Ocean Time

Author: Michele / Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For summer school, we always try to do something fun, and relatively craft based. Last summer, we spent our time learning about life around the world. This summer, our topic is Oceans of the World. You can see the wall map I set up, so the kids can see the world's oceans; there is also a set of ocean-themed numbers (I have ABCs but dont have them quite finished yet; Julia is learning her colors so I have made a Rainbow Octopus and a set of color sea-life flashcards for her; there is also a magnet board full of sea creatures for play. There is also an ocean-themed board game. The pile of stuff I have amassed on my living room table is amazingly impressive. I will try to post all the information here as I had a very hard time finding enough stuff online and in my books to cover an entire summer of ocean fun. I had to make up a lot of the stuff myself, which is fine, but boy am I glad I got started with it now.

The World's Oceans is basically a map that I bought at Target for a dollar last summer, after having to draw my own world map on newsprint paper. I tacked it up on the wall and added my own bulletin board letters to spell out THE WORLD'S OCEANS. We will be learning the oceans of the world this summer, as well as looking at where different countries lie along the coasts. I wanted the girl's to have a concrete reference for this, as well as giving them the beginnings of map introduction.

On my living room walls, we normally have posters with the letters and numbers, as well as weather charts etc. For the summer, I have taken them all down, to give my living room, which also serves as our school room, the best possible chance of being turned into an underwater showcase. I also wanted the kids to have something new and different to look at this summer. I wanted to find ocean themed alphabets and numbers to put up, again for reference and because we always do a lot with letters and numbers (tis the age at my house). It took my a goo dbit of searching, but finally I found a site called Sparklebox, which had the numbers you see featured and a set of lower case letters which follow the same theme (I will get them up on here once they are up in my house :) ). Rather than making a static chart, what I wanted was to make something the kids could actually shift around, so I put magnets on the backs of them. I buy magnetic strips for less than a dollar a package in the craft section of Wal-Mart. My front door is metal, we have one window covered in sheet metal (you will see it covered in magnetic sea creatures) and Jason also made the girls a large magnetic board. It is our solution to a flannel board. When we are done with a unit, the pieces go to the refridgerator door where they provide another countless set of hours of entertainment.

Anyway, magnets are great at my house because even Julia loves to play with them and rearrange them. I plan to make the alphabet magnetic as well. You can also see a picture of magnetic sea creatures. I still need to add seaweed and coral to the mix, but basically its a large version of those magnetic books you can take in the car. It will allow sorting, putting in order of size, and just general play. It is also a good way to expose the girls to the general creatures under the sea. We have already begun the "what is this called" game, which leads to the "what does it eat, where does it live etc" game.

I made Julia a set of color cards. She has recently become fascinated with learning the names for everything. Among her recent loves in this regard are counting (she can count to 11 believe it or not) and colors. I just took a set of game cards from one of my books, although any small ocean clip art would work and colored them the basic primary colors as well as brown, grey, white, pink and black. Then I took a binder ring and punched holes in the top corner of each card, threaded them on the ring and viola! A set of flashcards she can't lose the pieces too. Another color game I made her I will put up in the next post- Rainbow Octopus.

Finally, I found a free board game maker online and made the girls a board game. The site allows you the option of putting in your own text, so mine includes things like bonuses for using camouflage and penalties for getting caught in whirlpool. Then of course, since I don't have color ink in my printer, it was time to break out the markers and color the board. This is a great activity for the kids to do together, and in fact one the whole family can be involved in.


SuSuseriffic said...

very neat!

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