Here's a summary post of all the ocean theme learning activities we have done for our Ocean Shelf. To learn about how we do home learning at home with our shelf, I encourage you to read our How HTS Works page first. And here's why we love a themed learning shelf!
Ocean Theme Learning Shelf
- Pinterest Idea Board: [theme] OCEAN/UNDER THE SEA
- Unique Hashtag on Instagram: #oceanhts
- Focus Book: Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures by Bonnie Worth, The Usborne Big Book of Big Sea Creatures by Minna Lacey and Fabiano Fiorin, The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
This learning shelf and the activities are created for children of ages 1.5 years old to 6 years old. My son was 5 years old and my daughter was 2 years 8 months when I made this learning shelf for them.
All the activities have been categorized into the six main learning areas (language, numeracy, motor skills, discovery of the world, arts & creative expression, social & emotional development) that I am focusing on for my children.
Ocean Theme Learning Activities for Toddlers (1.5 to 3 Years Old)
- Glue 9 bottle caps on a piece of cardboard. Since it's an ocean theme, I made the cardboard base into a turtle shape. Stick dot stickers of different colors on these bottle caps. Give your child pompoms of different colors and ask him/her to do color matching and drop the pompoms with matching colors into the bottle caps. (arts & creative expression, motor skills)
- Draw a shark on a piece of paper. Cut some tab stickers into the shape of teeth and write numbers 1 to 10 on them. Ask your child to give the shark some teeth and do some number matching and counting at the same time. (numeracy)
- Print out some whales and paste the whales print out on the box. Draw and cut out corresponding number of water sprouts. Write some letters on the whales and water sprouts and practice letter matching. Talk about how the whales breath through the blowholes. Matching activities can be easily adapted for other concepts like matching numbers, shapes or uppercase/lowercase letters matching. (language, motor skills, discovery of the world)
- Make some clams with egg cartons for this cute counting activity. Paint the egg cartons (optional), cut out each cup and use a tape to connect two cups together to make a clam. Stick a dot stickers inside with numbers. I am doing only 1 to 5 for my toddler. You can use bigger numbers for older preschoolers. Use mini pompoms as pearls and ask your child to count and put in the number of pearls that correspond to numbers on the dot stickers. Follow the instructions in this step-by-step video. (numeracy)
All the above activities are suitable for preschoolers too.
Ocean Theme Learning Activities for Preschoolers (3 to 6 Years Old)
- Using the same turtle bottle cap toy, play a sight word tic tac toe game. On the 9 dot stickers, write 9 sight words and create a 3x3 table with these same 9 sight words. We are focusing on sight words for this activity but you can do letter/ numbers/ shapes/ color match too. Now put the turtle bottle cap toy in a basket to contain the pompom. Toss a pom pom and until the pompom lands in a bottle cap. Ask your kid to read out the word and search for the word on the tic tac toe card. Game is complete when he/she forms a straight line with the tokens. Here's a video of how to play this fun learning game. (language)
- The focus Chinese word is 鱼 (fish) and this Fish Chinese Word Learning Pack with these three activities: 1) dot the word 鱼, 2) find the word 鱼 maze and 3) Find the words with 鱼 as its radical. (language, motor skills)
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- Practice basic addition with our egg carton clams (see above for steps to make them). Ask your child to 'catch' two clams and count how many pearls are there in total. (numeracy)
- Play a DIY fishing game. Ask your child to fish for words with beginning sound F or ending sound F. (language)
- Practice basic sewing with this fish sewing board. Follow this tutorial to make this learning toy. (motor skills)
- Practice simple buttoning with this simple jellyfish button toy and also do color matching at the same time (motor skills). My 2.5yo toddler loves this too!
Experiments, Art Projects & Sensory Activities
- Create a Ocean sensory bottle using oil, blue water, sand and sea shells. This is a wonderful activity to talk about density of water vs oil. (discovery of the world, arts & creative expression)
- Frozen sea creatures rescue sensory bin. Freeze some sea creature toys in ice. Provide water in squirt bottles or spray bottles. The children will try to melt the ice to rescue the sea creatures.
- Make a fish salt painting. Draw a fish with oil pastel crayons. Paint with water colors. Before the water dries up, sprinkle salt over the painting. (arts & creative expression)
- Make some pool noodle fish and play a fun fishing game! (motor skills)
- Make some cute sea creatures with recycled materials. Watch the behind the scenes video and another cute video of the sea creatures.
- Ocean Zones Invitation to Create. This is a fun art and animal Science activity to learn about the different ocean zones. (discovery of the world, arts & creative expression)
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