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Three Under the Sea Ocean Crafts for Preschoolers

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 8/2/2012

Don't bore your class with common ocean crafts. Widen their horizons with these craft ideas that introduce them to coral reefs, the open ocean and the deep ocean. Celebrate the differences of the ocean and her wonderful sea life!

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    Aren't They All the Same?

    Ocean life is as different as life on land. There are mountainous regions, rain forests and deserts here on land and the creatures vary along with the climate. The same holds true for life in the sea.

    Introduce your students to these differences using these crafts as a starting point. These preschool ocean crafts open up new worlds of discovery to your classroom.

    Using them along with an ocean theme, as extension activities or as stand-alone crafts will have your students fishing to learn more about life in the sea. Before the students begin, demonstrate how they should be completed in a step-by-step manner, which will also give them a model when you are finished to reference throughout their construction time. Due to the differing levels of preschoolers, some crafts may need to be altered according to a student's skill level.

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    Coral Reefs: Sea Anemone and Clown Anemonefish

    Materials Needed:Sea Anemone and Clownfish 

    • Orange construction paper with two fish traced on it (one for each child)
    • White construction paper (one for each child)
    • White tempera paint (enough for the children to share)
    • Glue sticks (enough for the children to share)
    • Safety scissors (enough for the children to share)
    • Paintbrushes (enough for the children to share)
    • Black marker or crayon (enough for the children to share)
    • Pre-cut strips of pink ribbons in different sizes no longer than 6" and (7-10 each for each child)

    This craft will introduce children to life on the coral reefs, which contains about 25 percent of marine life despite their size. One of the more popular creatures of this part of the world is the sea anemone and the clown anemonefish, or clownfish.

    Begin by handing out a piece of white construction paper to each child along with the orange one that contains the two fish. Ask the students to cut out the fish.

    Once completed, have them glue them onto the white construction paper. Once they are attached, have them paint three white lines on the fish. This is a classic characteristic of the clownfish. Using the black marker, have them place an eye on their fish as well. Finally have them glue their ribbons, which represent the sea anemone.

    Have them place the glue only at the bottom end of the ribbons, which will let them flow over the fish just like an anemone would in the sea. Clownfish hide in the sea anemone, and this craft will model this survival behavior.

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    Open Ocean: Blue Marlin

    Materials Needed:Blue Marlin (front) 

    • White construction paper (one for each child)
    • Pre-cut image of a blue marlin about 3-4 inches in length (one for each child)
    • Cobalt blue tempera paint (enough for the children to share)
    • Light blue tempera paint (enough for the children to share)
    • Blue tempera paint (enough for the children to share)
    • White tempera paint (enough for the children to share)Blue Marlin (back) 
    • Yellow tempera paint (enough for the children to share)
    • Button (one for each child)
    • Paintbrushes (enough for the children to share)
    • Black marker (enough for the children to share)
    • Glue (enough for the children to share)

    Due to the vastness of the open ocean, fish have to travel far and wide to find food. Due to its being one of the fastest fish in the sea, blue marlins can travel thousands of miles in the open waters. Their characteristics are very recognizable and their images can be found anywhere from sporting teams to popular books.

    Begin this blue marlin craft by handing out the white construction paper to each child. Have them paint an ocean scene by painting the bottom half of the paper with the blue paint, the top half with the light blue paint, and adding a sun in the light blue section.

    Once the ocean scene is dry, cut a pathway that goes from the water to the sky and back to the water again. This pathway will be what the fish travels on, so it should be big enough to allow the movement, but not big enough for the button to slip through.

    Hand out the pre-cut marlins to each student. Have them paint the top half of the marlin cobalt blue and the bottom white, which are the marlin's characteristic colors. Once dry they should add an eye using black marker.

    The next step is a little tricky and will require some assistance. Have them turn the marlin around so it is upside down as well as the ocean scene. Make sure that the marlin is visible through the pathway you made and have them glue the button to the back of the marlin. Make sure the glue does not touch the ocean scene. Once dry the children will be able to make the marlin "swim" through the open ocean, and even jump through the air.

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    Deep Ocean: Giant Squid

    Materials Needed:Giant Squid 

    • Rubber Glove (one for each child)
    • Piece of yarn or twine 4" long (one for each child)
    • Cut up red or pink tissue paper (enough for the children to fill up their gloves)
    • Pre-cut eyes (two for each child)

    There is much to learn from the deep-sea due to our inability to get there and study it. The giant squid, which is the biggest invertebrate on Earth, has been mostly studied from carcasses that washed up on the beaches.

    As technology improves, so does our knowledge of life in the deep-sea. Foster this need to learn more by introducing this giant squid craft to your students.

    Begin by handing out one rubber glove to each of your students as well as the tissue paper. Have the children fill up the gloves using the tissue paper, leaving some room for movement.

    Once this step is completed tie the yarn around the glove leaving room for the head, which would be about one to two inches from the "tentacles."

    Tape the end of the squid shut so the paper doesn't fall out. Finally have the children glue on the eyes of the squid. Once completed your students will have a hands on impression of how strange and wonderful this creature is.

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    Explore and More

    These ocean crafts for preschool are wonderful on their own, but enhance your students' learning experience by offering many photos of other sea creatures stemming from these parts of the ocean. Have a map available for reference as well. The more our children know about the wonders of the Earth, the bigger their world becomes.

References

  • Crafts are created from author’s own experience
  • Open Ocean, http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/open_ocean/
  • Coral Reefs, The Center for Educational Technologies® at Wheeling Jesuit University, http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/coralreef/CRcoralreefs.html
  • Blue Marlins, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/blue-marlin/
  • mages: provided by author, all rights reserved
  • Giant Squid, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/giant-squid/
  • Deep Sea, http://www.mbari.org/news/news_releases/2010/deep-conservation/deep-conservation-release.pdf
  • Clownfish, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/clown-anemonefish/