Dear Friends and Readers,

“Ocean” is a fairly common theme among preschoolers. It is the new rainforest/jungle theme. Which was the new zoo/menagerie  theme. I loved the ocean theme because it combined both the animal/environment theme of the jungle with an easy segue to water games. Perfect for summer camp when it is hot outside and there is little time to plan.

“Ocean Commotion” was one of our summer camp themes in the middle of July when I worked with preschoolers at the YMCA. Here is what we did:

  • Ocean Placemats: Placemats are a great craft for preschoolers! Have kids make any flat, paper-size art project. Then laminate the papers with their names clearly labeled and use them to define the child’s eating space for the rest of the week!
  • Duck Duck Goose Variations
    • Dolphin, Dolphin, Shark: Same game, different name.
    • Drip, Drip, Drop: Why use your hand when you can tag others with water? Some kids don’t like getting wet on their heads, and many like getting other kids wet, so we used a sponge rather than a bucket. Kids squeezed a little to “drip” and wrung out the whole sponge to “drop” the water.
  • Song time: Have you ever sang The Beatles in circle time? I highly reccomend it. We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine…
  • The Wave + Summer  = the best of a baseball game. We taught kids the wave and they loved it. I think the counselors loved it more.
  • Pin the Tail on the Whale
  • Make Fishing Poles
    • We used straws for poles, yarn for string and magnets taped to the yarn for hooks.
    • Kids later “went fishing” for paper fish with paperclips attached.
  • Hair Gel/Sticker Ocean
    • Quart sized plastic bag filled 1/3 full with blue hair gel. Have kids pick out 4 or 5 fish stickers and put them into the bag. (Counselors/staff should handle everything up to this point.)
    • Once the bag is sealed, kids move the animals around in the gel. They loved it!
  • Tag Games
    • Octopus Tag: One person is “it” and runs to tag others. Once tagged, kids sit down in the same spot like freeze tag, but reach out to tag others with their hands and feet.
    • Sharks and Minnows: One person starts out as a shark and the rest minnows. Once the shark tags a minnow, the minnow becomes another shark. Last person to be a minnow wins.
  • Rainbow Fish
    • Story Time: Rainbow Fish. I had always asumed that everyone knew this book, but recently met a few people who haven’t. Some things that are “classics” among preschool teachers are foreign to those who don’t spend a lot of time with the under age 6 crowd. In case you haven’t read it, please head to a library and check it out. It will be well worth the trip.
    • Rainbow Fish Craft. I had cut out “scale” shapes. Each member decorated two with markers, glitter and glue. They got to keep one and gave one away.
  • Ocean Animal Puppets
    • This was a super easy rainy-day craft. We found printables for ocean animal puppets and had kids glue them to paper bags.
    • Kids walked around with octopi, crabs and sea-horses for hands for the rest of the day.

What “ocean” activities have you done in the past?

~Miss Brenda

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