Ocean Theme Shelves & Resources
Last week we took Floss to a sea life centre; to say she was mesmerised would have been an understatement! There was a large rescue turtle in one of the tanks and I don't think I've ever heard her learn a new word so quickly - T U R T L E! We have been obsessed with turtles ever since, yet the whole under sea experience really captivated her and I thought this week we'd see whether she'd enjoy being immersed a little more in the deep blue sea. So here is our shelf - no one is more surprised than me that after a morning of intense use that fabric is still in place! Carry on reading to find out what we've got and why, plus find out about what other plans we have for the week of ocean exploration.
As I've mentioned in our Rainbow Shelfie update above, matching and naming have really captured Floss's interest lately. After her interest in the turtle at the sea life centre, I wondered if she'd enjoy matching other objects and not just colours. Pinterest helped out with ocean animal pictures from Stephanie @ Imagineourlife.com. I selected five that I thought she might like, weren't too similar and I actually had the animals from. As you can see the animals are a bit random and not from actual sets (they're randomly collected from my teaching days). However, if you're looking for little animals then Toob Coral Reef , Toob Safari Ocean or Terra Sea Animals gets you a good selection or if you're looking for larger then there's Schleich's Ocean Set.
These little cards I backed and laminated to make them more sturdy and popped the corresponding animals next to them. This was the first thing Floss went to explore. She moved them onto her little table and began to look at the animals and cards. When she spotted the turtle she was so excited and put the fabric turtle on top of the card. She spent so much time with them matching up and as she did I gave her the name of the animal. I think whale could be the new favourite word and she's been carrying the Orca round all morning. This is such a great way to introduce new vocabulary to little ones.
Other ocean animals I put in a wooden bowl for her to explore. I know I need to make some more cards to match these as she's very interested in knowing the names. I'm realising I need to brush up on my shark naming knowledge tonight as just saying 'shark' is leading to disbelieving looks!
We love books! Sadly, I've realised I'm a little limited in ocean books, so we'll definitely be scouring charity shops this week for more fiction and non-fiction texts. We've got one of my previous class's favourites Commotion in the Ocean - a lovely, bounce along rhyming book, Tiddler the little fish with the big imagination and The Emperor's Egg a Dad looking after his precious egg through the harsh winter.
We couldn't be without balls - I can't tell you how much fun she's had bouncing these and testing them against ones that don't bounce. Toddler science in action!
Floss continues to be interested in puzzles and I'm beginning to introduce some slightly trickier ones. The turtle is a great 2 piece, chunky puzzle and the basket contains other sea animals as either 2 or 3 piece. The two piece fish was the other main one she liked. It's an Orchard under the Sea set, but I'm not sure they still make it. I have seen it on some pre-loved sites. These are still quite tricky for her and I've got a plan for some homemade ones this week.
Update - Homemade Puzzles
Floss keeps trying with the puzzles we've had out, but I've decided to make a puzzle myself that will hopefully help bridge the gap from the peg puzzles she's been doing and these two piece puzzles. Using pictures from Twinkl.co.uk I printed and laminated a few sea dwellers. I then cut them two in different ways; I'll let you know how she gets on.
I'm a bit of a hoarder; I don't like throwing something away that I think might come in useful someday. Well my stash got some use today. I found ribbons, buttons and some silver card. On YouTube I found this lovely, short clip of a jellyfish set to classical music. I played this while we made our rainbow jellyfish and there were lots of wows from Floss as she watched. Floss is 20 months, but quite dexterous; she has also passed that mouthing stage so I feel quite comfortable using some resources under careful supervision such as buttons. I used glue dots for the buttons so that they would stick easily; Floss put all of these on herself. She chose where her ribbons would go and was quite particular about having them level and helped me press down the sellotape that I had positioned. Once it was finished she held her jellyfish, dancing it around to the music. This was super simple to set up and low mess.
Ocean Theme Invitation Scene
I've used sticky backed plastic, taped down with masking tape so that the sticky side is facing out. I placed this on top of four different blue cards that I stuck up first. Wool for seaweed with an extra layer of masking tape to hold in place. The drawn animals are from www.firstpalette.com, I cut these out and then laminated them using 160mcg pouches, as I think they are a little tougher.
It took me a while to cut around each creature, so it got me thinking about using stickers as they are pre-cut. I found a book called - Coral Reef Sticker Facts - in my stash and tried these through the laminator and they worked perfectly. I can't find the Coral Sticker book to signpost you, but I did find this awesome ocean sticker book that has lots of fabulous ocean creature images.
I used a little mini suitcase to put some of the creatures in and put some right in front and that was it. If I'd have used only the stickers it would have been super quick as well as a very simple ocean invitation.
Small world Play
I can't tell you how much I'm in love with our new copper play tray. It was from a car boot sale and I'm delighted to give it a new home. A shallow pool of water, a couple of pebbles, some sea animals and a couple of boats was enough to keep Floss entertained for some time. It's one of those activities she continues to return to throughout the day.
Some of these books we have and some are on our wish list ready for the next time we explore the ocean. Do you have any recommendations for us?