Commotion in the Ocean

To kick of storytimes this summer we read books about the ocean. This fit right in with the 'Make a Splash!' summer reading theme. We read books that featured a variety of ocean creatures as I planned for a week of 'Fish' and 'Sharks' for later in the summer.

The first book that we read was Rub-a-dub Sub by Linda Ashman. This is the story of a little boy who goes for an ocean adventure in his submarine. He glides past all sorts of sea creatures until he finds a Shark! The simple text and bright illustrations in this book are great for reading to a young crowd.

Our second book was Five little sharks swimming in the sea by Steve Metzger. This story features a family of sharks who disappear one by one as they explore the ocean. After each disappearance 'mamma calls the doctor' and those poor sharks are banned from one sharky activity after another. While this isn't the most thrilling tale, it has nice repetition and is great for counting. Plus, what kid doesn't like sharks?

The final story that we read was I'm the biggest thing in the ocean by Kevin Sherry. I love this story. It features a giant squid who is so proud to be bigger than all of the other sea creatures that he knows. But, as he brags about how big he is, he soon finds out that there might be something bigger out there. This book is quite fun and even gets a few chuckles from the parents.

As part of the program, we sang 'The Creatures in the Ocean.' It goes to the tune of the wheels on the bus. I have seen many variations of this song in many places. The great part about it is that you can do as many or few animals as you have time (or interest) for.

The waves in the sea go up and down
Up and down, up and down,
The waves in the sea go up and down,
All day long!

Repeat with:
The crabs go pinch, pinch, pinch,
The clams go open and shut
The lobsters go click, click, click
The sharks go snap, snap, snap
The fish go swim, swim, swim
The eels go slither, slither, slither

We also danced to 'Fish Dance' from Johnette Downing's album Music Time. Each of the children were given a scarf that they could wave around as we danced to the music.

Our ending song was 'All the Fish' from Sue Schnitzer's album Wiggle and whirl, clap and nap. I love this song about all of the different animals slpashing around in the pond. It is very easy for the younger kids to participate with the motions.

Sine with summer programs we never know how many kids are going to show up (and in the past we would have over 30 kids in a program) we decided that we would end with activities instead of crafts. The two activities that we featured for the ocean were a parachute and a fishing game. With the parachute we started by making waves, small and then bigger and bigger (though most of the kids only did bigger). Then we tossed in some sea creatures (finger puppets) and bounced them out, made them fly as high as we could, etc. The fishing activity was a few poles with magnets at the end of some fishing line that the kids used to 'catch' some paper fish (each one had a paper clip on it to attract the magnet). The fish were swimming in a small plastic pool. The kids enjoyed this, but we had to be careful as the lines got easily tangled.

Most of the program was kept the same for the 4 and 5 year old age group, we just changed the books and some of the songs (Clamshell Clap from Johnette Downing's Fins and Grins and The Goldfish from Laurie Berkner's Victor Vito were used) . Here are the books that we used:

The first book that the 4's and 5's heard was Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward. This is an ocean counting tale that depicts different sea creature parents and their babies while discussing what they do in the ocean. Each creature has one more baby than the last as you work from one to ten.

Our second story was Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck. This story features a little boy who goes snorkeling through the ocean and encounters many different sea creatures. The illustrations are really vivid and large, perfect for the story time crowd.

The last story we did was a flannel board adaptation of The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood. This is a cumulative tale about all the things you can find on the red rock in the middle of the deep blue sea. You repeat all the items as you add a new one, so this is a great story for audience participation.

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