Our first theme of the summer was the ocean. So, I went straight to pinterest to find everything ocean themed. I found some great ideas that I'll link to below. First thing was first, we needed to hit the library to get books about the ocean. And boy did we get a lot of books - ones about the largest creatures, the scariest, sea shells... you name it, we probably had a book about it!
One thing I've learned already is that this theme of the ocean can't just be covered in one week. Not only did I want the kids to enjoy their first week of summer, I also didn't want to disturb any free play where the kids weren't fighting. So, we didn't get done nearly as many "ocean" projects as I had originally planned.
We actually already had this ocean floor puzzle, so this worked out perfectly. Not only did it get the boys working together to assemble it, but then they had to find and count each of the listed animals at the bottom. You can find this on Amazon for less than $13 or check your local library, they usually have a great variety of puzzles!
I found this next activity on Pinterest and the first time I tried to get the boys to help, they weren't in to it at all. So I waited a couple of days and tried again. This time around, they really got in to it. We researched how big some of the ocean animals we were reading about were, then we drew out a measuring tape on the driveway. The person who posted it on Pinterest started with a whale that was 100 feet! Our driveway isn't 100 feet long, so we stuck with smaller animals. Once we got the measurements chalked out, I had the boys lay down to mark how big they were. Then we drew a 6 ft sea turtle, 9 ft dolphin, and a 20 ft great white shark. They loved seeing how their size compared to the sea creatures.
I had gone to hobby lobby to buy the supplies to make "handprint lobsters" but once I got the paint out they were no longer interested in making hand lobsters. They wanted to make their own ocean landscape, so who was I to tell them to do differently! So, if your kids want to make the cute little handprint lobsters, click here for a visual (there are also some other great ocean crafts listed too!) Sometimes you gotta let go over your controlling side and just go with the flow :)
The boys sifted through my Pinterest crafts and they liked the idea of doing an "ocean in a bottle". I would not recommend this craft unless you actually have all the necessary ingredients to make it on hand. I went to 3 different stores just to get all the supplies. I went to Hobby Lobby to find sea creatures small enough to fit in a bottle and they were $10! Next time, I'll just cut out foam fish and call it a day! I went to Target to get the baby oil, and then to Lowe's to get the sand. After 3 stops, I was over this craft!! We waited another 2 days before actually assembling the darn things. Although it was a chore getting everything, the boys have enjoyed looking at them, shaking them up and then watching how everything settles back into the layers.
We ended our ocean week with a trip to the Shedd Aquarium. It was awesome to say the least! If you haven't been up there, I highly recommend going. We've been twice in the last year (if you know you'll visit at least twice, I suggest getting the membership because it'll save you money in the long run) and every time the boys find something different that they love. This visit they were obsessed with the jelly fish - how they don't have any bones or brains - My oldest was baffled at how something can move without thinking, ha! I told him he had a younger brother that moved constantly without thinking :)
Melissa Ash - mom of 2 energetic boys, wife, and business woman. Just trying to "do it all".