Teach About Sea Stars (Starfish)
When teaching preschool children about the ocean, or during a beach theme, be sure to include a handmade craft. Students should know that starfish (or sea stars) are not fish, even though their name includes the word “fish”. Sea Stars come in many different bright colors and usually have 5 arms. Also be sure to reinforce the shape of the sea star, a star! They also come in a variety of sizes.
If possible, go to your local craft or beach store, or even the beach to have a collection of sea stars for students to see and touch. Let the students use their sense of touch to describe the way the it feels. Tell the students that the reason the sea star has a “bumpy” surface is to protect itself from danger in the sea. Also include posted pictures of sea stars in the classroom.
Starfish by, Edith Thacher Hurd and Robin Brickman
Repeat this rhyme and post the words for the students to follow along as you either read or sing the rhyme aloud:
What do you see under the sea? I see a sea star looking at me. (Note: in an ocean theme, other under the sea animals and creatures could be substituted for the sea star)
- Cotton Swabs
- Flat baking pans, or boxes
- Poster board in fluorescent colors
- Sea star pattern (this could also be traced from a cookie cutter if available)
Before the start of class, cut out sea star patterns from the poster board in a variety of colors. Students may desire to make more than one.
Dilute the glue with water, to make the glue thinner. The cornmeal will stick better to less glue.
Have the students use the cotton swabs to dab the glue onto the sea star and then sprinkle the cornmeal on the glue. Shake off the excess cornmeal onto the baking pans or boxes and set aside to dry.
While the students are working, encourage them to count the “arms” of the sea star. Once dried, ask the students to carefully feel the “sea star” and describe the texture of the cornmeal. They may decide that it feels similar to the sea stars they touched earlier.
Create a Sea Star Bulletin Board
Once completed, these sea stars will make a beautiful wall or bulletin board display. Label the bulletin board with the following rhyme:
Sea Star Glow Upon the Sand
Sea Star Shining in My Hand
Sea Star Here and Sea Star There
See Our Sea Star, Full of Flair!
If time allows, read the rhyme (and snap a photograph) while student hold their sea stars. This is a craft your preschool students are sure to love while learning about the wonders of the sea.
Celebrate with a Starfruit Snack
Finish off the fun with a starfruit snack. When sliced crosswise, this fruit will resemble a star (or in this case a sea star). It is available year-round and best cut when a few brown spots appear on the edges.
Read a whole unit about Life Under the Sea, including, whales, jellyfish, sea turtles and dolphins.
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons