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Ocean Theme Preschool Plans

Ocean Lesson Plan
Lesson planning can seem daunting, but once you get the hang of choosing activities to match a theme, it is simple and fun. Here is a sample lesson plan for an Ocean theme unit. This could theoretically be planned for one day of preschool; however, it could easily be split into a few days’ worth of lessons. The learning objectives for each activity have been included so you get a sense of why some of these are important for preschool development. These activities can all be easily adapted to the materials and space that you are working with. If you don’t have something on hand, look around your home or classroom and get creative!

Sensory: Water Table
Learning Objectives:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Exploration and Discovery
i. Uses senses to explore people, objects, and the environment
ii. Shows interest and curiosity in new people and objects
iii. Makes things happen and watches for results or repeats actions

2. Social and Emotional Development
a. Self-Regulation
i. Begins to manage own behavior and show self-regulation

Materials:
*Water table
*Sea creatures
*Buckets and shovels
*Blue liquid water colors
*Glitter
*Water

Directions:
Fill the water table with the appropriate amount of water. Add in some blue liquid water color paint (washable). Sprinkle some silver glitter into the water for an added effect. Put sea creatures and sea shells in the water. Depending on the size of the table you can also add in some small buckets and shovels for them to scoop water into. Let your child explore!


Fine Motor: Sea Animal Lacing Cards
Learning Objectives:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Problem Solving

2. Fine Motor Development
a. Develops small muscle control and coordination
b. Controls small muscles in hands when doing simple tasks

Materials:
*Lacing cards (paper, markers, glue, construction paper, hole punch)
*Yarn with taped ends

Directions:
Draw (or print from your computer) pictures of sea animals. They can take up a whole piece of printer paper or you could make them a bit smaller. Glue your picture on to a piece of construction paper or cardstock to make it more durable. Laminate it if you have access to a laminator because that would make it easy to re-use. Next, punch holes around the picture leaving about an inch between holes. Show your child how to lace the card and then give them a chance to practice.


Gross Motor: Sea Animal Bowling
Learning Objective:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Problem Solving
i. Uses a variety of strategies to solve problems
ii. Experiments with different uses for objects
b. Exploration and Discovery
i. Makes things happen and watches for results or repeats action

2. Physical & Motor Development
a. Gross Motor Development
i. Moves body, arms and legs with coordination
ii. Moves body with purpose to achieve a goal
iii. Develops increasing ability to change positions and move body from place to place

Materials:
*Ball
*10 Empty water (or 2L pop) bottles
*Sea Creatures
*Tape
*Dry beans/rice (optional)

Directions:
Draw (or print from your computer)10 pictures of sea animals. They need to be sized small enough to fit on a water/pop bottle. On each of the sea animals write the numbers 1-10. Set the bottles up like you would normal bowling pins—4 in the back row, followed by 3 bottles, then 2 bottles and finally last bottle. Put the numbers in order so that your child sees the first sea animal with the “1” on it in the first row. Place a piece of tape on the ground so your child knows where to stand. Let them bowl! When they knock over the pins have them identify the type of animal and the number on it. Repeat until all the bottles are knocked over. Hint: if the bottles do not stand up well on their own, try adding dry beans or rice to the bottom of the bottles to give them more stability.


Literacy/Language: Play Dough Mats
Learning Objectives:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Exploration and Discovery
i. Uses senses to explore

2. Language Development & Communication
a. Emergent Literacy
i. Demonstrates interest in print materials
ii. Begins to recognize and understand symbols

3. Physical & Motor Development
a. Fine Motor Development
i. Develops small muscle control and coordination
ii. Controls small muscles in hands when doing simple tasks

Materials:
*Ocean play dough mats
*Play dough

Directions:
Create an ocean play dough mat by drawing or printing a sea animal on a piece of paper. At the top of the paper write a large upper and lowercase letter that the picture starts with (e.g., for an octopus you would write O o at the top of the page). Laminate or cover the paper with contact paper. Your child can use the play dough mats to practice making letters. Roll snakes to help them form the letters at the top of the mat.


Math: Goldfish 1:1 Correspondence

Learning Objectives:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Problem Solving
i. Uses a variety of strategies to solve problems.
b. Memory
i. Shows the ability to acquire and process new information.
c. Exploration and Discovery
i. Attends to colors, shapes, patterns, or pictures.

2. Physical & Motor Development
a. Fine Motor Development
i. Develops small muscle control and coordination
ii. Controls small muscles in hands when doing simple tasks.

Materials:
*Fish bowl place mats (paper, markers)
*Goldfish crackers

Directions:
To create a fish bowl place mat you will need to draw 5-10 fish bowls (roughly 6” diameter). Cut out each of the fish bowls. In each bowl you will draw small fish—about the size of a goldfish cracker. At the top of the bowl write the numeral and word for the number. If you have five fish bowls then you would have the numbers 1-5 represented in the bowls. If you cut out 10 bowls then you would have the numbers 1-10 represented. Glue the bowls onto construction paper. You can probably fit 4 bowls on a 9x12 piece of construction paper. Laminate or cover with contact paper if you would like to use these again in the future. Set out a bowl of goldfish crackers and the place mats. Your child will cover each of the fish in the bowls with one goldfish cracker. After they have covered the fish ask them questions such as, “which bowl has the most crackers?” and “can you find the bowl with 5 crackers?” Then, let them snack!


Art: Crayon Resist Art

Learning Objective:
1. Cognitive Development
a. Exploration & Discovery
i. Makes things happen and watches for results or repeats action.

2. Physical & Motor Development
a. Fine Motor Development
i. Develops small muscle control and coordination
ii. Controls small muscles in hands when doing simple tasks.

Materials:
*Crayons
*Paper
*Water color paint & paint brushes

Directions:
Have your child draw an ocean scene on a piece of paper. If they aren’t sure what to draw then you could have them dictate to you what they would like in their scene and you can draw it in pencil. Then have them trace over it in crayon. After the picture is drawn in crayon have them paint over the scene using blue (so it looks like the ocean, but any color is truly fine). The crayon “resists” the paint and creates a really neat picture.


In addition to all of these structured activities, don’t forget that there are hundreds of ocean inspired children’s books, puzzles, and songs that can be a fun addition to these plans.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Amy Tradewell. All rights reserved.
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