I've been reading to a group of preschool children this summer. They have been doing a beach/ocean theme. Last week I read Rainbow Fish, and did some activities with them. This week, I read Down at the Bottom of the Deep Dark Sea. It is about a little boy who is afraid of water. He's afraid of water in the tub, sprinklers, rain, and most of all the roaring waters at the beach. The little boy is afraid the water will swallow him up and he'll find "pinching crabs and slimy monsters..." at the bottom of the sea. He stays far away from the water when the family goes to the beach. He plays in the sand while his family plays in the water.
After reading the story and talking about why the little boy had no reason to be afraid, the children went deep sea diving. ;) The director's daughter and I had already laid a twin-sized, yellow, fitted sheet on the floor under a classroom table, and scattered shells, and plastic sea creatures on the sheet. I taped construction paper fish and seaweed to a dark blue plastic, tablecloth, and draped it over the table, with one side opened. I wanted to tape some green streamers (seaweed) to the underside of the table but I never got around to getting the streamers. Two children at a time were allowed to "dive" into the ocean to observe and handle some of the creatures. They were warned about the crabs, and told to watch for sharks and jelly fish. It was so much fun watching their faces when they found a starfish, crab, lobster, conch shells, clam shells, and stingrays. Thank you, Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby.
While the director and her daughter cleaned up the ocean, I read The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark. I was hoping they would make the connection with The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. Then we made sand art bottles. I tried to find the smallest bottles I could for this, because I knew I didn't have enough sand. Thankfully the director had some. The sand art was beautiful. Finally, I left them with Sand Cups for snack.
I didn't do any math or literacy activity this time, but the children still got to experience something that they can talk about. Hopefully they will be able to retell the stories and make connections to activities we did. I love using literature to teach.