We are deep diving into an Ocean Theme! I am so excited to show you all of our exciting ocean activities, including a toddler appropriate set-up, and the six year old work in our newly updated home learning space. Today, let’s talk all about ocean animals!
Ocean Theme Activities
Age: You can use these cards for children approximately between the ages of 3-6.
Ocean Animal Up-Close Cards
The first activity we worked on was an immense success with my children. I cannot even portray the excitement that was radiating in the room as they sprawled out, taking over the entire homeschool room with this work.
Okay, okay, here is the work: we explored ocean animals up-close!
Note the larger tray. This is a big work. I normally like to place all cards in separate bowls or smaller trays so they do not move around when the child carries the work. At home here, we use a small space, and I do not always do this. The larger cards are about half a page in size so I skipped them.
However, what I always do is separate each category of cards rather than leaving everything in one stack. This helps children to identify how the work can be used. If they do not see logically how to start the activity, it may become confusing, the child may lose interest, and will not be sure how to clean up the work.
There are three types of cards in this set – the close up of the animal (a very zoomed in look at a realistic image of the animal), a labeled card with the full image of the animal, and a control card with both and a label.
If you have a younger child, you may want to choose a small amount of cards to use rather than presenting ALL of the cards I have included in this set. This is because younger children may become overwhelmed.
You could add a magnifying glass to this material to help the children notice the details on the animals.
I will warn you – it is very big and will take up some extra space!
I highly recommend laminating the cards for durability because it will be hard to contain on a mat.
I really enjoyed watching my older kiddo work on this though! He was so concentrated and worked so hard to find all of the matches carefully.
Adaptation for Toddlers
I may even present this material to my two and a half year old. However, I would not present the full work, and certainly not give her all of the cards.
You can modify this material for younger children in several simple ways:
- Present only the control and full image card. Present 3-5 cards and set it up as a matching work.
- Present the full image card along with several Schleich animal figurines. Use them to teach the names of the animals. Present 3-5 cards at a time.
You may even choose to place the animal figurines in a simple sensory bin filled with blue gems or rice or whatever you have on hand. Ask the child to find the animals, and then match them to the cards. This bin may be a distraction though to the child, but I have seen several people use such a method successfully.
Internal Anatomy Posters
One of my favorite materials to make was this set of internal anatomy posters! There are a few versions in this set – one that is labeled and one that is blank for children to label themselves.
You can use the filled in posters as classroom art or display as a banner. Another idea is to put them on a nature table as a display. Again, you can see in the background of this photo, that I also present them along with a Schleich animal figurine.
Levels of the Ocean
We studied the different levels of the ocean, as well.
There were several activities that we have covered, including all of the printables in the Ocean Layers Printables set.
One of the activities that we covered was a “create your own 3 part cards” set. This was after we explored the animals of the ocean with a 3 period lesson. I provided full color 3 part cards for that.
Checkout our Ocean Theme MEGA Bundle!
This material was more of a review, but my older kiddo loved it!
I can’t even tell you how proud I am of how far my son has come with reading and writing! I was worried that he was behind or things weren’t clicking. Eventually, when HE was ready, everything clicked. Seeing his growth this last year has been amazing and is also a great reminder to follow the child. They’ll get there when they’re ready.
I don’t normally like to share photos of my children’s faces online, but friends, look at how proud he is of his work!!! Reading and writing was a struggle for him, and he is just gleaming with joy because he is writing without my help.
If you have more than one child that will use this material, I recommend printing more than one copy of the work. I put this out for my 6 year old, but my 2 year old saw it and wanted to color, as well. They both enjoyed it, and my daughter called all of the ocean animals fish. We’re working on vocabulary 😉
As a bonus, here’s my two year old turning this into a pencil sharpening exercise. She returned to this material daily for two weeks. As is typical for this age, she lost interest as suddenly as she developed it. Once she mastered the skill, she no longer felt the need to use it.
Shark 4 Part Cards
To continue the study of ocean animals, I brought out our types of sharks 4 part cards. I created these a little while back, but this was a great opportunity to review.
Here’s a closer look.
I also added a set of shark figurines.
This set also comes with an information card that holds very interesting facts for children to read.
Presentation Shark 3 Part Cards
The presentation of the material was very simple on the tray. I try to keep each of the different cards separate. It is important to make sure that it is obvious how the material should be used when the child takes the tray.
Overview Ocean Theme
Here’s a look at the ocean animal shelves at one point. I do rotate out the activities and keep them up until I notice they need to be changed. Sometimes this may mean a few days, and other times, several weeks. I keep the shelves fairly open and try to avoid crowding.
If I have books that go well with the theme, they are presented in an inviting and engaging way. This is intentional to spark interest.