Teaching Preschoolers About Ocean Animals

When it comes to teaching toddlers, it is always better to select lessons and topics that appeal to their naturally curious nature. Nature offers plenty in that sense. Introducing elements of nature in early lessons for preschoolers can instil a deep respect for our planet and teach them the right ways to care for it from the beginning. One of the earliest things that children become familiar with and fascinated with is animals. These creatures inhabit the natural world and feature prominently in rhymes and lullabies. Today, we are going to share a few ways through which you can create an exciting learning experience for your tiny one by teaching them about animals that live in the ocean.

Discovering the Hidden Treasure Of the Oceans

Your little one might already be familiar with one ocean animal — the shark, courtesy of the popular tune that has captured the imagination of toddlers across the world. However, there is so much more to explore in these water jungles. With oceans containing almost 97 per cent of our planet’s water, our next generation must know how important oceans and the creatures that live in them are. More so because ocean wildlife is also an important food source for many and is currently under threat by pollution and climate change challenges. Teaching toddlers about   types of animals that live in the ocean can also help them understand these issues early on, laying the foundation for environmental education.

It could also be stimulating for your child to learn about the animals that live in the ocean, given that it is not something that they can see readily as opposed to animals living on land or air. There is a sense of mystery and wonder that you can tap into to make this lesson exciting and enriching. Also, learning facts about these animals, how they contribute to our planet’s ecosystem and how they are being affected and endangered by certain human activities can help children care about the environment.

Now the question remains —  what is the best way to help your child discover this hidden treasure?

Sea Safari: Fun Ways To Learn About Ocean Animals

Preschoolers or toddlers are highly curious little munchkins with very short attention spans, so any learning experience meant for them has to be playful and activity-oriented to keep them engaged and interested. Before you begin the lesson, see what the child already knows about animals that live in the ocean. You can try having a quiz where you ask them to list all the ocean animals they know. Discuss with them where they know those animals from to gauge their understanding and knowledge. This will help you evaluate their progress at the end of the lesson.

To begin teaching about ocean animals, you can try the following activities in the order mentioned below:

Show & Tell: Who’s That Ocean Animal?

Requirements: Ocean Animal Flashcards

To begin with, you can have a small “Show & Tell” session showcasing different ocean animals flashcards to the children. Take care to introduce the animals with a memorable fact or unique characteristics, for example, how the Sea Star is not really a fish and has an unusual star shape, or that an octopus has eight arms.

Once you have taken all the ocean animals’ names in your list, lay the cards on the floor, repeat those facts/ characteristics and ask the children to identify them. Remember to keep it simple — give the kids ample time to check out all the cards. This activity is a great way to introduce the topic, and it will also help them develop the skill of recall.

Ocean Charades: Acting Like The Deep Sea Creatures

Requirements: Internet access

All work and no fun can make the lesson plan very dull. This next activity is designed to infuse a little fun into learning about ocean animals. You may choose from different ocean animals’ names, look them up on the internet and show them to a child that you have selected. Now this child has to play act like the chosen ocean animal. To do so, they may choose to demonstrate a particular characteristic of that animal. For example, if one child is acting like a jellyfish, they can enact how it stings.

One child can act like their favourite sea animal, while the other can take turns to guess. Keep repeating till all the kids have had a turn acting out all the animals on the Ocean animals list. This activity can also help preschoolers polish their motor skills and make learning fun!

Into The Deep DIY Sea

Requirements: 1 large container, 1 kg blue-dyed rice, ocean animal figurines

Another activity that always fascinates and engages the tiny tots is doing arts and crafts. Create a fun lesson on the oceans and ocean animals by getting your toddler to create their own ocean. Put the rice in the container and encourage the children to choose animal figurines and place them in the container to resemble a scene from the sea.

You can guide them by sharing interesting facts about ocean animals and their habitats. This sensory activity can help children use their imagination and creativity to learn about oceans and their animals.

Sea And Cinema: Underwater Exploration On Big Screen

Requirements: Television/home projector, popular movies with sea characters, Internet access

Nemo in Finding Nemo is a clownfish and Dory from Finding Dory is a blue tang. Little Mermaid has Sebastian, who is a crab whereas Spongebob Squarpants’s best friend Patrick is a starfish. Host a movie week where you screen popular movies which are based on oceanic characters. After the screening, discuss the movie with the young ones where you share details about the characters, and help the tots identify patterns and characteristics about the animal behind the character.

Create Your Own Sea Animals Factbook

Requirements: Television/home projector, popular movies with sea characters, Internet access

To conclude the lesson, have the kids create their own “Deep Dive Scrapbook” in which they draw their favourite sea animals and list down all the facts that they learned about them. If working in a group, you can also ask children to share their finished scrapbooks to learn more about each other’s favourite sea animals. Going through these scrapbooks will also help you understand how much the children have learned through all the activities. 

Journey into the Ocean: A Fun-filled Learning Experience

Using the activities mentioned here, you can make everyday learning an enjoyable experience for your tiny tots, deepening their connection with the natural world. You can also use this lesson to bond and create shared experiences by going on family fun adventures to the sea. Doing so will not only build their knowledge about ocean animals but also give them a lifetime of happy memories. All while helping them develop a deep sense of responsibility for the natural world around them.

To make sure that your lessons stick in the fickle minds of tiny tots, you have to go beyond the wisdom of books. Successful early education relies on the same principle. At EuroKids, learning involves a fair bit of play to give your little one the right individualised approach ensuring their holistic development. The dynamic learning environment provided by their experienced educators can help your child grow into a well-rounded individual, who is prepared to succeed in our modern world. To know how you can prepare your preschooler for success, visit our page here.

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