Under the Sea Week has been so fun! The ocean has always fascinated me – in part because of the unending amount of creatures and colors, and in part because I think I may be part fish (I love swimming). This week had a lot of water play and it was delightful (and only required a little extra clean up as long as we had towels nearby). The biggest thing I did for our space was to get a giant ocean-themed shower curtain. It was a little bit of a splurge for me (since the only purpose was aesthetic) but it created such a fun visual change that I was really happy we had it. We used 3M hooks to attach it to the bookcase so we could easily get the corners up to access anything on the shelves. We brought Ava’s kitchen back upstairs – it’s one of her favorite toys right now. I suppose I could’ve talked to her about how we can eat fish too… but that seemed a little weird as we were also talking about Nemo and Dory, who she loves.
From my Theme Week post, here are what we did for our theme categories:
- Field Trip – We took two trips this week – to the pet store and to the aquarium. I always find the pet store to be a nice quick place to just walk around and kill time… and the kids find it pretty magical. I also like that a pet store is free so if the kids get cranky I can just leave.
Luckily no one was cranky the day we went, and Ava carried her Dory doll with her – she liked looking at the fish and surprised me by identifying a star fish without any prompting from me. Mabel seemed entranced by the blue tanks and the movement of the fish.
We also went to the aquarium on the weekend (so Dan could come too). Mabel was able to see a lot more because I wore her in the baby carrier and Ava loved being able to see all her favorite ocean animals. She loved the sting rays, sea turtles and “Dory” and “Nemo” and “Daddy” (Nemo’s dad).
- Sensory Table – The main part of the sensory table included ocean animals, glass stones (blue and clear) and sea shells. To start the week, I had frozen some ocean animals in ice cubes (with blue food coloring added) so when I put them in the water, Ava could play a different way. Once the ice melts, the whole sensory table is filled with blue “ocean” water.
Another day I added some Sea Foam Bubbles which were really fun. Ava has gotten really good at keep the water in the sensory table, which allows me to be less stressed about having messy items inside of it.
We also did a lot of other sensory activities this week, which honestly are my favorite:
- Themed Books – I like doing a combination of fiction and non-fiction books for this kind of theme week. I think it helps build imagination and create this idea of other worlds to have the fiction stories, but then shows kids the magic of the world by seeing real pictures. My favorite books this week are The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and the National Geographic Kids First Big Book of the Ocean.
- Themed Music – Whenever I think of the ocean, I think of the scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks where they sing “The Beautiful Briny” song. I also love the “Three Little Fishies” song – we used to sing it at the day camp I worked at.
- Themed TV show or movie – This week was all about Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.
- Art projects – We tried our first tracing activity this week – I traced Ava and then added some flippers and googles and she told me what ocean animals to add – until it looked like Ava was scuba diving in the ocean. We kept it up for Ava to color for most of the week. Pro-tip: the paper is packing paper from Amazon. I always save it and then have a really fun, easy activity on hand. Ava loves coloring and there’s something extra fun about a GIANT coloring activity.
- Food (optional) – Goldfish crackers. Lots and lots of goldfish.
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