Who wouldn’t want to feed a shark? This safe alternative allows kids to gain plenty of literacy, numeracy, and artistic practice while learning all about these fierce creatures. Many shark head crafts can be used to create the mouth base. The “Feed the Shark” theme can be used to boost creativity and develop fine motor skills so use them wisely and think outside the shark’s mouth! Pair these activities with Shark Week and you’ve got a recipe for success.
1. Preschool Counting
Draw shark shapes on a large sheet of paper with a number in each to create a shark mat. Draw tiny fish on dot stickers – these will be fed to the sharks! Kids can then use cardinal counting skills to “feed” the correct amount of fish into each shark’s mouth.
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2. Colored Sharks
Download these colorful shark printables before cutting them out and creating fish that match the color of the sharks. Behind the mouth holes, hot glue toilet paper rolls so the sharks will stand upright. Kids can then practice color recognition to feed the matching fish to the sharks.
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3. Alphabet Shark
Practice letter recognition by feeding these alphabet letters to the sharks. Kids cut out a printable shark template for a base before gluing the fun shark into a paper bag and cutting out a mouth hole. Next, they can cut out the fish and label them with letters of the alphabet.
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4. Sight Words
Challenge emerging readers with a hungry shark cardboard cut-out and a bucket. Write sight words on the ping-pong balls and guide kids to read the words before tossing or bouncing them to feed the shark. Why not enhance the challenge by varying the distances or setting a time limit?
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5. Dough Geometry
Kids create a shark out of dough, designing the shark’s mouth hole. Have them trace and cut out different types of triangles, discussing the shapes and why some are better for fins and others for teeth. Form fish from dough or use gummy fish to feed the dish and enhance hand-eye coordination.
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6. Cardboard Box Shark
Create a simple toy for toddlers with a cardboard box. Adults can use a knife to cut the mouth and have young kids fingerpaint to decorate the top. Then allow them to feed the shark a variety of toys to practice their object permanence and hand-eye coordination skills.
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7. Bean Bag Toss
Use bean-bag fish to feed this cardboard shark cutout. Create it by cutting a mouth hole and gluing on teeth. Next, have kids stand at a given distance and see how many fish they can toss in its mouth!
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8. Shapes & Colors
Feed this laminated shark by creating game cards with colors and shapes, and corresponding matching fish. Increase the difficulty by combining both the color and the shape of the fish. Kids flip a card and choose the matching fish to feed the shark.
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9. Pool Noodle Sharks
Give everyone their own shark to feed! Create 6″ pool noodle segments, then slice the top at a diagonal. Hot glue this piece on the back as a fin. Create a mouth by slicing a horizontal cut two-thirds of the way through the noodle twice. Finish off by adding teeth and googly eyes!
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10. Sensory Bags
Add blue body wash to a gallon-sized resealable bag until it’s half full. Have kids add shark toys and small beads as “fish.” Seal the bag and tape over it with packing tape. Squish to fish!
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11. Tire-Swing Shark
Hang a tire from a tree outside with rope to use as the “shark.” Give kids bean bags, balls, frisbees, and other outdoor objects to “feed” the shark. This fun, outdoor task supports balance, coordination, and physical strength.
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12. Cereal Box Shark
Repurpose an empty cereal box into a shark belly! Cut a hole in the box, tape the lid shut, and glue a printable shark design on the front. Cut fish out of colored paper and label them with numbers to practice counting.
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13. Shark Puppet
Older kids can use a printable template to make a shark puppet controlled with their hands. It eats whatever it wants! Add math problems or answers to “edible” manipulatives such as blocks or balls. Kids answer problems by “feeding” the shark with the answer.
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14. Goldfish Math
Use printable shark and goldfish crackers to practice addition and subtraction skills. Ask kids to feed the shark a certain number of goldfish, then add more. How many fish did it eat? You can repeat the same task with 3- and 4-step problems.
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15. Cootie-Catcher Shark
Use these printable and simple origami instructions to create this folded shark that “eats” all sorts of food! Utilize math problems or any questions for the shark to “eat” the available answers, either in the form of balls or blocks, or cardboard fish. This works great for groups of kids who can each choose their own answers.
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16. Go Digital!
Work on the differentiation of upper and lowercase letters with this online game. Kids match the lowercase letters with the uppercase ones before dragging the match into the shark’s mouth. They are sure to love developing literacy skills with educational screen time!
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17. Rhyming Words
Use these online Boom Cards to give kids practice with rhyming words. They must read the words and feed the shark only the pairs of words that rhyme. This shark bundle includes multiple Boom Cards to use!
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18. STEAM Feeding
Challenge older learners with a dilemma: They are hired to feed sharks from a distance at a new aquarium and must design a launcher that works from 10 feet away. Give kids a small list of materials and let their creativity blossom!
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