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Want an easy way to set up kids activities at home?
Two of the best ways I know is to use household items (this requires some preparation in advance) or purchase a ready made kit or activity like this play-doh numbers set. We use an activity calendar to keep it all organized and change out the themes monthly.
This month our kids activities are ocean themed, care to join us?
Ocean Math Activities
- Playdoh Set (Our Ocean themed Playdoh set is no longer available). You can use ANY stamps with any playdough. Buy a similar playdoh set
- OR make your own.
To make your own Set you will need:
- sea shells or ocean toys
- number cards (index card with the number and 3 of the shell you want kids to press into the playdoh)
- and a playdough mat.
- Faux laminate the cards and mat with clear packing tape.
Count & Sort everything (Ocean related)!
Using shells, ocean stamps, stickers or whatever ocean related items you have count,sort & tell math stories to encourage your child to build experiences counting and sorting. This helps to create a solid number sense foundation (the way they understand and use numbers).
I picked up this play-dough set at a discount store because we were ready to start practice counting with objects. You can easily make your own by using real shells, your own play-dough and making your own cards and or number line.
Sort items as you count and make a point to match 1 to 1 (1:1) as you go, matching each number you count with the object that you touch.
- beads (we used the pony beads we had & pretend they were shells, but you can also buy ocean beads)
- pipe cleaners (or smooth ends pipe cleaners)
- paper plate
- small organizer or container to hold sorted beads
The best bang for your buck is to buy bulk Pony beads that are large enough to place on a pipe cleaner. This makes it easier for little hands to thread the beads. This activity is cheap, it will one day be GREAT independent work, you are building math skills, generating focus AND working on fine motor.
We use a paper plate for pouring, then we sort out the colors we want and place them in the smaller magnetic container. I have a ready-made sample and we do this activity together. We have been doing this activity since he turned three.
A Note for Beginning Counters
There is a delicate balance between correcting little kids and building their confidence. I didn’t correct his patterns until he was able to consistently make an AB pattern (blue,yellow,blue, yellow, blue yellow) and notice on his OWN if there was a mistake which was about 4.5.
When he was finished with his bracelet we would “read” the pattern “blue, yellow, blue, yellow, green, yellow”. If he noticed something was off, we talked about it and corrected it. If he was 5 or 6 I would read the pattern with him when he’s done and I would think a-loud that something seems off. Then we’d correct it together.
This is my ALL TIME favorite puzzle! It’s beautiful AND it helps kids learn about to count.
They can count in sequence or look at the number of the ocean animals to find and then count them. For example: 1 Whale, then he finds, counts and touches that animal.
- art supplies (beads, pearler beads, pipe cleaners, twine, craft pom-poms, googly eyes, sea shells, stickers, etc.)
- Glue or tape
This is our arts and crafts haul from our summer ocean unit. We had a blast drawing, beading pattern bracelets, making pearler or as my son calls them “melty”beads and process art.
Write or Draw
- Construction paper 12 x 18 & 8.5 x 11 (copy paper)
- Markers, crayons, colored pencils and standard (no. 2) pencils, pre-sharpened
- tidal charts, ocean books or photos (to help you draw the sea creatures)
Two ways to make good use of drawing and writing time is to related to what you’re learning about because you’re teaching your child to make connections. That writing and drawing has a purpose in learning and helps us grow.
Construction paper 12 x 18 makes a great cover for a stack of copy paper. Fold the 12 x 18 construction paper in half and place the copy paper inside. Staple bindings help this stay in place
Before we went to check out low tide I did a little bit of research and drew a tidal chart (for him to color later) and asked him some of the animals he thought we might see, and drew those out. I brought both with us but we didn’t use either til we got home. After our low tide beach visit we talked about what we saw and then he colored them and later drew in our Ocean Journal.
Reading books is always an excellent investment of time.
It is a powerful way to introduce a subject, reinforce a concept or just spend some quality time with a loved one. Check out my Ocean Book List for more amazing titles.
- apron or old long sleeved shirt
Painting is a great activity to get those creative juices flowing. To paint with an ocean theme try painting the back drop (ocean floor & shoreline) and have your child add in the animals and plants.
In the winter I pull the car out of the garage and set up the easel & paints. In early spring (pictured above) I set the easel up out on the deck so we can paint without making too big of a mess inside.
Make a Tidal Zone Chart
Google images for “tidal zone charts”, research your local aquarium for local tidal zone information- then draw the animals in your tidal zones.
Research when low tide is in your area and plan a trip to the beach to check it out!
Example: we drew a rocky tidal zone.
Field Trips are wonderful additions to any unit of study because they create a real life experience in context that help kids anchor their current and future learning. They can be used to introduce a topic or as a celebration of learning to end a unit of study and see all that you’ve been learning about in real life.
- Check local tidal charts for a low tide time you can get to the beach (these charts are usually a month or two out so if you’re planning way ahead you’ll need to check back)
- Check the weather so that you’re properly dressed (it was COLD the AM we went and we were in shorts)
- Pack: a towel and a change of clothes, snacks, water, a magnifying glass and a camera
Visit your local Aquarium