Ocean Life is such fun theme for students and teachers! Presenting themes that students are interested in is super important to temper the craziness that can occur at the end of the year. One year, I stretched this ocean theme for the entire last month of school! Kids LOVED it!
To begin the theme each day for table time and/or small group, students created an ocean animal craft. Students came in excited each morning asking what animal they would be making that day. These crafts were also a fun way to strengthen fine motor muscles! Students were tracing, cutting, painting, and/or gluing to create the craft which all strengthen those little hand and wrist muscles. We also did open-ended process art for our ocean theme too! It’s good to have a mix of crafts, process art, and directed drawings.
Management Tip! Each day I had all the craft pieces and supplies needed like glue and scissors on a tray for easy set-up and clean-up. I also set up trash bucket at each table so students could put their paper scraps in.
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I’ll start with my favorite ocean animal craft…
Seahorses! This craft was too detailed for my preschool students to cut out so the teachers cut the seahorses out for them. Students glued tissue paper to the seahorses. We just had to read the book Mister Seahorse during circle time to go with this cute craft. We kept this pattern on most days; we read a book to go with the craft of the day. Check out my favorite Ocean Booklist HERE.
Let’s talk tissue paper squares for a minute. I buy a pack of tissue paper from Target with tons of colors and cut it into squares. It’s cheaper and the squares don’t stick together like the pre-cut squares do.
Sea Turtles! Students cut out the legs, head, and shell and glued their turtle together. Then they tore various shades of green paper to create a design on the shell. Tearing paper can be tricky for your little learners. You can help tear the paper into strips to make it easier for students.
Starfish! Students cut out the star pattern. Then made dots all over the starfish using Q-Tips, which is great for strengthening their pencil grasp.
If your students need extra support cutting, try these loop (aka bounce back) scissors. The scissors bounce back open for the student. Now they can do the craft with their peers, with just the bit of extra support they need.
Jellyfish! Students cut out the jellyfish body. Then cut streamers and ribbon for the tentacles. Many students were asking questions about jellyfish during this craft. One student had the idea to look in a book to see if they could find answers to their questions! They discovered jellyfish have no eyes. Students decided that since real jellyfish did not have eyes that they should not make eyes on their jellyfish.
Ocean Mural! What are we going to do with all these amazing ocean animal crafts? Make an ocean mural! First, I covered the wall with blue paper. Students painted twisty coral, seaweed, and sand on the paper.
Look at the den they made for the octopus to hide in! Students painted black rocks at the bottom to create an octopus den. During the entire time they were painting the rocks, they were having an intense talk about octopuses!
Some mornings I had two ocean craft options for students to pick from. Some students made crabs.
Some made fish (with paint sticks).
Octopuses are always a hit!
And an ocean isn’t complete without sharks!
Drum roll please… Admire this amazing ocean mural we had in our Aquarium! They were all so proud of themselves! Students were bringing their parents over to the mural at drop off and pick up to show them their ocean animals. Most also shared the facts they had learned about the animal too! It makes a gorgeous background for graduation or end-of-the-year photos too.
Go grab Ocean Animals: Just the Crafts from my TPT store by clicking on the cover! It includes directions for each animal and all the patterns!
Take the ocean theme all over your classroom. Go check out Ocean Math and Literacy Centers and Aquarium Dramatic Play in my TpT store!
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