Shark Pinata

Gross motor skills are essential for a child’s development.

These skills involve using the large muscles of the body, and they help children with movement and coordination.

Gross motor development is critical to balance, coordination, and connection to other body functions.

For this activity, we used a large, cardboard “bat” to hit open a shark pinata.

We used our gross motor skills to manipulate the “bat” and hit the pinata.

This was the favorite activity of the week. Everyone had so much fun and enjoyed laughing with their friends!

Fine Motor Fish

Fine motor skills provide the backbone to any preschool program.

Through these skills, students are able to access several areas of development.

For this activity, students used a clothespin to pick up a cotton ball.

They then dipped the cotton ball into some pain.

Lastly, they made dots onto the letter F for Fish.

Cleaning the Bay

You may think that preschoolers are too young to learn about environmental conservation and sustainability. But it’s actually the perfect age.

If you’ve ever sat and watched young children playing outside, you know how kids just seem to have an innate connection to nature. They’re fascinated by the clouds in the sky, the dandelions in a field, the bugs crawling in the dirt.

Environmental education for kids builds on their natural interest, encouraging their curiosity and helping them grow into adults who consider the environmental in everything they do. For this activity, we talked about pollution and how it affects ocean life.

To tie this in with our fish theme, we decided to both create and then “clean up” a bay. Students were first presented with a sensory table full of “dirty” water and “trash”.

They were given nets, recycling bin, and a trash bin to remove the trash.

Following this, students were presented with a sensory table full of clean water, abundant with sea life. Lastly, we had a discussion about why it is so important to throw our trash away in trash cans.

Sorting Fish

Measurement concepts are often a part of children’s interactions. “My dad is bigger,” “I can jump higher,” and “I have more play dough than you!” are common comparisons that children make.

From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they also provide a nice introduction to measurement. Unfortunately, it is an often neglected content standard in early childhood classrooms.

Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we are constantly measuring, comparing, and contrasting items related to the theme. For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem.

They were each given seven pictures of fish that were of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.

Fish Manipulatives

For this fun activity, we tied in two developmental domains with our fish theme!

These include language and literacy and fine motor skills!

Using a few materials students of all ages learned how to write the letter F!

They were each provided with toy fish and a cut-out of the letter F.

Finally, they were directed to place each fish onto the letter!

Sorting Fish by Number

Sorting activities often appeal to children and many will naturally sort according to qualities and characteristics they visually notice without every being taught.

This fundamental pre-requisite to further mathematical understanding can often be disregarded or ignored as a purely play-based activity that children instinctively engage with.

However, it is important and essential part of beginning mathematical skills and an important part of every child’s developmental journey.

For this activity, we sorted fish according to number.

Students were given six different paper bowls in order to accomplish this.

They were then directed to count different quantities of fish and place them into the match fish bowl.

Collaborative Reef

Group projects can help young children develop a host of skills that are increasingly important in their future endeavors.

Positive group experiences, moreover, have been shown to contribute to student learning, retention, and overall student success.

For this activity, students created fish to be a part of a larger art installation.

This project was set up into stages and then hung up for all to enjoy! Each student participated in each stage of the process!

Cheerio Tentacles

Octopuses are sea animals famous for their rounded bodies, bulging eyes, and eight long arms.

These cool critters live in all the world’s oceans, but they’re especially abundant in warm, tropical waters.

Like their cousin the squid, octopuses are often considered ‘monsters of the deep’, lurking in the depths of the seas.

However, there are some kinds of octopuses that live in relatively shallow water.

To help tie in our octopus theme with our math domain, your little ones participated in a fun cheerio counting activity.

Using cheerios and octopus illustrations, the practiced counting and placing cheerios onto tentacles!

Octopus Letter Match

For this activity, students matched three different sea creatures by the first letter in the word.

Using blocks as manipulatives, students were introduced to three different ocean mats.

Each had a different letter written on it.

There was O for Octopus, F for Fish, and C for Crab.

Each block was affixed with a picture of the creature on it. Students enjoyed the colorful illustrations, and successfully matched each creature with its letter!

Crab Word Trace

Toddlers love to scribble as they explore their creativity and put their ideas on paper.

It is also considered “pre-writing” – a task that gets them one step closer to writing letters and words.

When you add tracing to your little one’s drawing time, it helps refine those pre-writing skills, laying a strong foundation for drawing and emerging writing.

For this activity, we used glitter to trace the word CRAB. Using their fingers, students traced each letter, one at a time. While doing so, the learned about the sound that each letter makes. Finally, they enjoyed the feeling of glitter on their fingers and especially washing it off!