Learning all about the ocean is one of my little one’s favorite themes. There is so much to learn about the ocean, so there is so much you can do. This ocean theme is perfect for preschoolers, as it’s filled with Preschool Ocean books, ocean crafts, fun facts about the ocean, and even a fun ocean sensory bucket for preschoolers. Read on for our Preschool Ocean Theme!
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Preschool Ocean Books that are filled with facts!
There are plenty of fun ocean books perfect for preschoolers. Head to your library and see what you can find, or check out these ocean books we read. We learned a lot!
Our Personal favorites were the National Georgaphic books. They are so full of colorful photographs, plus they have quick facts that are easy to process.
Weird but True! Ocean – National Geographic
Go Wild! Sea Turtles– National Geographic
How do Waves Form- We also found How Do Waves Form by Will Mara really interesting. It talks about the life of a wave, how it starts and how it stops!
Seashore – DK had a lot of fun facts about the shore, different shorelines, and animals that live there. Ever wonder what lives in different types of shells? It also had a few activities included.
Sharks – Gail Gibbons. Gail Gibbons is a classic author. While some of the books may be dated, this one has been updated.
20 Fun Facts about Sharks– Heather Moore Niver. This was really fun to learn specific, interesting facts about sharks.
Clown Fish– Mari Schuh. Learn all about the fish that Nemo is based off of! You’ll read about their habitat (and why they’re the only ones that can live there!), size, and how they got their name.
Counting in the Ocean– Elizabeth Bennett. A fun book by Scholastic with great photos to practice simple counting.
Commotion in the Ocean– Giles Andreae. A fun, colorfully illustrated book with simple facts about animals in the ocean.
Fiction Preschool Books Set in the Ocean
In addition to learning all you can about the ocean and it’s inhabitants, make sure to read some fun, fiction books with talking animals and simple life-lessons.
The Pout-Pout Fish– Deborah Diesen. This grumpy guy is in need of some good friends to cheer him up!
Just Grandma and Me– Mercer Mayer. Little Critter gets to spend a day with Grandma…at the beach!
Rainbow Fish– It’s not what you look like that makes you the most beautiful, but what you give and share!
Ocean Sensory Bin for Preschoolers
My daughter could (and does) play in this bin ALL.DAY. It’s quite simple, too. To make an ocean sensory bin, just put a couple of inches of water in your sensory bin or storage container. Then add in some fun ocean animals, coral, etc.
You can play with the child and ask what different animals are, interact in a way that the animals would act (maybe the sharks chase after the fish for dinner!), and hide in the coral and seagrasses.
Want a sensory bin delivered to your door? You can buy this one, with sand and water beads and cute little ocean animals for multi-sensory playtime.
Ocean Backdrop for Preschool
There are plenty of decorative backdrops you can purchase, but it’s more fun to make it yourself! Similar to our Rainforest wall, we decided to also make an ocean wall ourselves. All you need is a cheap, blue plastic tablecloth (the throw-away kind. They are about $1 or $2 at the store).
We added some ocean stickers to decorate it a little. (We use these because there are stickers for lots of preschool themes!)
Then, as we finish each ocean craft, we add it to the “ocean” on the wall. By the end of the week, there is a pretty impressive ocean scene to play with and admire!
Ocean Activities for Preschoolers
Put Together an Ocean Puzzle
One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is puzzles. Luckily, we have this ocean puzzle that is really fun and age appropriate. The large pieces are easy to handle, and the colorful illustrations are interesting to a 4-year-old!
Play I-Spy with some Sea Grass
Fish and other ocean animals love to use sea grass as a hiding place to stay away from predators. Here, I created a small sea grass area in the blue ocean out of streamers. Then, I hid (taped) these little fish inside the layers. I would then describe a fish and see if my preschooler could find it hiding!
“I-Spy a yellow and gray striped fish…”
Color Writing Practice
I found some cool, colorful, glittery fish stickers that are really fun to play with. To incorporate them into our preschool ocean theme, I wrote dotted-words that were colors down the right side of a paper. I drew a box on the left size. Then my daughter had to trace the letters and sound out the word (with lots of help if necessary, of course). Then, she had to find the fish on the sticker page that matched that color. This ocean activity is great for both handwriting practice, letter recognition, and color recognition. Plus, it’s super easy. You really don’t need any extra supplies. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) fancy stickers, you can always just draw different colored fish and cut them out and have your preschooler glue them on.
Ocean Crafts for Preschoolers
As we leaned about different animals in the ocean, we then crafted one! Here are a few animals we learned about:
Clownfish Craft for Preschoolers
This is a fun, easy craft to make a little Clown Fish. First, trace or free-hand an outline of a fish on orange paper. Then let your little one cut out wavy strips of white paper. Glue them onto the orange paper, going vertical. When they are done gluing on the white strips, cut out the outline of the orange paper. This will give a clean, matched edge to both papers.
