Are your kids curious about what’s in the ocean? Here’s some of my ideas for a fun filled theme day so you can see what’s in the sea and still save some money!
Fish Out the Wiggles: Are your littles full of wiggles first thing in the morning? Work them out with these fun ‘ocean themed’ kid’s work outs.
https://youtu.be/f8H-Iu6emxo (Brain Break: Under the Sea Chase workout) My kids’ personal favorite.
https://youtu.be/-2pq-td3vQ0 (Brain Break: Shark Chase work out) Also a ton of fun. You have to ‘swim away’ from the sharks.
https://youtu.be/QW0viRBeeQA (Under the Sea Exercise game) Learn about different types of sharks while you exercise.
https://youtu.be/LhYtcadR9nw (Squish the Fish Cosmic Kids Yoga)
https://youtu.be/YR1OxBk8BF4 (Popcorn the Dolphin Cosmic Kids Yoga)
https://youtu.be/iFuobePKER8 (Norris the Baby Seahorse Cosmic Kids Yoga)
https://youtu.be/0hvwLdk5D5g (Super Yoga: Underwater Party) This one is great for kids with short attention spans that don’t have patience for the longer, slower yoga sessions.
https://youtu.be/hUBRoLRioiY (Nibs the Octopus Cosmic Kids Yoga)
Sing About the Sea: I love Jack Hartmann’s cheesy learning songs and so do my kids. Geared towards kindergarten and preschoolers these songs are a fun way to get out all the ‘louds’ and learn at the same time.
https://youtu.be/j1eWxEjSMj8 (Jack Hartmann Five Oceans of the World song) Learn the names of the five oceans and some facts about them with this song.
https://youtu.be/u4_L7CM46M4 (Jack Hartmann Five Little Fish song) Learn to add, subtract, and count to five with this song.
Free Days at the Shedd: If you are an Illinois resident then you can take advantage of free days at the Shedd Aquarium. Click on the link below to see upcoming free dates and get directions and other information to help plan your trip. Pro Tips: dates are usually during the week, tickets must be printed in advance, and they sneak in a $3.00 convenience fee. Free admission includes all the main displays, the dolphin show, and the stingray experience. You have to pay extra to go in the movie theater. I pack a lunch, snacks, and water to avoid the high cost of the restaurants. Believe me, you’ll need that extra money to pay for parking which can run around thirty dollars. Not an Illinois resident? I would suggest checking out a Chicago City Pass to save money on all the major museums. https://www.citypass.com/chicago?mv_source=shedd&campaign=planavisi (City Pass link)
https://www.sheddaquarium.org/plan-a-visit/get-tickets/discount-and-free-days/illinois-resident-free-days (Free day dates for Shedd Aquarium)
Brookfield Zoo Living Coast: If you already have a zoo membership then this is a great option for you since admission and parking are already taken care of. Depending on your level of membership the dolphin show can also be included. Pack a bag lunch and you have a pretty cost-effective trip.
You can look at all the animals of course, but if you want to make it a theme day then I would head straight for the dolphin show first as there are specific show times throughout the day and you need to secure a timed ticket in order to enter. Then head off to the Living Coast exhibit to see an array of fish, jelly fish, and penguins. There’s also a tidal wave simulation that’s pretty fun and right outside the exit is a splash pad.
Hidden throughout the zoo are many other ocean/fish related exhibits like the Swamp exhibit and the Walrus and Seal exhibits.
If you’re not a zoo member I will warn you that by the time you get done paying parking, admission, and the cost of the dolphin show tickets you will most likely have paid the membership cost so I would strongly encourage you to become a member if you live in the area. Check out the link below for info on becoming a zoo member. Don’t live in the area? Check out the link below for Groupon deals to save money.
https://www.groupon.com/?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=us_dt_sea_ggl_txt_naq_sr_cbp_ch1_ybr_k*groupon_m*p_d*groupon-brand_g*groupon-phrase_c*535923351492_ap*&gclid=CjwKCAjw_b6WBhAQEiwAp4HyIKawXqgwnq4cDUHs19I4o-U3BamNHuo1RjYm42Ioy4-3LLDosuebrxoCoY4QAvD_BwE (Groupon website)
https://www.czs.org/Membership (Brookfield Zoo membership info)
Underwater Craft Adventures:
My Mother-in-law sent us this Jell-O kit last year. I have seen it at Target and Walmart as well. Or if you have some Jell-O and fish shaped cookie cutters laying around then just follow the package instructions for ‘jigglers’, refrigerate for an hour, and then enjoy an ocean themed dessert that tastes anything but fishy!
