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Volume 6, Issue 7
March 31, 2008


Fact: Our world is covered by more ocean water than by land, yet only a small portion of that water is available for use.

Help your children learn this fact and much more by celebrating the National Week of the Ocean (April 6 - April 12). You might begin by enlarging and reproducing a world map. As students look on, write the name of each ocean in the correct spot on the map and help children say each ocean name.

We have plenty more activity suggestions and related links to get you started with your celebration of oceans… so go ahead and dive right in!

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Read to children I Wonder Why the Sea Is Salty: and Other Questions about the Oceans by Anita Ganeri. Then try this simple experiment. Fill two jars with water and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of Kosher salt to one jar. Label the jar "Salt Water." Place a hard-boiled egg into each jar and compare what happens. Continue adding salt to the salt water until the egg floats in the middle of the jar. (Adding salt to the water makes the water denser than the egg, which allows the water to hold up the egg.)

Activity 1
Provide each child an opportunity to use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut a star from a slice of whole wheat bread. Help children spread their stars with peanut butter. (Use margarine, cream cheese, or other toppings for children who have peanut allergies.) Sprinkle grated cheese, cinnamon, or other toppings, then toast the concoctions in the oven. When they cool, students can enjoy a tasty sea star snack!
Activity 2
Draw a sea star shape onto a sheet of blue paper, one for each child. (Your starfish shape might look like this one.) Instruct children to apply glue onto the inside of the sea star shape. Then let them sprinkle dry oatmeal onto the glue. When the glue dries, shake off excess oatmeal and invite children to draw seaweed and little fish on their blue oceans.

Fill a large plastic jar with small rocks, shells, sand, and water. Tightly screw on the jar's lid. Encourage children to shake the jar as you explain that sand is formed over many years as rocks grind against each other and against shells.

Explain simply that wind blowing across the water is what makes waves occur. Demonstrate this by filling a shallow pan with 2-3 inches of water. Next place a table fan about 1 foot from the narrowest side of the pan. Let the fan blow at a low speed and let children predict what will happen. Ask: Were there waves? Did the water bunch up at the far end of the pan? Try speeding up the fan, but do not let the water slosh out of the pan. Discuss the connection between wind and waves.

Provide picture books about the ocean world and the animals that live there. Invite each child to research the books to find his/her favorite ocean animal. Encourage each child to think about why he/she chose the animal. Next, invite children to draw pictures of their chosen animals and help them cut out the animals. Each child can then hold up his/her animal, tell its name, and why he/she chose it. Finally, hang pictures against a backdrop of green and blue crepe paper to complete your classroom underwater scene.



In Search of the Giant Squid
This online exhibit from NASA explores the mysteries of the giant squid.

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration
Loads of terrific information on this site. The institute is home to explorer Robert Ballard.

New England Aquarium
Another wonderful source of ocean and ocean animal information.

Ocean Conservancy
Many groups are working to preserve our oceans. Find out about this one.

All About Oceans and Seas
Lots of kid-friendly info here.