We took Grace on her first family vacation to the beach and we packed up our Tot School supplies for our latest theme: Ocean Animals! Originally this was supposed to be a one week theme, but with all the fun we were having at the beach, we didn’t quite have enough time to really get into all the activities I had planned for this theme, so we took one more week to focus on Ocean Animals.
Our books for our latest theme were Deep Sea Dive by Salina Yoon, and A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea adapted by Jessica Law. Deep Sea Dive was a really cute lift a flap book discussing different types of sea creatures while keeping with the rhyme of the story. Grace loved lifting the flaps and also locating all the animals on the last pages of the book. A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea is also a song, and the story is the lyrics to this song with gorgeous illustrations of the life cycle of various animals found in the ocean. Additionally this book came with a CD with the song included which was great to listen to on our long drive to the beach and the publisher has a YouTube video of an animated version of the book as well, something we watched throughout both weeks.
In addition to the Hole in the Bottom of the Sea YouTube video and CD, we also danced to and sung Baby Shark throughout our Ocean Animals themed weeks.
One of the activities I packed with us to take to the beach was a small world ocean themed egg crate I made ahead of time. I took some of our Crayola Kid’s Paint, some glitter, and ocean animal themed stickers found at a local Dollar store, and made this super cute traveling small world and took along some of Grace’s ocean animal themed bath squirters for her to use with this small world. This activity served as our usual sensory bin we have for most of our themes and was available for Grace to play with throughout both weeks. In addition to being pretty simple to make, this small world only cost $1, and we can use it in the future. I am definitely considering making more small worlds like this one for future themes, as it is easy to store as well!
Another take along activity I packed to take with us to the beach is this cute whale water mat by Infantino. We’ve had this mat since our tummy time days, but I pulled it back out so we could point out the different ocean animals floating around in the whale. While she messed around with it some at the beach we dedicated some more time with this water whale the week after we got back. As you can see, Grace used it more as a sensory experience and really enjoyed standing on top of the whale, while this Mama fretted about wether or not it would bust! Ha! I am happy to report it did not, so if you are interested in ordering this mat at least you know it is durable!
I also packed this super cute Melissa and Doug Pelican Play Set to take with us to the beach but we mostly played this activity once we go back from our vacation. This toy was a hand me down from some of Grace’s sweet cousins, but I do believe it is still available to purchase. The activity is simple, we just tied the pelican to a door handle, and inside the pelican are smaller ocean creatures that Grace could feed the pelican by opening its beak and then they fall to its open belly where Grace could feed again and again until her heart’s content.
While at the beach we were able to show Grace several live ocean animals including various fish including a puffer fish, crabs, and jelly fish while playing in the sand and in the ocean. She excitedly referred to the ocean as “wha wha” and was completely unafraid and ran straight into the “wha wha” and waved at all the “waves” LOL! On our last night at the beach we made sand clay footprints to remember Grace’s first visit to the sea. We took sand from the beach and added flour, salt and water. (This recipe is all over Pinterest.) We rolled it out and placed the clay on a cookie sheet then pressed Grace’s foot in the sand clay, then added some shells around the edge we had collected on the beach. After baking in the oven until the clay was hard and dry we now have her footprint in the sand from the beach Grace first walked on.
While not exactly ocean animal related, this mama now has an awesome keepsake from Grace’s first beach trip!
Our last activity for our ocean animal theme was playing with a Melissa and Doug Puzzle of colorful fish. This was another hand me down, and literally given to us the week we came back from the beach…what perfect timing! Additionally we were able to review our colors again! Grace loved this puzzle and had no issues matching up the correct colored pieces to the different colored fish.
We had a blast learning about ocean animals for these past two weeks, and I’m happy to report that Grace can identify many of these animals when asked! There is definitely something to be said for learning through play!🦀
If you’d like to see a sample of how I plan out themes for a week check out the Tot School Schedule 🍍 page!
You can also see a list of this year’s themes on the Tot School Themes ☂️ page!
EVERYDAY a little Grace 🌷