The end of the school year or the beginning of a new one seems to be the favorite times to learn about the ocean and what goes on there. So now is the perfect time to share some Ocean Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade with you. There’s a lot included, so don’t miss the free ocean writing activity download!
For this bulletin board we started with the background and the children added the sea creatures.
Ocean Reading Activities
Ocean Book List: Here’s a great list of ocean picture books to get you started. As I read them to my students, I added them to the Reading Center. You can also add goggles, snorkels, flippers, and stuffed ocean creatures to your reading center to increase excitement. Your students will love it and you’ll get some warm fuzzies, too, just watching them read! Make sure you snap some photos to display in your classroom!
- The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister
- Mr. Seahorse – Eric Carle
- A House for Hermit Crab – Eric Carle
- My Visit to the Aquarium – Aliki
- The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor – Joanna Cole
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss
- Fish Eyes – Lois Elhert
- The Tickle Octopus – Aubrey Wood
- Fish is Fish – Leo Lionni
- Swimmy – Leo Lionni
- My Very Own Octopus – Bernard Most
- Is This a House for Hermit Crab? – Megan MacDonald
- Ten Little Fish – Aubrey Wood
- The Whale Who Ate Plastic – Stephanie O’Connor
- Commotion in the Ocean – G. Andreae and D. Wojitowycz
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean
Ocean Bingo: Kids love playing bingo and it lends itself to almost any skill.
- Ocean Vocabulary Bingo – create your own ocean vocabulary bingo game using pictures such as ocean animals, coral, kelp, seashell, etc. Provide mini seashells as markers. Your students will love it!
- Ocean First 100 Sight Words Bingo
- Ocean First 100 Sight Words Digital Bingo
Ocean Emergent Reader – a fun emergent reader is a great way to introduce students to ocean creatures.
My students loved this bingo game. The cards were a good size and went great with my ocean theme. Definitely recommend! – Vickie
Ocean Writing Activities
Ocean Writing Center: Put up a beach umbrella, add some sunglasses with light lenses or without the lenses, a snorkel, some flippers, a couple of beach towels on the floor, or a blow up raft and some clipboards loaded with ocean themed writing activities and watch your students flock to that center to write.
Ocean themed writing activities: Download the free ocean themed writing activities below to use in your ocean unit and watch your students’ interest increase. They can draw and write about things they’ve learned.
Ocean Math Activities
Go Fishing: Use blue paper to create the ocean or bring in a small blue pool to fish from. Set up 2 or 3 chairs beside the water for the boat. Add colorful fish to the water labeled with numbers or dots and a paperclip on their mouth. Students take turns fishing. When a student catches a fish they must correctly identify the number or count the dots correctly to keep their “catch”. If they’re wrong, tell them the correct answer and have them throw their fish back to try again the next time. (can also use this game with sight words or ABCs)
Ocean Counting Activity: Purchase blue paper plates. Label starfish, fish, a treasure box, or something ocean appropriate with the numbers 0 – 10 or 0 – 20 (whatever’s appropriate for your students). Glue one number securely to each plate (wherever is most appropriate). Students will count out the correct number of goldfish crackers on the plate to match the number. **Provide extra crackers for snacking either before, during, or after the activity.
Patterning: Provide students with ocean themed mini erasers, seashells, and smooth sea glass to pattern. Provide recording sheets. You can also program paper sea shells or fish with specific patterns you want them to create … like AB, ABC, AAB, AABB, etc.
Ocean Craft Activities
Rainbow Fish: Use old CDs to create rainbow fish after reading the book Rainbow Fish. We just hand drew the fish parts to add. As you can see on the bulletin board photo, we even went back and added a fin over the hole. (not shown here)
Seahorse: Sponge paint a seahorse using the Eric Carle technique after reading Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle.
Paper Plate Jellyfish: Cut one of the thin cheapy paper plates in half (makes two jellyfish). Students color or paint the jellyfish. Add wiggly eyes, then colorful crepe paper streamers to the bottom to form the tentacles.
Other Ocean Activities
Sensory: Add sea creatures, sea shells, smooth sea glass, sand pails, and shovels to your sand table for loads of sensory fun!
Ocean in a Bottle: Fill about ⅓ of a clean, clear, plastic soda or water bottle with sand. Then add a few small sea shells and colorful pieces of sea glass. Fill about ½ – ⅔ with water. Add enough clear mineral oil to top it off till the bottle is ¾ full. Tightly screw on the top of the bottle to make sure there are no leaks and secure it with electrical tape. (Pull the tape tight as you’re wrapping to get a tight seal.) Students gently rock the bottle back and forth to see wave action.
Float or Sink: Help students to conduct an experiment to see whether or not items float or sink. Fill a big bowl with water and have them make a hypothesis about each item whether they will float or sink. They can record their guess on a recording sheet along with the actual information according to the conclusion.
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Ocean Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade
I hope this has inspired you or at least reminded you of something you’d forgotten. It’s nothing really new or innovative, but sometimes just being reminded of the things you’ve forgotten helps.
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