Ocean Activities to Get Our Preschoolers to “Seas” the Day

The ocean is full of wonders: the salty waves, vibrant habitats, and creatures with mysterious abilities. Let’s explore these wonders of the ocean alongside our students with these fun and engaging preschool activities! Here’s a look at our week:

Ocean Weekly Overview with book recommendations, literacy activities and centers, math activities and centers, sensory bins, and science! All hands-on activities for preschoolers or kindergarteners to learn through play!

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Ocean: Books We Love

Ocean Books We Love | Swimmy; Mister Seahorse; Commotion in the Ocean; Clumsy Crab; How to Hide an Octopus; Smiley Shark

This week started off by reading Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae. The author introduces many of the fascinating creatures of the ocean through wonderful poetry. Fun and vibrant for the kickoff to our ocean week!

Next up was Smiley Shark and Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway. Smiley Shark is the biggest creature in the ocean, but, despite his enormous smile, none of the other fish will let him join in their games. That is the case until Smiley Shark saves the day with his toothy grin. Clumsy Crab has a difficult time joining in games with all of the fish because of his clunky claws, but Clumsy Crab also finds a unique way to use his claws to save the day.

How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures was by far the most interesting book of the week! Ruth Heller showcases how unique ocean creatures such as the octopus, decorator crab, and butterfly fish use their camouflage to blend in with their surroundings. My favorite aspect of the book is how the reader has to search for the animals to find them!

Swimmy by Leo Lionni has been a favorite read aloud of mine for many years. In this book, Swimmy discovers that the ocean is full of wonders… and dangers. All of the little fish are scared to come out of hiding until Swimmy comes up with a clever way for them to venture out into the open. I love that this book’s theme is how teamwork can help overcome huge obstacles.

This week was wrapped up by reading Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle.  Mister Seahorse is in charge of carrying around the baby seahorse eggs in his belly until they hatch. As he swims through the sea, the reader also learns about many other male fish that help take care of eggs or babies. So interesting! I love the transparent pages that overlay the illustrations, camouflaging the different creatures of the sea.

Ocean: Literacy Activities & Centers

Ocean Alphabet Sensory Writing

Ocean Alphabet Sensory Writing | Use a squishy bag to practice writing the letters of the alphabet with this ocean themed preschool activity.

We got out the old squishy bag to use alongside our Ocean Alphabet Creatures! In the past, this was used all the time for toddler sensory experiences, but we decided to use our blue gel bag as the ocean this week. We placed one of the Ocean Alphabet Creatures underneath and traced the letters with our fingers. So fun and smells great, too! You can also use these letters to trace with dry erase markers or in a sand writing tray.

Crab Grab Letter Match

Crab Grab Letter Match | Use tongs like a crab's pincers to grab shells and mark the letters of the alphabet for this ocean themed preschool activity.

Acting like crabs by using tongs with this Crab Grab activity was a great way to incorporate fine motor skills into literacy. We flipped over a letter card, used tongs like a crab’s pincers to grab a seashell, and placed it on top of the matching letter on the recording sheet.

Seashell Sound Match

Seashell Sound Match | Match the pearls with pictures for beginning sounds to the seashell with the matching letter. Perfect literacy activity or center for your ocean preschool theme!

These pearls are shimmering and ready to be matched to the lettered shells! We worked on beginning sounds this week by saying the name of the object on the pearl, emphasizing the beginning sound, and finding the matching letter with this Seashell Sound Match. I simply attached the pearls using Velcro dots.

Fishing for Rhymes

Fishing for Rhymes | Grab your fishing pole and catch a rhyming fish! Great literacy activity for an ocean preschool theme!

Kids love fishing poles. There is just something about them. Maybe it’s the power of the magnets. Not sure, but that’s what makes this rhyming activity so fun and engaging! We caught a fish with this fishing pole and colored the rhyming word on the recording sheet the same color. Hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and literacy all wrapped up in one activity!

Seahorse Syllables

Seahorse Syllables | Clip a numbered seahorse onto the ocean cards after counting the syllables. Perfect literacy activity for an ocean preschool theme!

Clip a numbered seahorse to the ocean scene to match the number of syllables in the ocean creature’s name. Easy to set up and a great literacy activity for phonemic awareness! Grab your Seahorse Syllables here!

Ocean: Math Activities & Centers

Ocean Count & Flip

Ocean Count & Flip | Count the ocean animals, flip them back into he tray, and flip a new card. Great way to use those ocean animal counters for your math center!

