As you all know, I love to use thematic units to plan my treatment sessions. Every summer, I do an Under the Sea theme, which is one of my favorites! This year, my caseload is full of 3- 5 year olds, the perfect age to really enjoy Under the Sea activities. I always start with a book, and this one is AWESOME!
This is one of those awesome books with wonderful rhythm and repeated line text, making it super easy for little ones to join in the telling of the story. In case you're not familiar with this one, the story goes like this: a boy is diving in the deep blue sea, looking for treasure to share with his mama. On his journey, he meets many adorable sea creatures and even a shark who chases him after he finds the treasure. He rises up from the deep blue sea to find his mom waiting for him with a fluffy bath towel. The last page shows a bathtub full of sea creature toys, which is wonderful for making inferences about where the boy actually saw all of the creatures. It is so fun! I've used it for years! Here is the link to Amazon if you'd like to check it out.
Here's how I use it. I collected a box full of sea creatures that match the ones in the book. I photocopied a picture of the boy swimming from the book, cut it out and taped it to the lid of the box. We set the lid off to the side while we read the book. When a new sea creature is introduced in the story, the child finds its match from the box. We talk about the creature, and then put it on the lid as we say, "Swim away!"
I just love this book! The pictures are so adorable and the kids stay so engaged. It's a winner!
Another favorite activity has been building sand castles with that kinetic sand that has become so popular. My son bought me a jar from Brookstone last Christmas and it's become another favorite. It truly is amazing...it doesn't make a huge mess! And it feels so soft and crumbly...it's addicting! Anyway, we used those tiny paper cups to make awesome sand castles. I made a little script: First you put in 5 scoops of sand. Then you smash it down with the spoon, and add 5 more scoops. Smash it down again, then flip the cup over. Lift the cup to see your sand castle. Finally, put a flag on top.
The kids quickly learned to follow the sequence. It was fun to see them problem solve when their castles didn't turn out they way they expected them to be. After they knew the sequence, I had them give me directions to make one. This was a great activity for learning to tell a sequence.
Aren't they cute? I made the flags out of straws and washi tape.
I have several preschoolers working on plurals, pronouns and verb tenses, so I made some fun activities to target these skills and others. I made a deck of sea creature cards that can be used in a zillion ways. Our favorites have been to use them to play some childhood favorites, Go Fish, Memory Game and Old Maid. These games have withstood the test of time for a reason: they are easy to learn and jam-packed with learning opportunities. Here's one page of the cards...there are 17 different cards in all...34 if you double them.
I also used some of the cards to play another popular game: The treasure hunt game. I hid gold coins under sea creature flaps attached to a plastic sheet protector. Kids turned over a card, and lifted the flap that matched the card.
If there was a gold coin under the flap, the child got to put it on his treasure chest. If not, he continued to turn over cards and lift flaps until a gold coin was found.
What's under the flaps in addition to gold coins??? Target words and phrases!!!
This activity was great for working on pronouns, -ing verbs, past tense -ed verbs, and auxiliary verbs. The best part about it is you only have to tape the sea creatures on one sheet protector. You just have to move the target page of your choosing to the top of the pile inside the sheet protector. How great is that?
I also used the treasure chest mats and coins for another activity. A couple of my kids are working on auditory memory skills right now, so I made a sea creature themed activity for them.
This activity was harder than it seems for several of my kids. I even used it with a sixth grader, and it was difficult for her! Anyway, what I did was start with cards that had 3-4 syllables on them and work up to ones that had 7-8. I read a card aloud to the child and the child repeats it back. After he/she says the words in correct order, they receive a piece of gold to put on a treasure chest mat. We played until 10 pieces of gold were collected, but it's meant to be open-ended. You choose how long you play!
I have to say, this is one of the most versatile sets I've made. I've used it to target so many goals with several different age groups. If you'd like to check it out, visit my TpT store here. And, as always, I'd love to hear what you think about these materials. Please leave a comment below!