There is so much to explore down in the deep blue ocean! Kids love to learn all about ocean animals from their habitats and food preferences to their appearances and ways of life. There are so many fun and creative ways to get preschoolers excited about this huge part of our world.
We have 30 projects for kids to discover all there is to know about bodies of water and what is inside of them. Now grab some craft supplies, ocean-themed books, a shark tooth or two, and let's dive in!
1. Paper Plate Crab Claw
Here is a hands-on activity your preschoolers will love to make and pretend they are crabs by practicing picking things up. This craft uses fine motor skills to cut the plates, paint them, and fasten them together so they function like a crab hand!
Learn more: Carolyn Warvel
2. Ocean Sing-Alongs
There are so many kid-friendly ocean-themed songs that talk about the amazing creatures and plants under the sea. You can pick a few videos you like and use them as a way to get your students up and dancing during class or play them as background music during craft activities.
Learn more: The Kiboomers - Kids Music Channel
3. Ocean Sensory Bin
Time to set up an awesome play activity for your preschoolers to interact with different sensory aspects of the ocean. Your water table sensory activity can incorporate plastic ocean animals, beach sand, blue water beads, and any other toys/objects that will spark curiosity in your kids.
Learn more: Homer Blog
4. Learning Patterns and Shapes
Here is an activity idea great for practicing shapes, colors, and patterns. You can find these educational printables with ocean animal designs to pass out in class or at home. Kids can work together or individually to find the correct pieces and create their ocean-inspired puzzles!
Learn more: Crayons and Whimsy
5. Suncatcher Jellyfish
Time to create some magic with one of my favorite ocean crafts. These suncatchers are made using different colored tissue paper pieces, ribbons, and contact paper to reflect the light and imitate the colors and movement of jellyfish. You can hang them wherever the light hits.
Learn more: I Heart Arts n Crafts
6. DIY Sand Slime
Let us show you how to whip up some beach sensory slime your toddlers can squish, stretch, and mold into anything imaginable! You'll need a few craft/home supplies for this awesome slime recipe, so check out the link and try it yourself.
Learn more: Mom Wife, Busy Life
7. Ocean Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles are a great tool for kids to regulate their emotions and calm down during stressful or overstimulating situations. Making them is half the fun! The basic ingredients for the liquid inside are glue, water, and food coloring. The kids can then choose what toys and objects to put in their bottles.
Learn more: Conserva Mom
8. Pollution Project for Kids
It's never too early to learn about the importance of keeping our bodies of water safe and clean. This ocean habitat demonstration gives toddlers a visual representation of what happens when we litter and use too many waste products.
Learn more: Science Sparks
9. Cupcake Liner Fish Craft
Add another student to your school of fish with this simple craft project using bright colors and googly eyes! You'll need colorful paper plates and cupcake liners to make your fish. Cut out the mouth and glue on the liners for creative and unique designs.
Learn more: Hunny I'm Home
10. Sponge Sea Anemones
These ocean-inspired toys are super easy to construct and can be used in a variety of play-time situations. Cut some colorful sponges into strips and wrap them together with a rubber band. Then your kiddos can dip them in water and throw them around outside.
Learn more: Parties with a Cause
11. Popsicle Stick Octopus
Most teachers have popsicle sticks in their preschool classroom, so let's bring those out and put together these adorable octopus crafts! You can cut out the head from construction paper and place it in the center of your sticks, then add beads or sequence for the suckers.
Learn more: Making of a Mom
12. DIY Seashell Boats
This ocean activity is best assembled after a beach field trip where students have gone and collected a few seashells. Putting these tiny boats together is easy and fun! You just need some clay, toothpicks, and small pieces of tape to create little sailing shells.
Learn more: The Crafting Chicks
13. Sea Turtle Bookmark
Can we make reading more fun? I think we can, with these adorable DIY turtle bookmarks! Start off with walking your preschoolers through how to fold an origami bookmark. Then cut different colored paper and add the details of the turtle.
Learn more: Red Ted Art
14. Ocean-Themed Books
There are so many fun and educational books out there for kids to read and learn about different aspects of the ocean. Many of them have cute stories, facts, and useful information about animals, habitats, and the beach.
