Under the Sea

Living on the coast this is a ‘must have’ theme. Our children have a lot of exposure to beaches and often have family members who take them fishing.  We are lucky enough to have whiteboards and projectors in our classrooms.  To open the theme I like to show them Google Earth.  We discuss what the blue areas are (seas and oceans) on our planet and compare the amount of land with the amount of water.  A good way to get them to try and understand just how important our oceans are.


Feed the Shark

Katharine our super sonic assistant turned a cardboard box into a rather hungry shark.  Children loved feeding him with all the little fish! We turned it into a game where the children rolled the coloured dice and then had to feed the shark with the same colour fish.  Make it more challenging for older children and they must also roll a number and feed the correct colour and number of fish to the shark.

Harry the Hermit Crab – mini book and sequencing activity

Who knew hermit crabs were such interesting little creatures! They can be found quite often in our rock pools so a lovely one to include under this theme.  There is fabulous BBC video with David Attenborough (just love him) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1dnocPQXDQ&t=67s.  If you can show this during your class discussion it really helps bring it all to life.

First match shell to fit the crab. As Harry grows he needs bigger shells.  So a good smallest to biggest activity.

Once shells have been stuck on correctly children to customise their pages and add their own illustrations.

Encourage them to put the pages in the correct order themselves. Make sure they have a nice cover page.

They can sit in little groups and tell their stories to each other.  Make sure books go home and that parents know they must sit with them and read the book together.  Anything to encourage reading at home!

Light Houses

Port Shepstone lighthouse is a stones throw away from our school.  Many children drive past it every day. With an estimated 45 light houses still in operation (although not many manned) its a topic that easily grabs their interest. So its a good discussion piece.  Sailing around the South African coastline used to be a perilous business.  It is estimated that there are over 2000 shipwrecks around our shoreline.  If you mention the treasure lying at the bottom of the ocean you will really get them interested!

The Light House Keepers Catastrophe is a good story to use after you’ve discussed light houses and what they are used for.  The pictures are lovely and its quite comical.

Lighthouse Art Activity

The book has a scene where there is a big storm at sea and the Lighthouse Keeper has to make sure the light is shining.  We used wet chalks and pastels to draw the stormy night time scene.  I played rainy/stormy sound tracks whilst they worked to try and help them to feel as if they were in the storm. Then we collaged the rocks (by tearing and sticking brown paper).

Our pictures were completed by cutting and sequencing red and white paper for the lighthouse.  A bright yellow beam of light was achieved using paint sprinkled with glitter.  Glitter is like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it! I love it! Just makes me smile every time we use it. Even though it literally gets everywhere.

Ship Wrecks (and Treasure) Ahoy there! Me Matey’s!

Chatting about Ligthhouses led us onto shipwrecks and treasure.  It really grabbed their interest, so we just had to take it further.  We made little boats which we used with a parachute and a new song. Then as an art activity we created shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea with all their treasure.

Super simple boats made out of the ubiquitous toilet roll.  What would teachers do without them! I didn’t have the funds to buy anything fancy for this so I experimented until I got a little boat that would stand up straight.  Quite tricky when you need to add a mast.

Toilet rolls were cut length ways, one piece slightly larger than the other. Then using a craft knife I cut little slits through the two pieces.  When they are placed back to back the lolly stick can be pushed through.  Your boat has a mast and it will stand up straight.

We painted the base of our boats and then finally stuck paper to the mast using woodglue to make the sails.  The boats were really made for the purpose of the song rather than an art activity so they were quick and simple to make.

The little boats were then placed into the parachute and there was great excitement to see if they would stay there!  We sang the song “The big ship sailed on the Ally Ally Oh”.  I changed the words and we made up some actions.  I did make a video but I’m not brave enough to post it! It’s too awful hearing your own voice!

The Big Ship Sailed on the Ally Ally Oh!


To create our under the sea shipwrecks I gave them each a piece of wallpaper (from an old sample book).  Then they had to draw their own boat shape cut it out and stick it onto their paper.  They added sea creatures, sea weed coral etc. using lumo pastels.  Then ice lolly sticks and matches were stuck on to boats to make the masts.  If you like you can collage treasure chests and use glitter for all the loot!