Melted Crayon Ocean: Lay out a piece of wax paper on a towel. Have your kids apply their favorite ocean and fish themed stickers to make a scene. Use a veggie peeler to shred bits of old crayons onto the wax paper and stickers. Sandwich another sheet of wax paper on top. Use an iron on medium heat to carefully melt the bits of crayon which will seal your ocean together. Finally, hang it up on the window so the sun can light up your creation.
Ocean in a Mason Jar: Take a mason jar with screw on lid and fill it with one part baby oil to two parts water. Add blue food coloring, sand, glitter, seashells, little plastic boats, or little plastic sea animals (Five Below is a great place to find these) to bling out your ocean. Screw on the cap and have fun making waves and learning the science behind why oil and water don’t mix.
https://youtu.be/h5yIJXdItgo (You Tube clip on why water and oil don’t mix)
Underwater Watercolor Adventure: Unleash your kid’s imaginations by having them create their own ocean scene with crayons. Then use blue or green watercolor paint to create the effect of water.
Ocean in a Fishbowl: Take a paper plate and have your kids practice their scissor skills by cutting off a semicircle from a side of the plate to create the ‘top’ of their ‘fishbowl’. We used dot painters to paint sand, coral, water, and seaweed and then sprinkled it with colored sand before it dried. Allow the paint to fully dry and then use stickers or markers to add your ocean creatures.
Got some insatiable crafters at home and you need MORE craft ideas? Check out two more of my blog posts for some beach inspired craft ideas.
Story Time: By now your little ocean explorers should be good and tired. It’s time to make a stuffed animal and blanket ‘ocean’, snuggle into it, and read some ocean themed books. We found these titles at our local library, but if you are having trouble finding them, I have included links to the free read aloud versions so you can enjoy listening to them online.
Crab Cake by: Andrea Tsurumi uses a friendly little crab to educate kids on the problem of ocean pollution. Crab, her delicious cakes, and all her ocean friends demonstrate that we can all work together to mitigate this problem and help save our seas. Children will also briefly learn about the animals found in the ocean.
https://youtu.be/BH_MrWVvHYg (Crab Cake read aloud)
Sharkey McShark by: Allison Murray tells of Sharkey, the meanest bully in the sea. She rules the reef in the most unkindly way masking her insecurities that no one will like her with her mantra that she doesn’t need anyone. Till one day a kindly crab teaches her that even bullies can use a buddy.
https://youtu.be/RdsUrTS9eAw (Sharky McShark read aloud)
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka gives us a sneak peek into the unlikely friendship between Peanut Butter the sea horse and his buddy Jellyfish. Together, they learn that sometimes ‘crabby’ behavior in our peers can be misunderstood. In the end they discover that sometimes bullies are secretly crying out for a buddy.
https://youtu.be/vqJR-YkV5ko (Peanut Butter and Jellyfish read aloud)
Bea by the Sea by: Jo Byatt answers the question ‘what do lions and the beach have in common’? Read this book to find out how a friendly lion helps a little girl get over her fear of the beach and her aversion to the texture of sand.
https://youtu.be/aDM2t2lVktQ (Bea by the Sea read aloud)
The Blob Fish Book by: Jessica Olien is a cleverly disguised educational book about the ocean. Children will learn all about the zones of the ocean and what creatures live there…and yes, you learn about blob fishes as well as an important lesson about feelings and friendship.
https://youtu.be/_k9r2E94lug (Blobfish read aloud)
In Inky’s Great Escape by: Casey Lyall Inky the octopus sets aside his adventurous life in the ocean to hang out with his friend blotchy in their peaceful aquarium tank. Inky mostly enjoys his retirement but spends his days telling and retelling tales of his great ocean escapes while playing cards. One day Blotchy challenges him to prove that all his stories are true by pulling off his greatest escape ever! Does Inky do it? I bet you can’t wait to read the book and find out!
https://youtu.be/i_ACOWmPZc8 (Inky’s Great Escape read aloud)
Hope you had a great time seeing everything in the sea and catching some great stories on your line.