Ocean Sensory Tub

Pretend play is a great way to teach and learn about all sorts of things. This started out as an activity to keep him busy while I answered emails and needed a few minutes , water always keeps him busy and happy. I was so pleased when he started asking questions about what the animals ate. I got a few emails answered but I ended up googling all the specifics about what each of the animals ate and on the floor playing in no time. It was more fun than answering emails anyway!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a large shallow plastic container, some sea animals, some decorative pebbles, a few towels for your floor, a pitcher and some water.
  2. Start by laying out our towels and putting your container on top.
  3. Put some water in your pitcher and pour it in.
  4. Add some pebbles, you can use sand too but if you want easy clean up stick to glass pebbles.
  5. Add your animals.
  6. Let the learning happen! Have some scoops on hand if they just want to scoop and pour the water.

Books

“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!

” Baby Beluga” by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds! My son loves this book, there are so many sea creatures to point out, it’s great for toddlers!

“Beach Party” by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!

Paper Plate Crab Craft

kids crafts

We went on a fun play date to the local marine science center, where my son was taken with the crabs. You would think an octopus or eel would have been the star of the show but for days he was talking about this plain old, can see it at the market shell fish! So of course, we made one!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, a piece of light colored construction paper, scissors, red paint, a paint brush, glue and googly eyes.
  2. Start by painting your paper plate red.
  3. Next paint the paper red too, at this point he was using his hands, which is fine too. Let dry.
  4. When they are dry ( nap time is always a good drying time) cut the plate in half.
  5. Cut one half into quarters and cut out some claws.
  6. Cut 2 longer strips out of the paper and 2 small ones.
  7. Fan fold the longer strips.
  8. Add glue to the top of the 1/2 paper plate.Add the two smaller strips.
  9. Add glue to the ends of them and add the eyes.
  10. Add glue to the sides of the plate and add the folded strips.
  11. Glue the claws on the end and let dry.

Books!

“One White Wishing Stone: A Beach Day Counting Book” by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.


“Beach Party” by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!


“The Seashore Book” by Charlotte Zolotow is a touching story of a little boy excited to go to the sea for the first time from his mountain home. The mother describes it so well that you will be aching for a trip too! I must admit though that my son and I barely paid attention to the words, we were both so moved by Wendell Minor’s paintings. We couldn’t help but ooh and awe every time we turned the page. My son’s favorite page was the one with the crab, of course!

Submarine Craft

submarine craft

This was a spur of the moment craft. We were going to make a lady bug but at the last minute my son said “I know! Ubb-marine.” So after I drew a few funny looking things I came up with this. Because it was last minute we only have one book today. If you have a great submarine book please leave the title in the comments for everyone to check out!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of construction paper, some crayons, a marker, scissors, tape and tissue paper.
  2. Start by drawing a basic submarine.
  3. Hand it to your little sailor and have them color it to their hearts content!
  4. While they do that cut the tissue paper into small squares.
  5. Cut it out
  6. Fold in half and cut circles on the fold. I asked my son how many he wanted. Older kids can do this step independently.
  7. Flip over and add the tissue paper. Tape right over it all. I did this step, but handed my son some tape to tape some scrap paper and you’d think I gave him a huge bowl of ice cream he was so excited. So even though I was taping our project he was still participating.
  8. Pop it up in your window and let the sun shine through the portholes!

Book!

Super Submarines (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker has been on my son’s dresser next to his bed for months. It gets read all the time. It’s the reason my son knows what a submarine is, and can say periscope. The text is fun and has great rhymes, the pages are filled with information presented in a fun way. I am in awe of the author and illustrator for being able to help me teach my 2 year old about sonar, propellers and submersibles! I admit I have learned a lot from this little book!

 

Jellyfish Craft

jelly fish craft
We braved Costco this past weekend and my son of course wanted to try every sample available. The garbage can was never handy so I carefully folded the liners in my pocket and went on shopping. When the checkout lines were insane as usual I grabbed them and we played with them, then I got the idea to turn them into a jellyfish craft. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cupcake liners, markers, tape, tissue paper, googly eyes, and a piece of blue construction paper.
  2. Start by folding your liner in half. Oh and yes these are the liners from Costco, but don’t worry they just had dried mango in them nothing gooey.
  3. Have your child color them with markers. It was interesting because my son was coloring really really carefully on these, instead of with his normal wild abandon.
  4. While they color the liners, cut the tissue paper into thin strips.
  5. Place the tissue paper on the back and tape down. We used tape because we need to glue the eyes on the front and glue on both sides is super messy especially when tissue paper bleeds. Double stick tape is great for this because the tissue will stay put immediately.
  6. Glue your jelly fish onto the paper.
  7. Now you can add the googly eyes *You can also decorate the construction paper with an under the sea theme. After Costco and a craft my son was done!
Books!


Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae is a happy book full of rhymes about all sorts of sea creatures, including jelly fish. Each page has rhyming text that goes along with the animal. The book is cute and the illustrations are cartoonish. My son enjoyed it pointing out the animals. That said it’s not a must buy, more like a great to have on hand when you are specifically learning about the subject.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!Otto Goes to the Beach by Todd Parr was a steal of a deal at the Goodwill last week! I got a hardcover in perfect condition for 70 cents. My bargin hunting aside, I really enjoy this book as did my son. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way! In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!