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Monday, May 25, 2015

Mother Goose Time - Ocean Exploration Preschool Lesson Plans

Here  are some free ocean exploration lesson plan ideas from Mother Goose Time.

This was our last week of four weeks. The girls absolutely loved learning about the ocean.

The Mother Goose Time activities for this month helped create fun memories for the girls, and I'm sure they will remember many of these activities for years to come.

It also made my life so much easier to have each days activities organized ahead of time in the daily bags, so we can simply open the bags and follow the instructions. It honestly took us longer than a month to complete everything, because there was so much to do!

I love the ocean, especially dolphins and whales.  I almost chose to study dolphins and their echolocation at U.C. Santa Cruz after finishing undergrad. Instead, I studied counseling and teaching. I felt like this month's Mother Goose Time ocean unit really helped me focus more on my love of dolphins and whales, while having fun teaching my daughters, too. I feel like I need to write a children's book about dolphins and whales. I will begin my research for my children's book on our Dolphin Safari fieldtrip, which I will tell you more about towards the end of this post. As you'll see, I planned an amazing adventure for the girls to end our ocean study unit!

This month the girls learned about the ocean, which included:

  • Ocean scape

  • Large sea creatures

  • Small sea creatures

  • Ways to explore the ocean

Our daily activities for the week of ocean exploration consisted of:
  • Diver
  • Shipwreck
  • Fishing Boat
  • Submarine
  • Aquarium

Today, I'll share our favorite three Mother Goose Time preschool ocean lesson plans from our last week with you.

The girls loved the diver, shipwreck and submarine lesson plans!

Diver Mask and Flippers Craft and Dramatic Play

First, the girls made diving masks and flippers. You can create flippers and masks on cardstock. To save money on supplies, you can recycle old file folders to create the flippers and mask, rather than using cardstock.

Mother Goose Time included all the needed supplies (except for tape, scissors and markers) in the activity bag for the day, so we did not need to create any templates for the mask or flippers.

You can see the shape and design of the mask and flippers in the photographs shown, and use this as a guide to create your own templates for the mask and flippers.

Then, trace the template you created onto cardstock or file folders. Because the kids will use the mask and flippers to act out being a diver, it is probably best to use cardstock or an old file folder to create the mask and flippers because construction paper rips too easily.

  • Mask made out of cardstock or an old file folder
  • Flippers made our of cardstock or an old file folder
  • Elastic or yarn
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Crayons or Markers
  • Cellophane (optional)

Please note that Mother Goose Time created the templates for us. So you can re-create this at home, I am suggesting other options with supplies you probably already have handy. :)


1. Color the mask template.
2. Glue or tape the cellophane onto the mask (optional).
3. Punch holes on the side and tie on the elastic or yarn to fit around the child's head.

1. Color the flippers.
2. Either cut a line across the top of the flipper to fit onto the child's feet, or just tie it on with some yarn.

After the girls created their masks and flippers they acted out being a diver. We discussed breathing under water with an air tank. We also talked about how the mask helps the diver see under water.

Mother Goose Time sent us a beautiful underwater poster and sea creatures. We cut out all the sea creatures and the girls put them onto the underwater scene.

Then, they put on their scuba gear and pretended to go inside the poster and into the underwater scene with all of the ocean animals.

The girls named all off the animals.

"Look mom, a sea turtle!"

"I see an octopus!"

Shipwreck Hideaway Game

Daddy, the girls and I played this game together on Saturday morning. It was so much fun!

This game includes both dramatic play and a board game simultaneously.

We asked the girls what they might find in a shipwreck. They built a shipwreck out of blankets and toys in the room.

We told them to pretend they are small fish and to hide in a shipwreck to avoid
danger, just as real fish do.

"Look! A shark! I am going to hide in the shipwreck!"

As the girls kept themselves busy, we got out the board game.

Mother Goose Time included the board (printed onto poster paper), game cards with fish in different colors and two game pieces (colorful fish that push into suction cups that pop up).

I love the little fish Mother Goose Time included as game pieces. The colorful fish push down onto the suction cups and will pop up. This is a great way to keep a preschool child occupied while they wait for their turn. :)

I like how Mother Goose Time suggests having children explore pretending to be a fish hiding in a shipwreck under blankets, blocks or other toys. That's also a great way to keep the children busy until they wait for their turn.

1. During their turn, each child turns over a card with a colorful fish (purple, green, orange or pink) on it.
2. The child moves their game piece fish onto the corresponding color circle (purple, green, orange or pink) on the game board.
3. The child who gets to the shipwreck first wins.

How to Create a Shipwreck Hideaway Game at Home

You probably already have most of these supplies on hand...

To create a similar board game at home or for your classroom children, you could draw a shipwreck onto posterboard or large white paper and have the children color it.

You can trace over each circle with a different color leading up to the shipwreck.

For the game pieces, you could use fish crackers.

For the cards, you can draw colorful fish onto small pieces of paper, or you could put pom poms into a bag with colors that correspond with the circles on the game board.

Submarine Window Collage Craft

We talked about what you might see from a submarine window. We looked at a picture of a submarine.

Submarine windows are usually round and are called a porthole.

  • Paper plates (two for each child)
  • Cellophane (optional)
  • Ocean photos (optional, the children can draw sea creatures, if needed.)
  • Markers, crayons or paint
  • Seashells (optional)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tape

1. Children decorate the plate to look like what they would see while looking out a porthole.
2. Help the child cut out the center of the second plate to frame the artwork, so it looks like a porthole.
3. Listen to what the child has to say about their porthole scene.

