Whether you are teaching preschoolers about the types of animals that live in the ocean or preparing them for a trip to a local aquarium, sea life art and craft projects are an effective method of engaging children. By fostering creativity, you can encourage preschoolers to begin to imagine the complex environment that exists under the sea.
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Have your preschoolers create their own aquatic characters with a few simple supplies. Use pictures from sea-themed colouring books or print out images of sea life from the Internet. Have the students colour the ocean animals with crayons or markers. Help them to cut out their creatures using kid-friendly scissors. Attach the colouring to a wood ice cream stick (available at craft stores) with school glue, and allow it to dry. Your students will be able to create their own sea life stories using the characters they have created.
This craft can get messy, so be sure to protect your art area with newspaper and your preschoolers' clothes with smocks or art shirts. Begin with a piece of white construction paper. Put paper plates out, filled with finger paint in different colours. Have each preschooler dip her hand in whatever colour paint she chooses, and place it onto the construction paper. Have her repeat the same step but help her to place her hand in the opposite direction, so that the palm region of each hand print overlaps, but the fingers are pointing in opposite directions. This forms the body of an octopus, where the fingers represent the creature's tentacles. Allow the paint to dry. Use school glue to affix googly eyes (available at craft stores) to the octopi.
Using colouring book pages or their own drawings, have students create five to 10 pictures of sea creatures. Glue the pictures to construction paper. Allow them to dry, and cut out each image. Punch a hole in each critter (as operating a hole punch can be too dangerous for young children), and help the children to loop a piece of yarn through the hole, securing the string in a knot on one end. Tie the other end of each piece of yarn to a clothes hanger to create an ocean mobile. If your classroom is large enough, hang each mobile from the ceiling to display these works of art.
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