Under the Sea
As our archive of kids crafts and art project ideas continues to grow I like to take a day each week (or so) to do a round up. They help you find what you need fast! Here are 15 sea animal crafts and activities for you to try with your kids.
Paper Bag Octopus
Bubble Wrap School Of Fish
Sticky Fish Sun Catcher
Walnut Shell Turtles
Paper Plate Jelly Fish
Alphabet Fishing Game
Finger Print Fish
Puffy Paint Fish
Paper Plate Crab
Ocean Sensory Tub
Bubble Wrap Starfish
Cupcake Liner Jelly Fish
A great way to get children interested in science is to go on field trips to learn first hand. I like to take my children somewhere exciting every Friday then use our trip as a launching pad for more learning with books and of course a creative craft. Last week we went to our local aquarium and checked out a new octopus, some jelly fish , crabs and of course starfish! For the craft when we came home we used both bubble wrap for my preschooler and a easier to manipulate tool for my toddler. I am always happy when we can find crafts that work with both kids at the same time.
- Take a trip to your local aquarium, beach or even a pet store and check out some sea life!
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper ( we love using grocery bags), self stick bubble wrap ( regular works too but man was the self stick awesome), paint, a plate for the paint, marker, toilet paper roll and scissors. If you are doing this with toddlers you may also want a dish scrubber with a handle.
- Start by drawing a starfish on your paper. I taped the paper bag right down to the table with painters tape to use it as a drop cloth and project all in one. I had one kid at each end of the table.
- Cut your bubble wrap so it wraps around your toilet paper roll. The self stick stayed on like magic , I am in love. I swear this post isn’t sponsored by the bubble wrap company .
- Choose your paint colors and pour into a plate. Not too much or the bubble wrap won’t show. Roll the bubble wrap in.
- Roll it on your starfish.
- We never get sick of how awesome bubble wrap prints are, and we’ve made a few over the years!
- Now for the wee ones. I gave her the same plate and let her smack her star with the scrubber. As you can see it did go to her lips but because it’s harder plastic all she could do was lick it. This is why I don’t sponge paint with her yet, she could bite off a piece and choke. Another tip for babies and toddlers, keep some stained clothes for art time, many will refuse a smock and it’s easier to get a good fit with clothes.
- Let dry and cut out.
Books About The Ocean
A House for Hermit Crab is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one. The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable
Hooray for Fish!: Candlewick Storybook Animations by Lucy Cousins gets are huge “Hooray” from our house. I thought my son would think this book was a little young for him. He’s started saying board books are for babies, and he’s a big boy and even though this isn’t a board book it’s simple, big and bright like one. Nope, he loved it. Little Fish takes the readers on a tour of all the different kinds of fish , the bright fun illustrations are so interesting to look at , and choose your favorite fish on each page. The rhymes are fun and when we finished reading my son immediately asked to read it again! Edited for 2011 – now that he is almost 5 he flatly refused to read this with me but his sister who is 14 months liked it!
Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals and greets and says good bye to each before swimming away on his treasure hunt. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream! Edited for 2011 – my son re discovered this book as we were setting up the playroom in our new house. It’s still a hit with him after 2 years.
This is about as low mess you can get and still end up with a fun sparkly craft. Contact paper takes the place of glue and even though we used felt and buttons for differing textures you could add just about anything you have on hand .
- Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, a sheet of construction paper, crayon, scissors, felt, buttons, and googly eyes.
- Start by drawing the outline of a fish on the construction paper.
- Cut the fish out so you are left with a frame.
- Cut a piece of contact almost as large as the full sheet of construction paper , peel the backing off and stick on .
- Cut your felt into small pieces.
- Invite your child to the table .If you were me yesterday go into long negotiations with your Batman costumed child over doing or not doing a craft with gloves that belong to his grandmother on… which then turned into ” You always boss me around, I hate fish, I won’t do your baby craft.” Inspired by techniques discussed in our Parenting Book Club Book “Playful Parenting” I resisted the urge to give a lecture about talking back and instead pretended to call Batman himself for help and listened to “Batman’s” suggestions. So we added some gems from our art closet , he took one glove off and we had a fun time together which is the whole point .
- Add your eyes and collage materials.