Our Ocean Exploration Real-Life Ocean Safari
We are looking forward to our big field trip to end our studies about the ocean!

I found a Groupon deal for a dolphin safari and whale watching day trip with Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari!

It was only $40 for our family of four, which would usually be close to $200!

You can enjoy learning more about the whales and dolphins on their website.

Here are some fun videos to watch with children that show dolphins and whales in the ocean (scroll down). They also have a children's book available.

You will love the drone video Captain Dave made on this website! He took the drone out and got amazing video of a mommy whale and her baby!

We'll post our ocean adventures from Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari soon!


Our Next Mother Goose Time Adventure

Our adventure with Mother Goose Time this month is Growing Gardens!

We've got big plans! We'll be planting a garden, watching the garden grow, learning about vegetables and our garden visitors.

Our adventures will include getting real butterflies to raise and creating a greenhouse of our own!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Mother Goose Time- Small Sea Creatures Preschool Lesson Plans

Here's some free Mother Goose Time lesson plan ideas that preschool through elementary-age children will love.

Each day of the week, we learned about each of the following:
  • plankton and jellyfish
  • sea star
  • seahorse
  • sea sponge
  • x-ray fish

There was a lot to do for each day, which we can't cover all here, but I'll share our favorites with you.

Jellyfish Hat Craft and Dramatic Play

My daughters loved acting out being a jellyfish. They had a lot of fun with the dramatic play. Their dad was stung by a jellyfish once, so the topic was interesting to them.

Here's a picture of the lesson plan from the book. Mother Goose Time provided all of the above supplies, except for the tape. It's such a great time saver to have all of the supplies in the bag each day! Every once in a while, I just need to use some of our own glue, tape or paint. Most other supplies are included.

  • photograph of a jellyfish
  • shower cap
  • tape
  • curling ribbon (what you use to wrap presents)
The children tape the curling ribbon onto the shower cap, as they look at a photograph of a jellyfish.

Then, the children act out being a jellyfish.

You can also hang the jellyfish craft onto the wall, and the children could swim though the sea looking up at the jellyfish.

"Look, mom. I am swimming under the jellyfish!"



Sea Star Snack and Bumpy Sea Star Craft

This is a photo of our sea star snack. Of course, you could use sunbutter, if needed. We didn't have
rice crispies, so the girls decorated their sea stars with nuts and cranberries.

I didn't have a star cookie cutter, so it took me a couple of times to get the stars right. I just cut two pieces of bread at once and then separated the pieces for each daughter.

This Sea Star Craft was really fun for the girls. It seems so simple, but they loved putting on the bumps and then feeling the sea star. You can also practice counting the legs. We usually count in English and then Spanish. Practicing anything in Spanish pretty much makes it differentiated for my older daughter. That way the older child and younger child are both able to be challenged. I think counting in Spanish is beginning to be too easy for our eight-year-old daughter, so I think I may have her start counting in Italian, too. She can count to 100 in Spanish.




Daddy Seahorse Game

This Mother Goose Time Daddy Seahorse Game is so adorable! My daughters could not wait to show daddy their seahorse game and to play it with him when he got home.

For our younger daughter, we practiced counting the baby seahorses in English, and she also tried Spanish along with her older sister. We said numbers in Spanish for our older daughter, because English was too easy for her. That way it made the game fun for our older daughter, too. Otherwise, it would have been too easy for our older daughter.

Daddy seahorses take care of seahorse babies in their pouch. The girls turned over a number and put in the correct number of seahorses in the daddy seahorse's pouch.


Sponge Stencils

The girls hung their sponge stencils above their desks next to their jellyfish hats. This activity seemed to really relax them. I noticed that some of the ocean photographs in this month's box seemed to have a relaxing effect. Research has shown that fish tanks and ocean scenes tend to relax children. That's also why I chose to put their finished artwork on the wall in front of their desks. I love the colorful photographs Mother Goose Time includes for each day's lessons.

  • Background picture paper (picture of a
    ocean scene)
  • Sea sponge stencils
  • Sponge
  • Paint
  • Glue or tape





X-Ray Fish Handprint Craft

Handprint crafts are so much fun. It would be fun to put together a calendar with all of the handprint crafts we do for the year, and make a calendar for the following year.

Here are the instructions:

Look at their little handprints!

Mother Goose Time packed tons to do into this week! We had so much fun, and we are so excited about our adventures next week!

Next week will be our final week studying Ocean Commotion, and we will be discovering more about ocean exploration.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mother Goose Time- Whale, Octopus, Dolphin, Shark and Sea Turtle Preschool Lesson Plans

Feel free to use any of these ocean theme (large sea creatures)  Mother Goose Time lesson plans.


Many of the lessons (art, games and songs) can be differentiated for Pre-K through elementary age children.


Ocean Commotion Theme

Our theme for this month is Ocean Commotion. The kids have learned about ocean scape (ocean water, ocean floor, ocean caves & crevices, ocean plants and coral reef). This week the kids learned about large sea creatures (whale, octopus, dolphin, shark and sea turtle). This web shows the curriculum sequence.

 Ocean Animals A to Z Book

We began learning about ocean animals by reading and tracing each alphabet letter in this beautiful book by Leslie Falconer.

This interesting book has beautiful photographs and large letters for the preschooler to trace. It also has a short description of each animal. It incorporates reading and science in a very visual and kinesthetic manner. My daughter had no trouble going all the way through the book in one sitting.

I highly recommend this book. My daughter loved it. I was so impressed that it came in our Mother Goose Time box for the month.

Here are some examples of pages in the book...