Unit Syllabus: Oceans/Sea Life

It feels like it's been a long time since I have put together one of these posts. I think before I start, I should give you a little update on our homeschooling: 

Big Buddy turned five in August. Since he is a young five, we have debated a lot on whether to "red shirt" him and wait until next year to officially start kindergarten, or to start this year. Like most children he has areas where he excels and areas where he struggles. Since the path is not an obvious one, we've decided to take full advantage of the flexibility homeschooling offers and continue to play it by ear. That being said, we are not calling what we do this year kindergarten. Instead we are just continuing to move forward on skills like math and reading while digging deeper into subjects that spark excitement. In addition to our theme units, Big Buddy and I are also working our way through The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and Singapore Math. 

Mini Man turned three in August. When Big Buddy was his age, the only school work we did was reading good books and discussing our surroundings. I do not really think official school work is necessary at his age, but he (and Little Lady) like to do whatever Big Buddy is doing, so some of the activities below were created with him in mind. The activities are available for the children to work with all day but during school time I often assign them specific tasks.  

We took a trip to Virginia this past summer which sparked a lot of discussion about oceans and sea life. The boys are still very much infatuated, so this was a perfect unit to kick off our school year. Without further ado, our ocean activities:

sensory bin with water beads and safari toob sea animals
skills practiced: science knowledge, fine motor, sensory
tweezing work with silicone trays and blue pom poms
skills practiced: fine motor, one to one correspondence

manual pencil sharpening
skills practiced: fine motor

sorting tray: sea animals
skills practiced: classifying, fine motor 
*a tray for mini man but little lady surprised me the other day by
sorting the beads by color. 

patterning with pipe cleaners and sea animals
skills practiced: patterning, fine motor
*these beads were purchased from discount school supply

addition tray with sea animals
skills practiced: numeral recognition, counting, addition*
for this activity big buddy first draws a number card and
then places the corresponding number of dolphins in the
first tray. he then does the same thing for the whales.
lastly, he adds up the whales and dolphins, taking the
 correct number of each animal and choosing the
corresponding numeral. 

counting sea animals
skills practiced: counting, numeral recognition,
*this is one of the activities created specifically for mini man - he likes
to do math with his brother

sea life puzzles
skills practiced: spatial reasoning, fine motor, problem solving

pattern puzzles via prekinders
skills practiced: spatial reasoning, fine motor, shapes

parts of a whale shark nomenclature cards via 
montessori helper
skills practiced: scientific knowledge, identification, vocabulary

classifying sea animal or other
skills practiced: scientific knowledge, classifying, 
magnets are from a melissa and doug puzzle book

phonetic picture cards via montessori for everyone
skills practiced: phonics, sorting
*cards via 

sea life nomenclature cards and figurine matching
skills practiced: one-to-one correspondence, scientific
comparing, vocabulary

*these are cards we made, feel free to print them off here

dot markers and sea life stencils
skills practiced: fine motor, creativity
*stencils are from michael's 

various sea life worksheets via homeschool creations
2 teaching mommies, & 1+1+1=1
skills practiced: fine motor, letters, numbers, etc

observation corner: shells, fish x-rays,
magnifying glasses
skills practiced: comparing, describing, observing
*x-rays are from discount school supply

A big portion of the learning that happens during our theme units is through books. I love to read and it's a passion I'm determined to pass on to my children, so I sometimes can be a little over zealous in the number of books I borrow from our library. In this unit two books have risen as clear favorites:

eric carle's illustrations are of
course wonderful. The tale is sweet
and it's a great introduction to lots
of lesser known sea life

the photos in this book are stunning. it offers
a compressive look at the worlds oceans and
is filled with tons of information. Since it's
broken up in two to three page segments,
it's very easy to share with young children
This is our last week for this unit. I am hoping the weather is nice enough for us to end it with a trip to the zoo where we can watch a dolphin show and touch
sting rays.

P.S. Check out our homeschool page for more theme units and educational ideas. 


  1. You are amazing Rachel!! Every time I stop by I am just in awe of the amount of work and creativity you put into homeschooling your kids. You are such an inspiration to me!!

  2. Oooooh, I like this. Thanks for sharing! Here from the HHH :)

  3. Wonderful..will pin and share. I don't have small kids myself but this makes me wish I did!

  4. Love the activities with the sea animal beads. I bought a pack out of a bin of pop beads a couple of months back, then realized after I got home with them that they weren't pop beads. You've given me some ideas for putting them to good use. :-)

  5. Great post! Lovely ocean activities! I am starting up a shop called Linda's Montessori Shop. selling all my 3,000 used books from 30 years of teaching Montessori, and later all my Montessori materials. It's not open yet, but I have over 300 books on right now. If you sign up for e-mail messages (on the front page) i can let you know when we are launching! I thought that my Shop might be especially useful for Montessori Homeschoolers such as yourself. Thank you! Hope to see you there! http://www.LindasMontessori.com


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