Thursday, May 30, 2013

Home-based Preschool: Ocean Explorers!

It’s the end of the year and we’ve run out of letters in the alphabet, so we decided that for our home-based preschool we’d just pick whatever themes we wanted to do and just have some fun! My friend Roseanne and I decided on doing an ocean theme- that means lots of fish, sand, and water play!

We started with our usual welcome song, opening prayer, and Pledge of Allegiance. Then to introduce our theme we did a little fishing game, which I forgot to take photos of- I had created a puzzle with a picture of a fish and the word, “FISH” on it. I attached a paper clip to each piece and used a dowel rod with a string and magnet to let the kids “fish” for the puzzle pieces. We put our puzzle together to spell out the word.

Next, we did the Five Little Fishes finger play:

Five little fishes, swimming in a school.      (Hold up 5 fingers, swim with hands)
The first one said, "This water's cool".        (Hold up 1 finger, then shiver)
The second one said, "There's a shark over there!"        (Hold up two fingers,then point)
The third one said, "We'd better beware!"        (Hold up three fingers, look scared)
The fourth one said, "Where can we hide?"       (Hold up four fingers, hold out hands)
The fifth one said, "There's a cave! Go inside!"      (Hold up five fingers, then point.)
Then in went the fish, and the shark went away,
And the five little fishes swam out to play.

Then we moved on to our fishing snack! 

We used pretzel rods dipped in peanut butter to “catch” goldfish crackers.

Little Boo got one! 


 After snack, we worked on our craft- jellyfish! Just a styrofoam bowl with streamers and googly eyes. Isn’t he cute?

Then we let the kids have some free play time while Roseanne and I arranged some Montessori-inspired learning centers. Once they were ready, we gathered them together and told them they were going to be Ocean Explorers. We took them on a tour of all the centers and then let them play. Here they are:

At this area, W is using a small strainer to scoop ocean items out of a tub of water (I think he has a sunken treasure box there). Once they scooped them out, they put them into a bowl. 

We also had a mini sponge (we cut one into smaller pieces) for them to use to clean up their drips when they were finished. They really liked that part.

Here’s A having some fun digging in the sand, which is really “cloud dough”- flour mixed with baby oil. This stuff is REALLY fun, but really messy!

Little Boo and her friend T had it all over their laps when they were through! We had sea shells hidden in there, plus a mini shovel and mini bucket/sand castle mold and a few other goodies.

Little Boo enjoyed this activity- we have a small dish with blue play doh in it. The kids had to press the play doh down into the container, then stick the golf tees in the play doh. Then they had to balance the marbles on top of the tees. 

They did a great job!

Here is C doing some “sea urchin” tonging- he’s using a strawberry huller to move the spiky rubber balls from the dish into the places in the paint palette. Tricky stuff, but the kids did great!

Next was our magic wand activity- we had Mr. Octopus and his eight legs, with eight bubbles around him. The kids had to use small disks (each is made of transparent colored plastic with a metal rim around it) and place the disks on the bubbles.

Then they used the “magic wand”- a magnet- to pick up all the “bubbles." 

Next was our fishing hole. We had a blue blanket which was our ocean, then several fish (just shapes cut from foam) with paper clips attached. Here T is using the fishing rod to catch some.

We had a small basket for them to put all their collected fish in. 

 Here is W working on rolling up a beach towel at another center. Good work, W!

 Out last center was some blue play doh with some ocean-themed cutters and molds, plus the letters to spell out “fish.” I did this one myself, in case you couldn’t tell. ;-)

For our next activity we decided to be scientists and do an experiment. I had a bucket of objects and each child took a turn to pull one out and make our hypothesis about whether it would float or sink.

We talked about why certain things would float and others would sink depending on their shape and what they were made of. 

We had two towels, each with a sign to identify if the objects floated or sunk. 

And then we all splashed in the water just for fun.

While I cleaned up our experiment and started preparing lunch, Roseanne read some great ocean-themed books to the kids. 

For lunch we had octopus hot dogs and apple boats with cheese sails.

 And some blue jello ocean with swedish fish swimming in it and a vanilla pudding beach with graham cracker sand. (If you’re going to do the jello with the fish, I recommend doing it the morning of your event. I did mine the night before and my fish ended up being a little bloated and squishy. Ick.)

And that was our ocean-themed preschool! So much fun!

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