During the summer Grandpa Jim and I took the grands to the beach again, and their mom took them to a small aquarium. To build upon these experiences, I created “ocean” themed lessons for Tahoe, age 3. I ordered several books from the local library and created some lesson plans that I will share with you in this post.
As always, I used the Theory of Multiple Intelligence to help plan a variety of activities for Tahoe. I watch Tahoe three days a week, and we spent about three weeks on this study unit.
Linguistic (Word Smart)
Read books-These are the books I borrowed from the library and used to create the lesson plans. I read at least one of these books to Tahoe each day during the three week period. I chose one fiction and two nonfiction books:
- Sneakers, the Seaside Cat by Margaret Wise Brown is a fictional story about a precocious cat who explores the wonders of the seashore when her family takes her on their vacation.
- National Geographic Little Kids Ocean Counting by Janet Lawler has beautiful photographs. Besides being a counting book, it has simple information on the animal featured on each page.
- Oceans by Cathryn Sill has beautiful illustrations and features a nice variety off ocean inhabitants. The Afterword includes more information about the animals in each illustration.
Discussions-For the book Sneakers, the Seaside Cat, we made predictions on the topic of each page by looking at the illustrations. With the non-fiction books, I focused on the vocabulary and recalling details on each page.
Audiobooks-Our library also had an audio book version of Magic School Bus – On the Ocean Floor. Tahoe and I travel in my car pretty much every day picking up his older brothers from school or activities, so I always carry at least one audio book for the grands in my car.
Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
Finger plays and songs-I found some songs online that I used with Tahoe. There was a youtube video created by Toddler World TV for “The Underwater Song” which was a good one for Tahoe. It has simple rhymes and incorporates some common sea animals as part of the lyrics. Another easy song I used with Tahoe is “Animals in the Ocean” which uses “The Wheels on the Bus” for the melody. I found a youtube video of this song created by Nursery Rhymes TV. Other ocean songs to use can be found at this link which gives the lyrics for songs and uses familiar melodies such as “I’m a Little Teapot:”
Classical Music-I usually try to find classical music to play for Tahoe. For this lesson unit, I played a version of The Carnival of the Animals-Aquarium by Camille Saint-Saens. (This is easy to find on the Internet as well.)
Directed Projects-Tahoe is practicing how to draw circles and triangles so I used these shapes to help him draw simple fish. Then he used a very diluted blue paint to brush over his drawing to give it an “ocean” effect.
On another day, we discussed sea turtles and created our own representation of one of these beautiful creatures.
Sea Light Table: Just before I was to publish this post, I saw this amazing idea. I haven’t tried it, but I thought it was worth including in this lesson unit:
Interpersonal (People Smart)
Dramatic play-I love using dramatic play as a way to help Tahoe understand the stories I read to him. A fun activity was to have him pretend to be Sneakers, the seaside cat, and I played the other characters in the book.
Playdough mats- Tahoe and his seven year old brother, Tigger, enjoyed working together on a play dough mat. I loved listening to their conversation as they worked together. Just from their dialogue with each other, I could tell they both had learned a lot of new vocabulary as they named and described the ocean animals and plants they were making out of play dough. (This is also a bodily-kinesthetic activity for Tahoe, who needs to develop his fine motor skills so he can write as he gets older.)
Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)
Crab Walk-I tried to teach the Crab Walk to Tahoe (which is a really good exercise for developing upper arm strength….believe me…I had to model it for him.) To do a Crab Walk, I had him sit on the rug with his hands behind him, his feet flat on the floor, and his knees bent. Then he used his arms to lift his bottom off the floor. Once he is able to hold this position, then he can begin to walk; backwards is easier than going forward.
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)
Counting activities: There are always lots of counting opportunities for Tahoe in most of the books we read, but the book National Geographic Little Kids Ocean Counting was an excellent book to use for practicing his counting.
Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)
Personal reading – Giving Tahoe personal time to look over the books I have read to him gives him a chance to explore at his own pace.
Ocean in a Bottle-I made a sensory bottle for the grands out of salt, water (colored with a bit of blue paint) and vegetable oil. I had the grands shake the bottle and then watch it as the salty water and oil began to separate. This began a discussion on why water and oil don’t mix, and what happens when oil finds its way into the ocean. (I used hot glue on the cap so the liquid couldn’t accidentally spill out when they shook it.) This was an activity Tahoe could later explore on his own. It’s amazing how fascinating these sensory bottles can be.
I found the basic information about this activity at this link:
Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)
Field trips– My daughter had already taken the boys to a local aquarium and Grandpa Jim and I took them to the beach before I started this unit. I took Tahoe to a local pet store thinking we could find some salt water fish on display there, but alas, they only had freshwater fish for sale at this store. (The store’s website seemed to indicate that salt water fish were for sale at the store, but there weren’t any on display.) Tahoe still had a blast looking at all the different variety of creatures in the aquariums. I had to be careful not to get the shopping cart too close; he wanted to stick his fingers inside to grab some of them. Grandpa Jim and I plan to take all our grandsons to a local tide pool in a few weeks when all the boys have a day off from school.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope these articles are helpful when you are planning learning activities for the children in your care.
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