Preschool Lesson about Animals of the Sea: Commotion in the Ocean Lesson

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Your students will be able to identify several animals after you teach this preschool lesson about animals of the sea. It’s a great introduction to learning about animals that live in the sea.


Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

Pictures of the sea animals in the book

Large piece of chart paper or bulletin board paper with two large circles drawn on it


Large piece of dark blue bulletin board paper

Yellow and light blue bulletin board paper

White paper or pictures of the different animals for the students to color and cut out

Crayons, scissors

Sentence strips and markers


Ask the students if they know what an ocean is. Show them the book Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae and ask them what animals they see on the cover (shark, whale, fish, and octopus). Tell them that these animals all live in the sea and that they are going to be reading about some other sea animals in the book. This is a book of short poems so you might want to explain that it does not tell a story, and they will be hearing poems about different animals.

As you read the poems stop and discuss the different animals, pointing out which ones live in the sea all of the time and which ones live near it on the beaches and land. When you have finished ask the students if they can think of any other sea animals that were not in the book.


Show the class the large chart paper with the circles drawn on it and the pictures of the animals. Have the students help you sort the animals to help them think about the characteristics of the sea animals. Some ideas for sorting are animals that live on land or in the water, legs and no legs, big and small, hard shells and no shells, etc.

After you have sorted the animals several times, tell the students they are going to help you make an ocean mural. Assign each student a different animal. Then give them paper to draw and make their own picture of it, or a picture of the animal to color and cut out.

When they are finished, hang up the blue paper and tell them that this will be the ocean. Add some light blue paper across the top for the sky and then add some yellow paper to one side to make a beach for the beach animals. Have the children come up one at a time and place their animals on the mural. You might talk about where the best place would be. Should the crab be on the beach or far out in the ocean? Which animals will be near the top of the water and which ones can be deeper? After the animals are on the mural, make labels for each one out of sentence strips and add them the mural, too.


Give the students a paper with a variety of animal pictures on it. Have them circle the ones that are sea animals. You can also just have them orally tell you the names of a few sea animals.


Have your students make their own aquarium craft of animals that live under the sea.

Your students will be excited to continue learning more about animals of the sea after this fun introductory lesson.

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