- Hang up in your window – no need to wait for anything to dry.
Today I really wondered for a few minutes if maybe my wee man was actually done with craft time. If he is I will be sad because I love our time creating but only when he loves it too. His play is almost entirely pretend play and he loves making anything that goes with his favorite theme du jour so we’ll see… either way I think I better start saving for his law school, this kid can negotiate!
Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra is a goofy fun book that had me wrapped around it’s fingers with the title, I mean a fish named Barry? And he has fingers?! I love it. Thankfully my judgment was smack dab on because the inside of the book was as funny as the cover. Barry isn’t just a fish with fingers he is a hero when his fingers save the day. The illustrations are so fun, the text is zippy and both my kids ( 4 and 10 months) loved it from start to finish.
I spent my first 10 years on the west coast then moved back after university and settled here finally to start a family. I love the beach , not to sit and bake in the sun ( good thing there isn’t much around here) , but to find sea creatures. I have never really gotten over the excitement of tide pools, sea anemones, starfish , crabs and sea urchins. Even if you aren’t close to the coast you can make this sea urchin craft . This is not a craft for tiny guys, but with help a preschooler could do it without getting too frustrated.
- Gather your materials. You will need some styrofoam ( or salt dough would be awesome , just skip the tissue paper), tissue paper, tape, a marker , scissors and lots of toothpicks.
- Start by cutting your styrofoam into a circle.
- Wrap a square of tissue paper around it, and tape.
- Color the toothpicks with marker. This is tough – with older children see how many they can do at once . I held a bunch and rolled them in my fingers to paint all sides. With younger ones you could have them finger paint the toothpics, but this would add drying time too.
- Stick them in!
A Sea-Wishing Day by Robert Heidbreder is a wonderful tale of adventure, pirates, mermaids and treasure! The best part the little boy and his canine companion never really leave his backyard in the city , instead the adventure is all in their imagination. Anyone with a preschooler will appreciate this book, playing pretend is a huge part of most 3-5 year old’s playtime, and it should be. This book encourages, as well as celebrates that as this little boy discovers adventures on the high sea.
Swimmy is a serious tale about a little fish who tragically looses his family, and is forced to face scary things alone. He soon discovers that if he and other little fish band together they have power against the big bullies in the ocean. Personally I love this author and this book is one of my favorites. Some parents have expressed concern over his family being eaten at the start , so read it for yourself before deciding if it’s right for your child.
Ten Little Fish by Audrey and Bruce Wood was another cute find this week. The book is a rhyming countdown story about 10 little fish and what happens to them one by one. The illustrations look like an animated movie, and the rhymes are well thought out. My one wish is that the numbers were shown as digits not simply words, so that younger children who can recognize the numbers in digit form but not yet by reading the word could more easily follow along. The ending made me giggle, and you’ll have to grab the book to find out why !
While brainstorming for back to school activities to do I was focusing on “school” and this came to mind. I grabbed the paint and rolling pin and my son came running. I am not sure my son knows that a rolling pin is a kitchen utensil but I do know he loves painting with it. This is a long project we did it slowly over the whole day. It would be great for a group or classroom too!
- Gather your materials. You will need a large piece of white paper, a few pieces of any other color construction paper, a marker, some bubble wrap, a rolling pin, paint ( blue and any other colors you want), glitter paint, glue, scissors, tape, a bowl, spoon, and googly eyes.
- Start by mixing your blue paint with the glitter. We used glitter glue but plain glitter will work as well.
- Finger paint it on the large piece of white paper. I showed my son how to make long finger “waves” to make it look like the ocean and we did that for a long time.
- While they finger paint, draw a bunch of fish on the other construction paper. I drew the fish because I wanted my son to know what he was painting but with older children I would have skipped drawing them and focus on getting cool prints and cut out the fish free hand once they were dry. For a toddler though a concrete obvious drawing of what we are making is important.
- Wrap the bubble paint around the rolling pin bubbles out.
- Pour some paint on a large plate or mat . We used multiple colors of paint.
- Roll your wrapped rolling pin in it.
- Roll it on the paper with the fish.
- Keep going until your whole “school” is painted. Let dry.
- When the fish are dry cut out.
- Glue onto the ocean
- Add googly eyes and let dry.
School of Fish