I spent probably no less than 60 hrs making everything ahead that I could for the month so that I wasnt having to do it every single evening and we could just be set to go. This post will cover the basic materials that apply to the whole month (and even other months and plans following) that you can prepare and make yourself.
I'm a list maker. I have to be as organized as possible whenever doing something like this. My list went something like this:
1) Sight words to use: Ocean, Water, Sand, Waves, Swim, Shark, Starfish, Octopus, Crab, Dolphin, Fish.
We were going to be using these sight words all month and hopefully be able to keep them around for review later, so I needed to make them toddler/preschool child proof. Off to the store to buy a roll of contact paper I went! To make these sight words yourself, you will need:
Download and print from the sight word links I have provided (Or you're welcome to make your own) and cut each word out individually. Next, slap on some glue stick glue and tack each word to your desired colors of construction paper. (This isnt just for making the word colorful, but it adds some thickness and durability to it.) Cut around each of those, leaving a colored frame around your word. Lay down a piece of contact paper, sticky side up, and place as many words as you can fit onto it. Cover the top with another sheet of contact paper, cut around all the words once again, and there you have it!
These are so nice and durable and best of all, can be wiped clean. When I was making these sight words, I also made a set of upper and lowercase letters separated by color so that Lucy could work on letter matching. (links above will give you the alphabet sheets to print)
|Lucy practicing letter matching with her sight words|
The list continues...
2) Flash cards
I love making flash cards. Iv done it since Lucy was about 7-8 months old, and shes been very keen on learning from them ever since. For our ocean theme, I took the creatures we were going to be learning about and tried to come up with a few different kinds so that she could see that there was more than one type of a creature. The cards show as follows:
SHARKS - great white shark, blue shark, hammerhead shark. (there are 2 images on the great white)
DOLPHIN - Pink Amazon dolphin (2) and a Bottlenose dolphin (2)
CRAB - Fiddler crab, King crab, Spider crab, and Ghost crab
STARFISH - Beaded starfish, Sunflower starfish, and Atlantic starfish
WHALE - Killer whale, Humpback whale
FISH - Blue Tang, Clownfish, Puffer fish, Koi, and Goldfish (Koi and goldfish obviously are not ocean, but Lucy sees these kinds of fish on a semi regular basis so I wanted to include them just because)
OCTOPUS - There weren't enough that looked recognizably different enough to include more than just the one card for us.
The images on the cards were found on the internet and since I am just using them in my home as personal use, I will not be including a printable for them, as they are not mine. (there are so many resourses all over the internet with great pictures you can use!) I sized each one to 3x5" and had them printed on card stock. I then typed out and printed all the names of these guys and pasted them on the back before laminating all the cards. These along with the laminated sight words are awesome cause anytime I do a craft with her that's related, I can just keep these things out through the day without worrying about anything getting on them.
3) Sensory table
For our ocean themed sensory table I couldnt very well have Lucy playing with a giant table of water in the house and not expect some sort of damage. She just turned 3. Like 2 days ago. Im fine with kids getting messy, but no freakin way.. lol. I decided to simulate ocean water instead by dyeing rice blue using the rubbing alcohol and food coloring method.
After the rice had aired out and dried, I added small sea creatures and sea shells, all of which were purchased at my local Dollar Tree. I keep a cheap little hand vac in the playroom and it cleans up any fallen rice just fine.
4) Matching and counting activities
I have a huge box filled with colorful and fun scrap booking paper that Iv never gotten around to using for scrap booking, so I made great use of it this month for our matching and counting ocean activities. I made fish, dolphins, and crabs. To cut down on scissor time, I folded the papers and put about 4 sheets together before I cut so that Id get 4 pairs at once. I laminated everything with contact paper so it would last us through lots of play and used some google eyes on some just for fun. The number fish have printed out numbers that you can print from the link and use for any kind of cut out for counting and number recognition.
5) Library books
The easiest way I have found to do this is to reserve whatever you want online with your local library, and then all you have to do is pick them up when they're ready. Huge time saver! Here's a list of what we picked up or already had:
Crabs / Rake, Jody Sullivan
Starfish / Hurd, Edith Thacher
Starfish / Trueit, Trudi Strain
Dolphins / Weber, Valerie
Sharks / Weber, Valerie
Puffer fish / Rake, Jody Sullivan
Octopus opposites / Blackstone, Stella
I'm the best artist in the ocean / Sherry, Kevin
Beach combing : exploring the seashore / Arnosky, Jim
Octopus / Spilsbury, Louise
Whales / Gish, Melissa
I'm the biggest thing in the ocean / Sherry, Kevin
Wow! Ocean! / Neubecker, Robert
Dolphins / Lindeen, Carol
Whales / Weber, Valerie
Clown fish / Lindeen, Carol
Fish is Fish / Lionni, Leo
The Fish Book / Angelfish, Christopher
In the Swim / Florian, Douglas
What was great about some of these books was that they have many of the sight words in them and its been so cool to see Lucy recognizing and reading them now!
6) Coloring pages
|I always like to keep her flash cards/sight words around|
Coloring pages are something I like to call fillers. Its a hands on, quiet activity and usually not too messy if you're just using crayons. You can google free coloring pages for kids and find pretty much any subject you're looking for but I did create a few of my own drawings you can download and print. I have a small 3 ring binder I like to keep everything in once I print so I can just grab it at any point.
7) Gathering online resources
This step took me a little while to try to find things that were age appropriate and there's just so much out there, it was hard to narrow it down. Bellow are a list of links I gathered for online interactive activities and videos to fit our theme.
I have organized the following pages for ocean creature specific activities!
As you can see, this is a pretty big undertaking as far as time is involved! Looking for a kit like this to be delivered to your door, ready made, and ready to use? I have some exciting news! Brilliant Bundles Preschool Ocean Kit will be available in mid June for pre sale before going online and in stores! I'm going to be one busy busy bee!