Two Fun Preschool Fish Crafts to Go with Swimmy and The Rainbow Fish

Two Fun Preschool Fish Crafts to Go with Swimmy and The Rainbow Fish
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Activity to Go With Swimmy, by Leo Lionni

After reading the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni, students will use shapes to make their own fish. This is a great story to use early in the year when establishing your classroom community.


  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni

  • One large white square or oval, per child (for the fish’s body)

  • One large white triangle, per child (for the tail)

  • One small black circle, per child (for the eye)

  • Crayons or markers

  • Glue

Prior Knowledge

Read the book Swimmy by Leo Lionni. Discuss the story and how all the little fish worked together so that they could swim in the ocean safely without being eaten by the big fish. If you are doing this activity at the beginning of the year, talk about how you will work together as a class throughout the year.


Introduce the three shapes - circle, square(or oval) and triangle - to the students. Ask the students what they notice about each shape: How many sides does it have? Does it have straight or curved lines? Does it have points? You might want to make a quick chart of this information.


Tell the class that they will be making a fish out of the three shapes. Show them an example of a completed fish.

Give each student one square (or oval) and one triangle. Have them color the shapes. After they have finished coloring, show your fish again and ask the preschoolers if they can figure out how to put their square (or oval) and triangle together to make a fish. Give them a minute or two to try this on their own and then demonstrate how to make the fish. This will give each student the opportunity to see if they have assembled their fish craft correctly. Show them where to glue the shapes together and then give each preschooler the small black circle to glue on for the eye.


When you first hand out the square (or oval) and the triangle, call out the name of one of the shapes and have the students hold that shape up.


This can make a really cute teamwork themed bulletin board. Arrange the little fish into the shape of one big fish and add the words “We all work together” underneath.

Activity to Go With Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister

After reading the book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, your preschool students will make their own sparkly fish craft. This would be a fun addition to an ocean unit.


  • One sheet of white paper with a large fish outline on it, per child

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  • An assortment of small colored squares of tissue paper per table

  • Glue

  • Scissors

  • Paintbrushes

  • A few small bowls of glue thinned with water

  • Glitter

Prior Knowledge

Read and discuss The Rainbow Fish. This is the story of a beautiful fish with special rainbow scales. Unfortunately, he won’t share his scales with the other fish and is very lonely until he learns to share.


Give each student the outline fish and an assortment of the tissue paper pieces. Show them how to glue the tissue paper all over the fish. It is okay if the tissue paper extends over the outline, because they will be cutting the fish out later. After the fish have been covered, the preschoolers will need to paint over their entire fish craft with the glue glaze. The last step is to sprinkle the fish with the glitter, before the glue glaze has dried.

After the fish are completely dry, they are ready to be cut out. Let the students do it if you want them to practice cutting.


Read other books about fish finding friends and compare what they did to make new friends. Big Al by Andrew Clements is a good choice. There are also several other Rainbow Fish books.

This post is part of the series: Preschool Lessons and Crafts about Sea Animals

Use these sea animal lesson plans and crafts as part of a sea or ocean theme with preschool students. You’ll find crafts for making a hermit crab, an octopus and some fun fish crafts as well as literature connections to go with each craft and lesson.

  1. Commotion in the Ocean: A Preschool Lesson about Sea Animals
  2. Two Fun Fish Crafts for Preschool
  3. Making A Hermit Crab: A Preschool Craft
  4. My Very Own Octopous: A Preschool Craft