The Earth is primarily made up of water, and a large percentage of all life lives within this water. Children seem to be fascinated with water, and teaching them about life under the sea provides them with a greater understanding of one of the world's largest ecosystems. When teaching an under-the-sea theme, fully immerse children in the topic by integrating it throughout the content areas.
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Paper Plate Octopus Craft
After discussing octopuses, make a paper plate octopus craft as an extension activity. Cut paper plates in half, and provide each child with one of the halves. Instruct children to colour the front and back of the plates grey with paint, markers or crayons. Have children glue two googly eyes on the front of the paper plate and use a black marker to draw a smile. Cut eight lengths of crepe paper streamers -- use grey streamers for a more authentic look, or multicoloured streamers to create a colourful craft. Help children glue the streamers to the bottom of the paper plate, forming tentacles for their octopus. Punch a hole in the top of the paper plate and string a piece of yarn through it, which you can use to display the craft.
This activity allows children to pretend they are crabs and promotes gross motor development. Instruct children to sit on the ground and put their hands behind them and their legs in front of them. Have them push up on their hands and feet and walk forwards and backwards -- they'll look like crabs walking around the room. Once they become comfortable walking like crabs, organise a crab walk race.
Create an educational fishing game for children. From construction paper, cut out a variety of fish shapes. On each fish, write letters, numbers, shapes, answers to addition or subtraction problems, or any type of academic skill that you want to reinforce. Punch a hole through the tail of each fish and place a paper clip in each hole. Tie a magnet to one end of a length of yarn, and tie the other end to a ruler, creating a fishing rod. Spread the fish on the floor and ask questions related to what you have written on the back of the fish, and have children use their poles to catch the fish you are referring to. For instance, if you say square, children should catch the fish that has a square on it.
Guess the Animal
Play a game in which children have to guess what type of aquatic animal you are referring to. State three facts about an aquatic animal, and the first person to correctly guess the animal you are referring to earns a point. For instance, when describing a dolphin, you might say, "I have a blowhole. I am a mammal. I jump out of the water." If children are unable to determine which animal you are referring to, provide a few more clues. Continue playing, describing different animals. The child who collects the most points wins the game.
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