We just finished up our ocean unit with our little co-op preschool today. I think our kids had so much fun and I really feel like Bean especially got a lot out of it. She recognizes several different ocean animals and can sing parts of the song, “Octopus” by Charlotte Diamond.
Two of the three other moms that do the co-op with me were not able to make it so that Tuesday it just wound up being me and my friend Sarah and her daughter that we started the co-op with. It was actually pretty cold and overcast that day too. So none of our outside activities worked out (I had sand and water in giant lasagna pans with shells and ocean themed bath toys).
Our livingroom was big enough to do parachute games inside which both the girls loved. I also did successfully transform my livingroom into a kelp forest. I did it one day while Bean and Sprout napped. When Bean came down from her nap and saw it, she was so excited. She just kept looking up and pointing to it and saying, “Look at that” or “so cute” and a bunch of other stuff. I took a video with my phone and posted it on Facebook, but can’t figure out how to get it somewhere else so that I could post it here.
Here is what the livingroom looked like though:
We don’t watch a whole lot of movies or TV, but I did let Bean watch The Little Mermaid in the kelp forest one day. It was totally magical.
I must admit the idea was not my own at all. It came from the book, The Busy Classroom by Patty Claycomb. Our library had a copy so I checked it out and got so many good ideas from it. Most of the ideas are meant to be done in a classroom setting with a lot of kids, but some of the activities are adaptable for one or two kids. So if you are doing preschool and needing some ideas, I recommend this book. One more note on it though, many of the activities are also meant for 3 or 4 year olds. So while I did glean a lot from the book and get some ideas, many of them are just going to have to wait until Bean and her friends are a little bit older and can comprehend some of the concepts a little better.
Another book that our library had a copy of was Seasonal Storytime Crafts by Kathryn Totten and that is where I got our craft idea for the day:
Her idea was to color pictures of shells, have the kids cut them out and paste them onto sheets of sandpaper. Since some of our kids are not really capable of coloring and definitely not capable of cuting yet I was going to do real shells glued onto sandpaper. But then I couldn’t find any in town. So I found some cute beach themed scrapbooking stickers at Target on clearance (since summer is basically over in the retail world) and we used those. I also decided to rip the sandpaper in half diagonally to make a beach on blue construction paper so that fish stickers could be put in the water.
Sarah and I decided to take Friday off because the other two moms were still out of town or sick and we both had a lot going on.
Stephen let me keep the kelp forest up, so we met at my place again this week. The other two moms were back from their vacations and families all better from illness. Sarah wound up having to stay home though because her daughter wasn’t feeling so well.
The kids did really well this week. They were able to sit through two books at story time. We read Jeepers Peepers Funny Fish and Pup’s Supper. Then we did some parachute time because the kids love it so much. Though I wasn’t as good at it without Sarah since she knows all the fun little songs and adaptations of songs to go with the parachute. We did “Octopus” by Charlotte Diamond. The kids really love this song and all the hand motions that go with it. They also really love the felt puppets that eat eachother that Sarah has. Later that afternoon Bean was belting out “tuna fish, tuna fish… in the water, mungus (humongous) whale, mungus whale… in the water,” while we were shopping in Target.
We let the kids play in the sand and water pans and then one by one they got to paint a lobster for our craft:
Bean was really distracted by the sand and water though and didn’t really want to finish her lobster. She was also much more interested in dipping the paint brush than actually painting. So she did the head of the lobster and I wound up painting the rest for her. One of the other boys just wanted to paint on the construction paper/claws, and the other boy was way too distracted and enthralled by the water and sand so he didn’t wind up painting.
For snack the kids had tuna salad with crackers. We had them smell the tuna too so we could engage their sense of smell.
Today we did our field trip for the ocean unit which was to go to the indoor tidepool exhibit at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center in the Ventura harbor. The kids really loved it and were so excited about seeing all the sea creatures.
These lobsters provided a lot of entertainment for our kids. They kept sparring and chasing eachother around the tidepool tank.
One of the great things about this tidepool fish tank is that it is right at ground level. So Sprout got to have a close encounter with the fish along with Bean and all the other kids. And no mom’s backs were hurt holding up kids to see in the process. 🙂
She was so excited to be at the tidepool with all her preschool friends.
Sarah and her daughter saying hi to the fish with Bean.
Can you guess what happened shortly after this picture was taken? Yep, those sunglasses made it to the bottom of the tidepool. She was then very upset. Luckily the park ranger had a little grasper tool and was able to get them back for us.
As you can see, it isn’t a really big exhibit, but we felt it was actually the perfect size for our kids’ ages.
I was trying to get a picture of the starfish, there are several different varieties in the tidepool.
Every so often water rushes in and around the tidepool to simulate the effect of real tides.
There is a little “cave” where the kids can crawl in under the rocks and see a window of the tidepool tank. Bean and one of the other boys really liked this. The other little boy liked watching the other kids go in, but was too scared to go in himself. That’s OK.
Bean was kind of playing queen of the cave for a bit and I had to gently remind her to share the space with other kids.
She really liked it in there.
So did Sprout.
Checking out the lobsters.
Then we went up to the observation deck where you can look out to see the Channel Islands on a clear day and look over the Ventura Harbor. The kids liked having a bird’s eye view of all the boats and beaches.
Afterwards we all went to lunch in Ventura and then headed home. My kids were both tuckered out and fell asleep which allowed me to write up this post. They are both up now though so I must be going. Hope you enjoyed a look at our preschool days and how we studied the ocean with the kids.