Looking for an ocean activity? Over half of our planet is covered in water, and most of that is oceans! These activities and lessons are all about the big blue sea. Keep reading for ideas for circle time, play centers, and small group activities.
Even if a field trip to the seashore is not possible, students can take an imaginary vacation and learn all about the beach and ocean!
Circle Time Lessons about the Ocean
There are so many different things to teach about the big blue sea! In this Ocean Circle Time unit, a complete lesson is provided for each of the following topics:
- What is the Ocean?
- What Animals Live in the Ocean?
- At the Beach
- Ocean Mammals
- Scuba Diving
- Ocean Riddles
- Jellyfish Jig
- All About Oceans Summary
Each of these lessons has interactive circle time activities to help students absorb the information while playing games, singing songs, and practicing important educational skills.
Ocean Activity #1: Process Art
To bring the ocean indoors, cool off with this amazing Ocean Process Art activity. All it takes are a few simple supplies and the classroom gets a refreshing underwater feel!
Ocean Activity #2: Kinetic Sand Sensory Table
Not every child can go to the beach, but every child can enjoy sand at a sensory table. Kinetic sand is perfect for molding as it retains the shape – just like when a child builds a sandcastle at the beach. This kinetic sand sensory activity helps reinforce emerging literacy skills!
Ocean Activity #3: Ocean Themed Sensory Play
Water beads (also called orbeez or vase fillers) come in many different color assortments. They are tiny dry beads that need to be soaked in water overnight. Once they are soaked with water, they make for a slippery, fun material that pours, scoops, and bounces.
Add ocean animals, shells, small buckets, and shovels for students to inspire their imaginations and practice some dumping and filling skills as well.
Water Bead Safety Reminder
Do not use loose water beads with children who might put them into their mouths. Water beads should be used under close adult supervision and by older children only. Younger children may enjoy exploring them in a sensory bottle like this:
Ocean Activity #4: Sand Writing Trays
Children learn best if they are able to experience new information in a number of different ways. Hands-on is hands-down the best approach for early childhood learning! Sand trays are a beachy way to practice letter identification and writing.
- Alphabet coins or other small letter tiles. (We made these coins by painting and gluing these wood circle pieces from Hobby Lobby. These letter tiles are another option.)
- Small, shallow tray or plate filled with sand. We like to use colored play sand, but you can use any type of sand, salt, or flour.
Children choose a letter coin. They use the paintbrush or their finger to draw the letter in the sand tray. When they are finished, they gently shake the tray or pat the sand to smooth it out.
Ocean Activity #5: Ocean Stories Bulletin Board
Sometimes an open-ended center is exactly the springboard that young students need to think creatively and practice story-telling. Children need this experience – it provides great oral communication skills, cooperative social skills, creative thinking, and it’s also just fun!
To make this board, cover the bottom half of the board with blue felt to resemble the ocean. Cut out fish and other ocean shapes from felt. Not an artist? No problem. Free clip art can be printed, cut out, laminated, and then made “sticky” by using the rough edge of adhesive velcro dots. Another option is to order some of the amazing felt storytelling sets from ArtFelt.net.
After reading a number of ocean books aloud to your students, invite them to retell the stories on the felt board. Encourage them to make new stories and work together.
Ocean Animals Free Virtual Circle Time
Looking for ideas on how to implement Ocean ideas into the circle time? The video below is an entire thirty minute circle time focused on Ocean Animals.
Here is a list of the materials used in this circle time.
- “Everybody Clap” song by Nancy Kopman
- Ocean Animal poster set
- Cute fish finger puppets from ArtFelt
- FREE “Ocean” Grid Game
There are printable worksheets available HERE.
Are you looking for a little beach reading? Check out this list of Outstanding Ocean Books!