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Four Ways to Teach Math to Preschoolers With Ocean-Themed Lessons

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 12/11/2014

Dive in for some great preschool math activities! When doing an ocean theme, there are many opportunities to work across the curriculum. This lesson involves objectives in math for preschool students in an ocean setting.

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    Math for preschool with an ocean theme begins by reading the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni. The main character, a fish named Swimmy by Leon Lionni 

    Swimmy, joins with other little fish to form a big fish to scare away danger.

    Follow-up story time with these activities:

    Preparation:

    1. Use a large sheet of blue bulletin board paper. Attach it to the bulletin board or wall at a level where children can easily reach it. You may choose to add some rocks, sea anemone or bigger fish to the scene.

    2. Click here for a fish template. Copy and and use it to trace on four different colors of construction paper. Then cut out enough fish for all of your students to have one each.

    Addition and Subtraction:

    Then provide a variety of story problems until all of the students have a few turns each.

    With each story, write the number sentence on the board that corresponds.

    Here are some examples:

    1. Two red fish and three blue fish are swimming together in the ocean. How many in all? (Students with those colors of fish come up and make their fish “swim" in the ocean scene.) You write and say the number sentence: 2+3= 5.

    2. Five fish are joined by two orange fish. Now how many in all? 5+2=7

    3. Four green fish are swimming and one fish stops to play in a cave. How many are left to swim? 4-1=3.

    Pattern Activities:

    1. Use the same fish cut outs from the above activity to do pattern activities.

    Red fish, blue fish, yellow fish, red fish, blue fish, yellow fish,_______(What comes next?)

    2. Click here for ocean creatures and use them for pattern activities as well.

    Octopus, shark, octopus, shark, octopus, ________(What comes next?)

    3. Use the fish (the ones on the colored construction paper) to cooperate and form one big fish like Swimmy did in the book.

    Directional Words:

    1. With students sitting on the floor, use the fish and ocean creatures for review of directional words:

    For example:

    Put the red fish between the blue fish and the shark.

    Put the blue fish next to the octopus.

    Put the yellow fish above the red fish.

    Put the octopus behind you.

    Put the whale on top of your head.

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    Finger play

    Finish your math for preschool activities with a finger play. Your ocean theme will be a splash!

    Five Little Fishes

    Make swimming motions, then wiggle a different finger as you say each line.

    Five little fishes swimming in a pool

    This one said, "The pool is cool."

    This one said, "The pool is deep."

    This one said, "I'd like to sleep."

    This one said, "I'll float and dip."

    This one said, "I see a ship."

    The fishing boat comes.

    The line goes splash.

    All the little fishes swim away in a flash!

    Finger play source: Angelfire.com

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