls and what those pearls are used for.  as a special treat, i put a marshmallow "oyster" inside the oyster shell for Bear to discover.  i also brought out a pearl bracelet so that Bear could explore it's color and texture.  after that, i got out some yarn and iridescent sequins so he could make his own pearl bracelet.  he wore both bracelets around the house most of the day :)
for a math activity, i got out the seashells to practice one-to-one correspondence (assigning one number to each object) and writing numerals. for the one-to-one correspondence, we used these number cards from our Hooked on Phonics math set and pretended the little red guys on them were barnacles.  Bear then had to give each of the barnacles a shell to cling onto. then, using the card as a model, he wrote the number on a small notepad. 
another little project i set out for Bear was to make an plastic plate ocean diorama.  he painted the top of the plate white for the foam and spread glue down on the bottom to cover with sand.  it took a day for the glue and sand to dry.  but once it did.  then he added ocean themed stickers onto the plate to create a little underwater scene.  you could also use a paper plate and cover it with blue cellophane once it's completed.

for a fun craft, Bear wanted to make an "octopus-squid" as he calls it. so i got out a plastic bowl, permanent markers, some ribbon, and googly eyes. he selected what ribbons he wanted and went to work. what amazed me was that he had a vision of what he was going to do with all of his materials and dove right in. the only thing i helped with was running the hot glue gun for him to stick the ribbons onto the lip of the bowl. we hung it from the ceiling in our preschool area.
for some messy painting, i hot-glued seashells to thread spools to create seashell stamps.  i also got out our foam sea creature stamps and the paint.  it was so sweet because he wanted me to create with him.  so we sat at the little preschool table, stamping, painting, and creating.  it was a nice quiet time for us to bond and have fun!  we hadn't used the stamps since we got them last year, so it was also nice to finally be able to put them to use. 
and of course, after all of that messy work painting, the ocean creature sponges needed to washed off.  so i filled up the sink with soapy water and we put them all in there.  Bear spent about 20 minutes playing with them in the water.  to start off with, i gave him a small plastic net to "catch" the sea creatures.  once he got bored with that, i gave him a funnel, bowl, some kitchen utensils.  it turned out to be a fun sensory activity that helped to clean up in the process.  
other ocean-based fun:

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