Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

“Ocean” Themed Lessons Ages 3-7

on September 18, 2015

During the summer we took the grands to the beach again, and their mom took them to a small aquarium. I decided to build upon these experiences by creating “ocean” themed lessons for the grands. So 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 planned a variety of lessons in each intelligence to have differentiated activities for each grandson: Tigger (7), Kona (5), and Tahoe (3). We spent three weeks on this study unit, and completed at least one activity for each intelligence during that time. 

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

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 the grands each day during the three week period. I chose three nonfiction books:


  • National Geographic Little Kids Ocean Counting by Janet Lawler has beautiful photographs. Besides being a counting book, it has has simple information on the animal featured on each page.
  • Oceans by Cathryn Sill has beautiful illustrations and features a nice variety of ocean inhabitants. The Afterword includes more information about the animals in each illustration.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blue Ocean includes information and experiments related to twelve different topics about the ocean. The information in this book is more in depth, so it may appeal better to elementary aged children rather than preschoolers.

I also chose one fiction book for the Ocean Study Unit:

Sneakers the Seaside Cat

  • 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.

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. I always try to have at least one audio book in my car for the grands because we spend some time traveling pretty much every day.


Magic School Bus - Ocean


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

 Finger plays and songs-I found some songs on the Internet to teach the grands, including 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 the grands. 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.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)


To help the grands develop their spatial and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences, I found some videos online that demonstrated how to draw a variety of ocean animals. I had the grands watch a video on sea jellies and they drew their own versions.

Besides using a video, I  found a great book to help the grands draw ocean animals (which includes some fun facts about each creature as well). Learn to Draw Sea Creatures by Walter Foster Jr., shows step by step instructions to draw over 25 ocean animals starting with simple shapes such as circles, ovals, rectangles, squares, and triangles. Some of the creatures included in this book are dolphins, crabs, manatees, octopus, sea horse, and walrus.


Videos-The grands and I have been enjoying the television series Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin which we are able to access from the On Demand button from our cable provider and I believe some abc affilitates carry it as well.

Directed Projects-Tahoe needs to practice drawing circles and triangles so I used these shapes to help him draw some simple fish. Then he used a very diluted blue wash to paint over his crayon drawings to look like the fish were in the ocean. Kona did something similar but he used an oval, small circles, and two triangles to draw a parrotfish.

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 the grands understand the stories I read to them. A fun activity was to have the grands pretend they were the characters in the book and act out the book with other members of the family.

Play dough 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.) 

Experiments-Kona and Tigger worked together on an experiment to help them understand why there is so much salt in the ocean. We read pages 24-26 in Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blue Ocean and followed the directions for the salt water evaporation experiment on p. 27. This experiment needs a few days before looking at the results. (Make sure you tell the rest of the family that the wet plate with paper towels on the patio table is an experiment or else the experiment might get washed after dinner.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Crab Walk-I had all the grands practice the Crab Walk (which is really good for developing upper arm strength….believe me…I had to model it for them). To do a Crab Walk, I had the grands sit on the rug with their hands behind them, their feet flat on the floor, and their knees bent. Then they used their arms to lift their bottom off the floor. If they could hold this position, then they could begin to walk; backwards is easier than going forward.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting and measuring 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 a good place to start.

Reading data on graphs-Using information found on a link to a local beach, Tigger, Kona, and I discussed the graphs on wave height and wind speed. Since some of these numbers were written as decimals, it gave me an opportunity to explain what .5 meant as a decimal and a fraction. We also practiced reading time on the graph (low and high tide.)



Subtraction Problems: Tigger and Kona created simple subtraction problems using the information about surf height from this chart:


Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Personal reading – Giving the grands personal time to look over the books I have read to them gives them a chance to explore at their 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 they could explore later on their own. It’s amazing how fascinating these sensory bottles can be.  I found the basic information about this activity at this link:


Make sure to secure the cap with hot glue or duct tape so the oil and water don't accidentally spill out as the bottle is shaken.

Make sure to secure the cap with hot glue or duct tape so the oil and water don’t accidentally spill out as the bottle is shaken.


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.  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.

Spelling practice in the sand-Whether at the beach, or in the sandbox in the backyard, I usually try to include natural materials when the boys practice their spelling, letters, or sounds.

Kona practiced some spelling words in the sand.

Kona practiced some spelling words in the sand.





Thanks for reading my blog. I hope these articles are helpful when you are planning learning activities for the children in your care.

You can also find my posts on these linky parties.

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5 responses to ““Ocean” Themed Lessons Ages 3-7

  1. Great ideas, thanks! We live on the ocean and I actually haven’t taught my little ones about ocean life yet…love your resources!


  2. what a great week…so engaging for the children! Thanks for all the ideas!



  3. I love the play dough mat you created. It’s a great starting point to help get their creative juices flowing.


  4. Looks like fun! I love that you have suggestions for all the different types of learners!


  5. Great suggestions for both books and art. I have always found that ocean art makes some of the most fun preschool and younger elementary art. Thanks for joining us again at the #LMMLinkup.


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