Whether you’re doing an ocean theme or you have a little one interested in what’s under the water, you’ll find plenty of hands-on ocean activities here that preschoolers will enjoy as they explore the exciting world of life in and around the ocean.
As parents and teachers, we all want our children to know there are other animals in the ocean besides just baby shark. – lol
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Ocean Activities for Preschoolers
There are so many things for preschoolers to explore around the ocean. There are coral reefs, and aquatic animals that live in the water, birds that fly over the water and marine animals and seashells spread out all across the shorelines.
4 Places to Visit
- Visit a beach
- spend the day playing in the sand, building sand castles and collecting sea shells.
- draw in the sand
- kick a ball around or fly a kite,
- If you don’t live near a beach turn your sandbox into a miniature beach scene by adding some water to the sand, some molds and toys for building sand castles, and some seashells from the Dollar Store.
- Visit an aquarium
3. Visit a lighthouse. Use this US Light House Directory to see if there is a lighthouse in your area. Climb it if you’re allowed – the view will be amazing.
4. Aquarium Virtual Tours
Take a virtual trip. Here are some live cam videos on You Tube
- Live Jelly Cam – Monterey Bay Aquarium
- 4K Stunning Underwater Wonders of the Red Sea + Relaxing Music – Coral Reefs & Colorful Sea Life
- Live Shark Cam – Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Tropical Reef Camera powered by EXPLORE.org
- Underwater Manatee-Cam at Blue Spring State Park powered by EXPLORE.org
Learn the Names of the Oceans
How many oceans are there? Historically, we have only recognized 4 oceans. In 1999 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recognized a fifth ocean named the Southern Ocean. But not everyone agreed on the boundaries of the Southern Ocean or even if there is a Southern Ocean. It wasn’t until June 8, 2021, that National Geographics finally recognized it on their maps.
During an ocean theme is a perfect time to learn the names of the oceans. They are:
- The Atlantic Ocean
- The Pacific Ocean
- The Indian Ocean
- The Arctic Ocean
- The Southern Ocean ( this is the newest one)
Note: Some books and resources today still only acknowledge the original 4, but some homeschool companies like Abeka recognize the 5th ocean and teach it in their curriculum.
Preschool Ocean Books
- Ocean Friends – Touch and Feel Board Book by Little Hippo Books
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean by Catherine Hughes
- 10 Little Fish By Audrey Wood
- Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer
- Big Shark Little Shark by Anna Membrino
- Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
Preschool Ocean Crafts
- Sea Animal Coffee Filter Suncatcher for Kids by A Little Pinch of Perfect
- Puffy Bubble Wrap Octopus by Arty Crafty Kids
- Under the Sea Crayon Resist Art by Tothood 101
- Under Sea Mozaic
- Have your child cut or tear pieces of colored construction paper to make an underwater animal or scene.
- Sand Name
- Have your child write their name with glue and then sprinkle dry beach sand over the top of the letters.
FREE Ocean Animal Printable
Here are some free resources to use with your preschoolers. Enjoy!
40 Ocean Animal Photo Cards for Kids – Free
Of all the animals God created, the ocean animals He created on the fifth day are some of the most unique. Preschoolers will love to explore some of the most popular marine animals that live in or around the ocean, with these 40 FREE Ocean Animal Cards. ENJOY!
Ocean Songs for Preschoolers
Here are some favorite ocean songs collected on Spotify, to help make learning about sea animals even more fun and memorable.
Be sure to check out these posts that would go great with an ocean theme:
Smithsonian Magazine, (June 14 2021)National Geographic Officially Recognizes the Southern Ocean as World’s Fifth Ocean. Smithsonianmag.com. Retrieve July 6, 2022 from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/wave-hello-earths-newest-ocean-180977974/#:~:text=Soon%20after%2C%20the%20National%20Oceanic,Firozi%20for%20the%20Washington%20Pos
National Ocean Service, (June 8, 2021) How Many Oceans Are There. Oceanservice.noaa.gov. Retrieved July 6, 2022, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/howmanyoceans.html