5 Ocean Unit Field Trips
Learning happens anywhere. It happens everywhere.
It is a myth that kids need to sit in a desk and stare quietly at their teacher to absorb new information. It is a myth that all of the best learning happens in a classroom.
My kids have definitely learned things since starting Kindergarten, but the majority of their education happens other places. Everywhere we go they are learning.
Those non-stop questions (you hear them all day too, right?) - that's them learning.
When they pause to pick up or stare at or wonder about things you didn't even notice - that's them learning.
I've seen my kids learning everywhere from the zoo to an elevator.
What probably isn't surprising to anyone who regularly reads this blog or follows me on Instagram, is that a lot of their learning has taken place at the beach.
Learning at the beach?
If you're incredulous I don't blame you, but the beach was one of our main classrooms last summer.
However, as the colder months approached I thought we would be pausing our beach exploration.
My kids and especially my daughter were obsessed with this movie from the moment we saw it. Something about the combination of the ocean and the songs and the characters and the volcano were enough to fascinate both of them for months. I detailed all of this in our Moana-inspired curriculum ideas post, but I didn't elaborate much on all those field trips we took.
These field trips, while taken during our Moana-inspired Unit, could be applicable to any water related interest.
The beach is an obvious field trip when you're interested in water. I know everyone doesn't live 15 minutes from an ocean like us, but hopefully there is a lake or river or something that you can use as a substitute if needed.
Read More about one of our Beach Field Trips: PRESS HERE
1. Draw Pictures based on the photos your child took at the beach.
2. Create a Found Treasures Nature Tray
Materials: tray, objects, magnifying glass, paper and pencil for notes.
3. Beach Mystery Bag
We've done this several times. For older kids, you can extend this activity by asking them to tell you the first letter sound of each item paired. READ MORE
Head to the nearest aquarium with your drawing materials in hand. After walking around, watching the sea lion show, and talking to one of the staff about our many questions, my kids sat down to draw a fish from the Coral Reef tank.
1. Fizzy Ocean Science.
This was just plain fun! Directions are on Little Bins for Little Hands.
2. Watch: The Magic School Bus Takes a Dive
This is Season 4, Episode 11 and it's all about coral reefs.
3. Play, Draw and Create Magnet stories about Ocean animals.
4. Simple Letter Sounds Matching from No Time for Flashcards.
Don't just stand at the edge of the water - head out on top of it. Whether you ride on a ferry, row a canoe, or go on a harrowing whale riding adventure - get out on the water for a different perspective.
1. Do a simple sink or float activity
Fill a tub or large bowl with water. Gather an assortment of objects. Predict whether each will sink or float and then test your theory.
2. Build your own boat, ship, or ferry with legos or loose parts.
Tidal pools are fascinating. Again, I know not everyone can just pop in the car and zip to a tidal pool. If you can, however, do! What is revealed when the tide heads out is so textured and different and question provoking. Bring a camera and something to collect a couple samples in to investigate more at home.
1. Draw pictures of what you saw at the tidal pool. Have your child dictate to you what they think happens to what they saw when the tide comes back in.
2. Learn to look closely at this with a microscope.
This episode (Season 4 Episode 2) is all about tidal zones.
Repetition is so important. It's not just books and songs you have to repeat four thousand times. Go back to your favorite places again and again too!
1. Salt Water + Fresh Water Sink or Float Experiment. This answered some questions and brought up some fun new ones. You can find the directions on Little Bins for Little Hands.
2. Shared writing experience.
This is a great literacy activity for preschool and up. Make a chart story where each line starts with the same words. For example; A whale can... OR A fish can...
Have each child come up with an ending for that sentence. Do more than one sentence each if they are interested. Then read your chart story together.
3. Seaside Shell Windchimes or hanging art.
Something beautiful to do with all those seashells you collect. This beautiful example on Red Ted Art inspired me.
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