Learn more: 30 Amazing Ocean Books for Kids
15. Sea Turtle Life Cycle
Preschoolers are curious about how other animals are born and grow up. These printables demonstrate in an easy-to-follow way the cycle of how turtles start as eggs and grow into adults. Each page has a unique activity your kids can learn from for a better understanding of these amazing sea creatures!
Learn more: Homeschool Preschool
16. Egg Carton Whales
Grab some old egg cartons and get crafting with this awesome ocean project! Let your preschoolers' creativity shine with their whale designs. They can use blue pipe cleaners for the water spray and pieces of paper or felt for the fins and tail, so cute!
Learn more: I Heart Crafty Things
17. Alphabet Shells
We've got some beach treasure your little pirates will love digging up! Either in a sensory bin or sensory table, find some sea shells and write different upper and lower case letters on the smooth side. Get a bunch of sand and place the shells face down in the sand. You can play matching letter games, letter recognition games, or word formation tasks!
Learn more: Natural Beach Living
18. Ocean Theme Play Dough Mats
You can find an ocean theme printable online or draw/paint your own. Then give your toddlers some play dough and help them create ocean animal figures like tropical fish, sea horses, and sting rays!
Learn more: Messy Little Monster
19. Bubble Wrap Jellyfish Craft
With just a paper plate, some paint, and some bubble wrap, your preschoolers can create these adorable jellyfish to decorate the classroom or play with at home.
Learn more: The Resourceful Mama
20. DIY Crab Hat
Isn't this the cutest little crab hat you've ever seen? Help your kiddos make their own hats with crab claws that shake and shimmy! You can make these using felt and pipe cleaners. Cut the pieces in the right sizes and shapes then glue or sew them together.
Learn more: My Kid Craft
21. Salt Water Density Experiment
We don't need a fancy lab to do this simple experiment to test the density of different types of water. Make sure to have a control glass of tap water, then make glasses of salt, sugar, and baking soda water. You can use jewels, beads, or even grapes to test the different waters' densities.
Learn more: Science Kiddo
22. Sea Star Science
Here is a STEM activity that will blow your preschoolers' minds! Most of the materials you'll need can be found in your kitchen, but you may have to find the sea star molds at a craft or baking store. The stars are simple, baking soda, yellow food dye, and water. Freeze them in the molds and when it's time for the experiment take some out and let your kids drop vinegar on the stars to see what happens!
Learn more: Modern Preschool
23. Fork Painted Puffer Fish Craft
Who needs paint brushes when you've got forks! Time to get a little abstract and learn about these amazing sea creatures and their unique appearance and tendencies. Your kiddos can paint their own using a variety of colors.
Learn more: Crafty Morning
24. Waves in a Bottle
To create these cool blue wave effects in your bottle, you'll first help your toddlers mix water and blue food coloring. Fill half the jar with this liquid, then the rest of the jar with oil. Water and oil don't mix so when your kids shake the bottle it looks like waves!
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Bins
25. Blue Ocean Slime
This fun textured slime is the ideal summer project to get your preschoolers excited about the ocean and all the cool animals that live in it. For the basic slime, follow the instructions, then you can add water beads and toys for added fun and ocean inspiration.
Learn more: Crayons and Cravings
26. Ocean-Themed Treats
Do your little ones like bananas and chocolate? This snack is going to knock their socks off! Get some melting blue chocolate and coat your banana pieces. Then freeze them and add little candy fishes for a nice under-the-sea touch!
Learn more: Crayons and Cravings
27. Sea Turtle Snacks
Looking for a healthy snack to energize your toddlers while also teaching them about the amazing animals in the ocean? Well, these delicious and nutritious fruity sea turtles made from green apples and grapes are the perfect mid-day snack.
Learn more: Crafty Recipes
28. Rainbow Fish Craft
The Rainbow Fish is a classic children's book that shows the beauty and wonder of the ocean. Help your toddlers bring their fish to life using a poster board for the body and cut-out colored paper for the scales.
Learn more: 20 The Rainbow Fish Preschool Activities
29. Feed the Shark
Whether you're having a game day at school or having fun at home, this motor skills ball game is a hole-in-one! If you are crafty, you can paint your own shark face on a cardboard box and cut out the mouth hole for the bean bags to go through.
Learn more: The Crumby Mommy
30. Sea Animal Memory Game
A great tool to use when teaching kids about animals is flash cards. You can use these for introduction, review, and memory games.
Learn more: Adventure in a Box