Saturday, June 15, 2019

Montessori-Inspired Ocean Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

An ocean unit is perfect for summer, although it's great at any time. Today, I have a new ocean unit along with a free ocean pack (subscriber freebie at!

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).

Montessori Shelves with Ocean-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Ocean-Themed Activities

You’ll find Montessori-inspired ocean numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I always have related books available throughout a unit. On the top shelf, I have Steve Jenkins' Down Down Down (an amazing book and one of Zoey's very favorite books), The Big Book of the Blue (lovely!), and Ocean: a Photicular Book (see below). On the right side of the shelf (book on a wooden cookbook holder), I have National Geographic Kids Ultimate Oceanpedia (gorgeous photos and a fabulous reference book!). 

You could mix your ocean-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special ocean-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.

Ocean Sensory Bottle with Ocean: A Photicular Book

Ocean Animal Sensory Bottle with Ocean: A Photicular BookOcean: A Photicular Book was a New York Times bestseller. It's a super-fun book for multiple ages to look at with images that use Photicular technology to make each image like a 3-D movie on the page. It also tells about each ocean animal, including vital statistics such as size, habitat, range, diet, life span in the wild, and threats. 

The sensory bottle is my old baby beluga ocean sensory bottle with a new Voss 11.2 oz. bottle and with Safari Ltd. Good Luck Minis Sea Life Pack.

Montessori Movable Alphabet with Long-Spine Porcupinefish Movable Alphabet Cards and  Ocean Words Pictures and Booklet

Ocean-Themed Movable Alphabet Spelling Work

Free Printable: Ocean Word Cards from PreKinders. I printed the printable out twice ... once to make an ocean animals booklet and once for pictures to use with the movable alphabet. 

Free Printable: Long-spine Porcupinefish Movable Alphabet (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

We use the small Montessori movable alphabet. I have the movable alphabet from Alison’s Montessori, which I love. You can also get a movable alphabet from Amazon or make your own. You can just use the movable alphabet printable.

For Zoey's work, I cut out pictures from the printable that would work for the Montessori pink, blue, and green series. Then she call spell the words with the movable alphabets and check her work with the appropriate page in the booklet. 

/o/ for Octopus Sandpaper Letter and Font Card with Schleich Octopus and An Octopus Is Amazing Book

/o/ for Octopus Materials

Free Printables: Octopus Letters for letter o font cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I used the "o" Sandpaper Letter and octopus font card with Schleich Octopus and An Octopus Is Amazing Book.

Ocean Animal 3-Part Cards with Safari Ltd Ocean TOOB Animals

The Ocean Alphabet Book with Ocean Animal 3-Part Cards and Safari Ltd Ocean TOOB Animals

Free Printable: Ocean Animal 3-Part Cards from Memorizing the Moments 

I am in love with this Montessori cards display box! It recently became available on Amazon in the U.S. I love it for displaying 3-part cards or 4-part cards. It's so attractive and doesn't take up much space. I used the Safari Ltd. Ocean TOOB for this work and placed everything on a Multicraft tray.

Demonstrating Matching Ocean Animal Pictures and Objects

My daughter, Christina, and her son, Caleb worked with the materials at a toddler level. First, Christina named the animals and matched them to the cards. 

Identifying the Dolphin in Ocean Animal Picture and Object Matching

Then Caleb had his turn with identifying each of the animals. Here, Christina asked Caleb to point to the dolphin. This is a great introduction to vocabulary and matching for toddlers! You can read more about teaching vocabulary to toddlers using the 3-period lesson here.

(Note: With toddlers, I keep the Safari Ltd. animals out of reach because they're a choking hazard. We only use them when an adult is working directly with the toddler.)

Ocean Animal 3-Part Cards with Safari Ltd Ocean TOOB Animals

For Zoey's level, I'd have her read the words and match them to the picture cards, check them with the control card, and match the Safari Ltd. animal figure.

Toddlers and young preschoolers can just use the picture cards for matching to the animal figures. A pre-reader could have the control card placed first and then match the picture and word to the control card.

Adding Three Numbers and Making an Ocean Bracelet or Necklace with Ocean Charms

Ocean Charm Addition Using World Map Number Cards, Ocean Charms, and Chenille StemsFree Printable: World Map Number Cards 1-15 (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

I found these adorable ocean charms to use. There are six of each. I just chose the 10 best ones (leaving out the mermaids, for example).

I used a number dice (either dots or numerals is fine) along with the number cards 1-15 (in case the child rolls 4+5+6). You could have enough for doubles, although I have this activity set up so the child has to roll again until there are three different numbers. Younger children can just add two numbers or roll the dice to choose one number.

Sisters Enjoying Their Side-by-Side Work - Ocean Charm Addition and Necklace Making and Toddler Chenille Stem and Strainer Work 
Zoey and Sophia enjoyed working side by side. Zoey added three numbers and strung the corresponding numbers of ocean animals on the chenille stem to make a necklace. Sophia worked on placing chenille stems in the holes of a strainer, a great activity for toddlers.

Sisters Working Side by Side - Ocean Charm Addition and Necklace Making with Toddler Chenille Stem Bending and Sensory Activity 

Here, Zoey has completed her equation and is finishing her necklace. Sophia has moved on to bending the chenille stems and enjoying the sensory experience.

Ocean 3-Part Cards and Placing Ocean Labels on Continents Globe

Ocean 3-Part Cards with Continents Globe

Free Printable: Ocean 3-Part Cards and Control Chart from Imagine Our Life

I printed out an extra set of labels to attach to the Montessori continents globe. (You could use any globe.)

Ocean 3-Part Cards with Ocean Labels on Continents Globe

This activity is a great way to reinforce the names and locations of each ocean. Using painter's tape or removable double-sided tape, you can have the child place the second set of ocean labels on the globe.

More Ocean Resources

For more free printables for this unit, go to my post at Living Montessori Now with Free Ocean Printables and Montessori-Inspired Ocean Activities

 If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12.

Happy summer!

Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 44 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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