Count and flip! Count the ocean creatures. Whip! Whip! My little one just loves counters so much, so we practiced counting this week with these Ocean Count & Flip cards. You can make decks of cards of varying ability for your students or just make decks with 1-10 in them. Lots of counting practice and lots of fun!

Make 10 Turtles

Make 10 Turtles Math Activity | Count the turtles and eggs into the paint palette with this ocean themed preschool activity that builds number sense!

To work on building numbers that add to 10, my little one counted turtles and ping pong balls as turtle eggs. Love using these paint palettes for counting activities! Some of the Make 10 Turtle cards are filled in with both numbers, some are missing 1 number, and some are blank for students to make their own numbers that add to 10.

Whale Spout Count

Whale Spout Count | Count the ten frame's in the whale's mouth and match the water spout with the matching number! Great math center for an ocean preschool theme!

Check out the ten frame toothy grin on these whales! Count the number of blue teeth and match the water spout with the matching number. We even used blue gems for some one-to-one correspondence during this activity.

Pin the Pufferfish

Pin the Pufferfish Fine Motor Math Activity | Clip the numbered clothespins onto the matching numeral, tally mark, ten frame, fingers, or word! Great math center for an ocean preschool theme!

Pin the numbered clothespins on the pufferfish to match the numerals, tally marks, ten frames, word form, or fingers. Lots of different practice with numbers with Pin the Pufferfish!

Feed the Shark

Feed the Shark Measurement Activity | Flip a card, connect the cubes, and find a find that is the same length to feed to the shark. Perfect math center for an ocean preschool theme!

Flip a card, snap together the linking cubes, and find a colorful fish that measures the same length to feed to the shark. At least, that’s how it was supposed to be played. My little one refused to feed the fish to the shark; instead, she saved them all, one by one. So cute! Grab yours here!

Ocean: Other Activities

Ocean & Sand Sensory Bin

Sand and Ocean Sensory Bin for an ocean preschool theme filled with blue gems, Kinetic Sand, and ocean animals for a hands-on preschool sensory experience.

My little one explored the sand and sea with this ocean themed sensory bin. We used blue gems as the water and these ocean creatures. Also added in some seashells from the Dollar Tree.

Turtle Hatch Life Cycle Sensory Bin

Turtle Hatch Life Cycle Sensory Bin | Read about the life cycle of the turtle and act it out in the sensory bin! Great science and sensory experience for an ocean preschool theme!

It is my dream to see baby turtles hatch and scurry to the ocean. We read about the life cycle of the sea turtle, watched a few videos, and then my little one acted out the life cycle of the sea turtle in the sensory bin. We used little white pom-poms as eggs and turtle counters.

Camouflage an Octopus

Camouflage the Octopus Science Exploration | Explore how an octopus can change its color to blend in and then try to camouflage your own octopus. Great activity for an ocean preschool theme!

This week, we found out about the extraordinary abilities of the octopus. Not only can it squeeze through tiny little spaces, but it can also change its color instantaneously to blend in with its surroundings! So cool! First, we made a clear octopus from an old transparency and moved it around the ocean environment to make it blend in. Then, we learned some new facts about octopuses. Finally, we tried to camouflage a white octopus by coloring it to blend in with the different scrapbook papers. Lots of fun and lots of learning with Camouflage the Octopus!

Ocean Water Beads Sensory Bin

Ocean Water Beads Sensory Bin filled with ocean creatures and shells as scoops for this ocean-themed preschool activity.

Does anyone else love water beads as much as I do? It is so incredibly calming to play with these cool, bouncy, slippery beads. The ones I bought came with these ocean creatures, too! We just added some seashells as scoops and voila! Wonderful ocean sensory experience!

Sink or Float Science Exploration

Sink or Float Science Exploration | Predict and test different objects to see which ones will sink or float with this preschool science exploration.

We ended the week with a Sink or Float Exploration. It was so interesting to see what my little one predicted would sink or float. We tested keys, cups, feathers, leaves, different balls, paper clips, oranges, and so much more! Great way to get those little minds inquiring about our world!

The ocean is full of wonders, and I hope some of these ideas help inspire some wonderful learning in your classroom! You can grab the entire bundle of activities with a 20% discount here:

Ocean Preschool Bundle Unit with math, literacy, and science activities.

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