Sea Turtle Craft for Preschoolers
For this craft, you need:
- Paper Plate
- Green paper
- googly eyes
To prep this craft, cut out some hexagonal shapes out of the green paper, about the size of a roll of tape. Also cut out little legs, flippers, and a head.
Your preschooler can now color the paper plate with green or brown (or whatever their imagination would like!). Then, glue the green shapes around the shell. Glue on the legs, arms, and head around the paper plate. Glue on the two googly eyes onto the head.
Shark Craft for preschool ocean theme
There are a few fun options for making a fun shark craft for your ocean preschool theme.
- Cut out a shark. Cut the top and bottom mouth separate. Attach each piece to the side of a clothespin so that when you open and close the clothespin, it looks like the shark is eating.
- Create a shark face as if looking straight at it. (picture #2 below) Cut out a light blue or gray outline of a shark head. Cut out little white triangles for the teeth, black oval for the inside mouth area (with a straight edge bottom). Glue on the teeth, add some googly eyes.
- Simply trace a shark outline and have your preschooler cut it out. (picture #1)
Jellyfish Craft for Preschoolers
This jellyfish craft is simple but fun. To make a jellyfish, you’ll need:
- White Paper Plate
- Crayons (any color you’d like)
- Party streamers (match the crayon color)
- googly eyes
To make the jellyfish, cut the paper plate in half so you have a semi-circle. Your preschooler can color the plate with the crayon, any color they’d like. Cut some streamers into 12″ pieces, then cut them in half vertically so they are skinnier. The preschooler can glue the ends of the streamers onto the straight part of the plate. Then glue on some googly eyes.
Fun Facts About Ocean Animals
Fun Facts about Clown Fish for a Preschool Ocean Theme
- Clown Fish live in the Eastern Hemisphere in the oceans around Australia.
- They live in groups in Sea Anemones. This is a great place to live, as other animals cannot withstand the poison of the anemone. Luckily, Clown Fish are covered in a special slime that protects them from the poison.
- Moms will lay hundreds of eggs, which only take about a week to hatch.
- Clown Fish grow to about 4 inches.
Fun Facts about Sea Turtles
- There are 7 types of sea turtles.
- Sea Turtles live in warm waters near coral reefs around the world.
- The smallest sea turtles are as small as 70 pounds, while the largest sea turtles can get up to 2,000 pounds.
- Sea Turtles have flippers to help them swim.
- They do not have teeth, only a beak to break their food.
- Sea Turtles do need to come up for air. But they can hold their breath around an hour-and-a-half.
- They eat and drink from the salty ocean water. Their bodies can process the water, and dispose of the extra salt out their eyes.
- Some sea turtles eat plants, and others are carnivores.
- The female sea turtle will return to the beach where she hatched and lay her own eggs (up to 100!)
There is SO much to learn about sea turtles. We watched a few cool YouTube videos to learn more. Here are two of our favorites:
There are lots of sea turtle centers in the US. We were able to visit a cool Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Texas and learn lots about sea turtles.
Fun Facts About Sharks for Preschool Ocean Theme
Sharks are so interesting. How they breathe, how they swim, what they eat…we learned a lot from the books we read! Here were some highlights:
- When water touches a shark’s gills, the blood vessels there take the oxygen from the water. That’s how they breathe underwater!
- Since they need water to pass by for oxygen, a shark is always swimming.
- Sharks use electricity to find food. Other creatures give off electric signals which sharks can sense.
- A shark would be able to smell/sense ONE drop of blood in an Olympic size pool
- Sharks have four rows of teeth, which move up progressively as they lose teeth.
- A shark will go through tens of thousands of teeth in its lifetime.
- Shark skin is rough. It has little tooth-like scales to protect it.
- The Whale Shark is the biggest fish ever, reaching up to 60 feet! (The Megaladon was about 45)
Fun Facts About Jellyfish
- Jellyfish have been around since before dinosaurs
- Jellyfish aren’t actually fish at all. They have no bones!
- A Jellyfish’s tentacles can sting you! They use these stingers to paralyze what they want to eat, and then eat it!
- Jellyfish are omnivores, eating both plants and animals
- They come in all sorts of colors, or some species are clear
You can watch a cool (short) video on National Geographic Kids about Jellyfish!
Ocean Preschool Theme
Hopefully you’ve learned lots about the ocean and it’s creatures. Our favorites were learning about waves (and how they form) and crafting all sorts of fun ocean animals. Let us know what you enjoyed!