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THE OCEAN

OCEAN PICTURES
Provide your children with white construction paper and crayons. Invite them to draw pictures of undersea life, such as fish, shells, an octopus or a shark, and seaweed. Encourage them to press down hard while coloring. When they have finished, let them brush a thin wash of blue tempera paint and water over their pictures to turn them into underwater scenes.
 
OCEAN DIORAMA
Find a cardboard carton, cut off the flaps, and place it on one side. Have your children paint the inside of the box blue. When the paint has dried, help them glue or tape green crepe-paper seaweed onto the painted back and sides of the box. Then let them decorate paper fish shapes to hang with thread as if swimming inside their diorama. To complete, help them spread sand on the bottom of the box and add small rocks, shells, and clay or playdough sea creatures.
 
 FISH GAMES

Cut fish shapes of various sizes out of three different colors of posterboard. Let your children use the shapes for these games.
Sort the fish by color.
Sort the fish by size.
Count the fish.
Line up the fish from smallest to largest.
 
UNDERSEA PUPPETS
Use picture books to help your children learn about a few creatures that live in the ocean. Then let them make puppets, such as those below, to accompany stories or songs.
Octopus Puppet: Use a paper half circle for a body and draw on eyes. Glue or tape eight ribbon pieces hanging down from the straight edge for arms, and add a craft stick handle.
Seastar Puppet: Cut a seastar shape out of paper. Using a marker, add a face and cover the shape with dot "spines." For a handle, tape on a plastic straw.
Oyster Puppet: Paint a hinged, burger carton gray (add a drop of dishwashing liquid to help the paint stick). Draw on a face and glue a small plastic-foam ball inside for a pearl. Use hands to open and close the Oyster Puppet's shell.
 
ON LAND OR IN THE OCEAN

Invite your children to stand in an open area. Then start naming different animals, including such undersea creatures as fish, octopuses, crabs, seastars, sharks, whales, and oysters. When the children hear the name of an animal that lives on land, have them walk or run in place. When they hear the name of an undersea creature, have them make swimming motions with their arms. Continue the game as long as interest lasts.
 

SALT WATER EXPERIMENT
Use this experiment to show how salt water, the kind found in the ocean, makes it easier for objects to float. Find two large, see-through measuring cups and pour 1 1/4 cups water into each one. Let your children observe as you add 3 tablespoons salt to one of the cups and stir until the salt dissolves. Place a hard-cooked egg in the plain water for the children to watch as it sinks. Then remove the egg and place it in the salt water. What happens? (The egg floats because the salt has made the water denser.) Continue by letting the children try the experiment using a bar of soap.
 
LET'S GO DIVING DOWN

Tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
Let's go diving down
In the ocean blue.
See us swimming with a fish
And with an oyster too.
Liz Ryerson
 
Each time you sing the song, let your children substitute a different undersea creature, such as "crab" or "shark," for "fish."
 
OCEAN SNACKS
Try one of these ideas at snacktime.
Make blue gelatin and add canned fruit bits for pretend sea creatures. Serve in clear-plastic cups.
Tint white frosting with blue food coloring and spread onto cupcakes. Place gummy fish or other gummy sea creatures on top of the blue "ocean waves."