So Many Fish in the Sea – Ocean Storytime

Standard

Fish/Ocean/Sea are all great themes to choose for storytime because they can be as specific or as broad as you like. There are lots of books that include ocean animals in and out of the water – so go for it!

A golden fish went swimming by.
He swam down low; he swam up high.
He wriggled his fins and shook his scales.
and swished his graceful golden tail.

Books:

Swimmy (Lionni)

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Swimmy is an awesome book about working together. It has its dark moments – mass pescacide at the very beginning and sweet revenge at the end – but in between there are lots of ocean animals and a self-confident mind set. I usually read this to preschoolers because of length and concepts.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)

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This book is hilarious on so many levels. The main character just keeps bragging about how big he is – until he meets someone SO much bigger. I read this with a lot of bravado mixed with matter-of-factness. He is bigger than all those other fish, after all. Be sure to read the back cover – the parents will laugh.

Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)

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I love this book for both Toddlers and Preschoolers. The colors are vibrant and the illustrations are whimsical and visible from far away. Toddlers are lured in by the Maisie-like colors and Preschoolers will like all of the silly creatures. Be sure to count the page that asks how many there might be before reading it aloud. I read that page and a tired Dad-voice piped up from the middle of the room, “24.” Clearly, he’d read it many many times.

I Spy Under the Sea (Gibbs)

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The parents and I talk through the animals in this book with Toddlers but Preschoolers can get it on their own. Gibbs does a nice job of playing I Spy with the kids – the animals are easy enough to guess and the artwork is beautiful. Kids get a peek at the animal he is describing through a hole in the center and each animal spread has varying numbers – so you can use it for counting, too. We’ve also enjoyed his I Spy on the Farm.

My Octopus Arms (Baker)

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This octopus talks with a crab about all the different things his arms can do and kids relate to that. They are learning to swing bats and stir pots and of course they all know the best thing about arms – hugging! The book is written in rhyme and there are several stanzas so if you feel the need to shorten it for any reason, it could easily be done. (That is a topic for another blog post.)

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish (Krosoczka)

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This title would be good for a young school-age read aloud as it deals with friendship and bullying behavior. The pictures are very colorful and easy to see but the content and the vocabulary are a bit advanced for the Preschool Storytime crowd. I do like how the friends work together to save Crab despite his earlier behavior.

Mister Seahorse (Carle)

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I read this book to Preschoolers because of length. The illustrations are beautiful and the kids find the clear but painted pages fascinating. I love that the story is all about fathers taking care of their babies. This one, too, would be an easy one to abridge if needed.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

This is a silly action rhyme to do with the kids and you get a few stretches and some movement in, too!

Have You Ever Been Fishing?

Have you ever been fishing
On a bright sunny day (cast fishing rod)
With all the little fishies
Swimmin’ up and down the bay (wiggle hands)
With your hands in your pockets
And your pockets in your pants (put hands in pockets)
and all the little fishies do the
Hootchy-Kootchy dance! (wiggle hips and do a dance)

Flannel Play

5 Little Fishes

5 little fishes swimming in the sea
First one said, “Come swim with me!”
Second one said, “This sea is deep”
Third one said, “I want to sleep”
Fourth one said, “Let’s dive and float”
Fifth one said, “I see a boat!”

The fishing boat comes
The line goes splash
And away those 5 little fishes dash

5 Little Fish

5 Little Jellyfish

5 little jellyfish swimming by the shore, the purple one got lost and that left 4.
4 little jellyfish swimming in the sea, the blue one swam far far away and that left 3.
3 little jellyfish in the ocean so blue, the pink one took a seahorse ride and that left 2.
2 little jellyfish swimming in the sun, the orange one took a dive and that left 1.
1 little jellyfish swimming all alone, it was time for him to go home and the left none.

I got these little guys from a Flannel Friday post and the ribbons really do make them the cutest things ever. I used eye stickers but googly eyes look terrific, too.

Jellyfish

5 Little Seahorses

5 little seahorses play on the ocean floor. One went to swim and that left 4.
4 little seahorses live in the sea. One went to be and that left 3.
3 little seahorses in the ocean blue. One went to play and that left 2.
2 little seahorses having some fun. One went home and that left 1.
1 little seahorse yes, just one. He swam away and that left none!

I found this in The GIANT Encyclopedia of Circle Time and Group Activities: For Children 3 to 6 (Charner) and used clip art on cardstock for the pieces.

5 Little Seahorses

Teasing Mr Shark

5 little fish swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me!”
Along come Mr. Shark as quiet as can be and
SNAPS that fish right out of the sea!
4,3,2,1

For the Toddlers, I usually have Mr. Shark sneeze and have all the fish be saved but Preschoolers get a little cautionary fish tale. 🙂

teasing mr shark

Songs

Row Row Row Your Boat

Row Row Row Your Boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily
Life is but a dream.

Alternate version:
Row Row Row Your Boat
Gently out to sea
If you see a great big shark
Don’t forget to scream – AHHHHHHHHHH!

(to the same tune)
Down down down we go
Into the deep blue sea
Deeper and deeper and deeper we go
What do you think we’ll see?

Use this last version to get them seated again and then dig into a bag of sea creature puppets, give clues to the animal, and let them guess what it is. For example: This animal has 8 legs…an octopus! This animal has a hard shell and moves sideways…a crab! etc.

Fingerplays

Out to Sea

A goldfish went out to sea sea sea (wiggle hand)
To see what she could see see see (hand to forehead to look far away)
But all that she could see see see (shrug shoulders and put hand to forehead to look far away)
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea (wiggle hand down low)

My Goldfish

My darling little goldfish (wiggle finger)
hasn’t any toes (point to toes)
He swims around without a sound (swim with finger)
and bumps his hungry nose (point to nose)
He can’t get out to play with me (point to self)
Nor I get in to him (point to kids)
Although I say, “Come out and play!” (come here motion with hand)
He says, “Come in and swim!” (paddle arms)

Crafts

Shark Head

Use large grey or blue rounded triangles for the head, a black half circle for the mouth and lots of little triangles for teeth and you have a pretty great shark head. The kids draw the eyes on. The sharks can be smiling or not.

The gluing and crayons work the fine motor skills. You can also encourage counting the teeth and using the head as a make-shift mask for imaginative play.

shark heads

Pet Goldfish

This craft is an easy way for kids to take home a pet! Well, sort of. You start with a hand drawn bowl copied on to colored paper. Then all you need are die cut fish or stickers. Stamps would work, too.  Let the kids decorate their fish and bowls in any way they want. No water to pour or spill.

They will be working their fine motor skills with the glue sticks and crayons.

fishbowl 2 fishbowl 1

Do you have any storytimes?

Go fish!

This week’s line up:

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)
stretch
ABCs song
5 Little Jellyfish flannel
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)
Row Row Row Your Boat song
Zoom Zoom Zoom song
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Mr. Seahorse (Carle)
stretch
ABCs
5 Little Jellyfish flannel
Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)
Row Row Row Your Boat song
Teasing Mr. Shark flannel
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

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