The ocean is home for so many plants and animals, from tiny organisms that can be seen with a microscope to the largest creatures on earth. Children have a natural curiosity about the ocean and ask dozens of questions. Are you ready for this? Borrow plenty of books from the library on marine life and shells. Capitalize on these questions and engage your young oceanographer in discovery through an array of entertaining and educational activities.
Create a piggyback song to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Change the words frequently to stimulate interest in all the creatures of the deep. “Take me out to the ocean. Take me out to the sea. I might get lucky and chance to see, crabs, fish and dolphins playing very close to me. So, swim, swim, swim in the water. Observe everything you can see. Look, there’s 1, 2, 3 creatures out in the deep, blue sea!”
Give your preschooler a chance to get creative with some whimsical art related to fish. Children have always enjoyed Marcus Pfister’s “Rainbow Fish,” the story of a fish with beautifully colored scales. Draw and cut out a fish shape from poster board. Paint white school glue over the entire body of this fish. Press down colored strips of tissue paper in a rainbow pattern and allow this to dry. Embellish the fish with colored sequins to represent scales. Draw an eye with a black marker or use a plastic stick-on googly eye found in craft stores.
Deep Sea Fishing
Use this familiar fishing game, which will help your youngster identify creatures that live in or near the ocean. The best part — fishing is on land and you won’t get sea sick! Find pictures or draw crabs, starfish, whales, octopus, shells and fish and then glue these to cardboard. Attach a paper clip to each shape. Make a fishing pole by attaching a string to a household yardstick. The “hook” is a magnet tied to the end of the string. Place all the sea creatures into a large bucket. Your little fisherman can fish for a creature and identify it when he lures it out of the sea bucket.
Invent a Fish
You and your child can put on those divergent thinking caps and invent a unique fish. Pick a color, design, shape and size. The more imaginative, the better! So many fish have silly names — angelfish, catfish, clown triggerfish and many more. Draw the fish to look like what its name suggests. After the artwork, your kiddo can dictate a story about its greatest adventure. It can be funny or serious. Parents can either write down the story or let the child record it into a tape recorder.
Sea Creature Charades
Each marine life creature has certain characteristics that distinguish it from all the others — the way it looks, walks, swims or hunts for food. Play a game with your child where he acts out a creature and you try to guess which one. Anyone ready to do a crab walk?