To introduce the idea of an under the sea themed study, reading books is a great way to get started. Involving all types of ocean life during story time opens the door to a variety of many different imaginative learning opportunities. A few fun adventures about marine life include Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle, Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea by Steve Metzger, and What Lives in a Shell by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld.
Under the Sea Ideas for Preschool
Follow up with some activities that enable preschoolers to discover the ocean on their own. One of the best and most popular ways to facilitate hands-on experience is with the use of a sand and water table. Allow children to feel the sand and the water separately. Then, help them feel what sand and water is like mixed together. This provides a positive sensory learning opportunity through touch. Toss in some seashells and seaweed to keep children captivated and engaged. A few ocean animals can provide additional opportunities to uncover ideas about the water world of the deep blue sea. Offer up a shovel, bucket, or magnifying glass for digging, pouring, and close up discoveries. Suggest an ocean treasure hunt or build sandcastles with the use of the sensory table.
Move on to other classroom activities such as games and puzzles to keep preschoolers interested. Teach toddlers the crab walk, which will help to increase their large motor skills, as they get moving. See who can crab walk the farthest or for the longest amount of time. Throw down a giant floor puzzle that will further support more discoveries concerning marine life. Children will enjoy piecing together this large-scale ocean floor puzzle while pretending they’re walking on the bottom of the ocean. Repurpose big cardboard boxes by creating a submarine for an underwater adventure in the dramatic play area. Attach several boxes together with duct tape, cut out doors so children can crawl from one box to the other, and add some circle windows to see outside of the submarine.
Introduce early math and literacy skills with the use of various types of marine life and ocean treasures. Preschoolers will enjoy learning to count, sort, and pattern with an assortment of under the sea animal shapes in different colors. Another great way to facilitate counting and sorting is through the use of a variety of seashells in different sizes. Help toddlers to discover letters of the alphabet with the use of some sand and a few seashells. Introduce individual letters by writing them on the inside of shells. Play a game of memory or match with the shells. Preschoolers can also practice drawing letters in the sand with their fingers at the sand and water table.
Through hands-on discovery and a variety of sensory experiences, preschoolers will enjoy learning what ocean life is all about. Playing and crafting with different marine items such as shells, sea turtles, submarines and starfish, toddlers can explore a whole new world in the deep blue sea.