If you’re looking for some new teaching aids, books or other suggestions be sure to check out the Amazon shopping lists I put together for ya’ll also below, anything we ordered from there to use with this theme is on the lists as well.
We LOVE the ocean and we’re very always exited to dive in and learn about it further! We have quite a few experiments and activities with this theme and we’re always adding new ones each time we do our ocean study. I found a great Magic School Bus kit on amazon with several easy and fun activities (photos below), I have been very happy with it. It’s one of the very few kits I have found that doesn’t require you to provide several materials to even begin using what little they provided. The activities in the kit include examining sand and a starfish up close, a mini dig for shells and things in the sand they provide, dissolving a shell and more. We have done more than just the kit activities of course! If you’re looking for ocean related activity ideas check out the photos and details of some of our favorite things we have done below! The link to buy the Magic School Bus kit and most of the other things you’ll see on this page that we used when doing this theme are below so you can buy your own!
Dissolving shells using vinegar experiment. We did this one first by using the shell in the Magic School Bus kit, which was quite small and dissolved in a matter of hours. The kiddo thought it was pretty cool and wanted to see how long it would take bigger shells. We used 3 shells in vinegar, one flat brown one and two identical ones, with the only difference being one is painted. We tested to see which will disappear first and if a painted shell changes anything during the process. The painted shell will did longer by almost a full 2 days. If you try this experiment with larger shells, I recommend changing out the vinegar at least every other day. It can take three or more days to dissolve completely, but in 24-48 hours you will get a pretty cool rubber effect with the shells. They will tear apart like paper.
Water beads! We had so much fun with water beads during this theme! If you haven’t used water beads before and have younger children you definitely should. They are inexpensive, a ton of fun, and reusable so long as you keep them clean and don’t leave them out to long to avoid black mold growth. The ones we bought are linked below. We bought two sized, normal and jumbo. We used them for both fun and science. We tested to see how long it takes each size to dry out in different conditions and if the color of the bead made a difference. The color didn’t matter of course, but it was still a fun addition to the project for our youngest. I did a little research on the different ways people have used to return the beads back to the original size. One of the most common ways is by using salt, and my husband suggested using rice. We put a few in salt, a few in rice, and a few in nothing. We also put some packed into a cup to see how long it would take them to dry in bulk. We have never used water beads before this, to be honest I didn’t even know they were used for play until I was talking about our ocean study to a friend who suggested them as a fun activity. 😂 They were a perfect fun addition to our summer, especially since it had been raining for days. I used our water table in the playroom to set them up with magnetic fish and put kinetic sand on the other side with shells hidden in for kiddo to dig for!
Along with our STEM activities, we have also been making ocean themed are using shark teeth (click the photo below to go to the link to buy the 1lb bag we got), sensory/discovery rice box, and various style sensory/discovery bottles! The fact that these bottles can be made anyway you and your littles ones can imagine (there’s literally no wrong way to make them) is one of our favorite things about them, they are so simple and fast to do. We made two ocean themed bottles using oil, water, glitter, food coloring, water beads and other random things like basic beads and gems. The rice box was filled with blue and white rice with shark teeth, shell, and other ocean things to discover when the kiddo was playing in it. When we were done using the rice box, we refilled it with goodies and donated to a family friend that works with autistic children. I think a very important part (probably one of the most important parts) of parenting/teaching is to tech our children to not only be kind to other, but to also do whatever they can to help others. The children now using the rice box may not have needed it exactly, but it made their day a bit happier, and that’s important as well. It also made kiddo very happy to know we were able to do that for someone. With one small, simple thing a while class was pretty happy. It showed the kid that you don’t always have to do huge things to be kind and helpful to others and to make someone’s day. You can check out our other sensory/discovery bottles HERE!
Check out the ocean playlist I have put together for ya’ll filled with fun and educational videos and live streaming cams!
Check out the full details on the ocean layers STEM project! Click the photo!
Check out the full details on the ocean themed lava lamp STEM project! Click the photo!
Featured teaching aids we have used for this theme.
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