For my preschool “Under the Sea” theme we painted the back of our bulletin board with blue paint which I had poured salt into to make our ocean water. Then we added the caption “Under the Sea”, and some cherri-o octopuses, rainbow fish, and seaweed that we had made. I also took a picture of each child wearing goggles, and inserted the pictures into a scuba diver background! They look so funny and the kids love their “scuba pictures”!
This puppet idea has been such a success with my 3-year-olds. I’ll try to explain it the best I can! While using the book The Rainbow Fish, I created stick puppets of the main characters (rainbow fish, 3 fish friends, the starfish, and the octopus). I just drew basic pictures on colorful paper, mounted them on poster board and laminated them. I used light blue for rainbow fish; pastel yellow, green and pink for the 3 friends; bright pink for the starfish; and navy for the octopus. They are each about 6″ big and mounted on large craft sticks. On the fish puppets, I drew the pattern of their fins. On the rainbow fish puppet, I colored a few fins here and there so he looked bright – just like the pictures in the book. Next, I made 4 little shiny fins using poster board, colorful glitter and lots of layers of glue. On the back of each of these fins I put velcro (the scratchy side). Then, I put four small patches of Velcro (the soft side) over some of the fins I had drawn on the rainbow fish. On each of the 3 fish friends, I put one piece of soft-side Velcro. Now when the children see the puppets in the puppet stage area, they can re-tell and act out the story. Rainbow Fish can even share his fins when his friends ask! Good small motor development to remove the tiny fins from the velcro. My kids seem to never grow tired of sharing the fins, and they still remember the story after four months!
While studying the ocean we do a lot of crafts to learn children about ocean life. I put a piece of blue bulletin board paper on the bottom of the wall outside the classroom. On the very bottom of the paper I add sand to look like the bottom of the ocean floor. On the ceiling I add light blue, navy blue and white crepe paper streamers from the ceiling tiles to make the wave look of the top of the ocean. The bulletin board is ready to go. Then as we study ocean life we add the children’s crafts. We make jellyfish from clear plastic lids. Cut the lid in half, punch 3 to 4 holes in flat side of lid and add embroidery thread. Sea horse pattern- mix shedder wheat cereal and glue. Clam- paint inside of paper plate pink let dry, add cotton ball to center, fold plate in half staple at bend to hold it half closed. School of fish- pudding boxes wrapped in wallpaper samples, add aluminum foil fins, red lips, wiggly eyes. Starfish- let children paint the starfish light yellow then sprinkle with pink, clear, or blue glitter. Turtles- small bowl painted green add tail, head, legs, and arms.
Paper bag fish. Get a lunch size paper bag, draw a line one-third of the way down the middle and have child color under that section. Fold down the bottom of the bag to form a point and tape the back. Tie the open ends together, add a face – and it’s a fish! We hang these in the front window at our school – very cool!
Decorating under the sea: use blue and green cling wrap and blue and green crepe paper for the water and seaweed. Have the children make fish and other sea animals and decorate the room with it. To make it realistic make a boat bottom and put it on the ceiling for the under the sea effect complimented with an anchor. My preschool did this and both the children and the parents loved it. Also buy cheap nets and put the crabs and lobsters in them. have many types of sea shells around and talk about them. And keep your water table full with plastic sea life and shells. You could even use plastic shoe boxes for this activity.