Inside: Put together a simple toddler jellyfish art activity with a few simple materials. A fun addition to the ocean theme that creates a nice classroom display!
One of our favorite themes for May – our last month of the school year – is the beach and ocean.
CLICK HERE to see how we’ve set up our classroom for the beach and ocean theme!
We explore different sizes, shapes and textures of shells, talk about what we see when we go to the beach, sing ocean songs, and get crafty with some ocean art activities.
Many years ago my older class created some jellyfish using plastic bowls. I wanted to do something similar with my toddlers, but it was important that they do the work. (I try hard to have few teacher directed art activities for this age group.)
The result was a batch of simple, colorful jellyfish that looked festive hanging in our classroom!
It’s All About the Process
Before I share how we made these colorful jellyfish, I want to stress the importance of keeping activities as child-led as possible.
I want the work to belong to the children, not me.
The only part I had to prep was cutting the streamers.
I did need to stay close as the children attached the streamers to the bowls, but once I showed them how to find the end of each streamer and press it into the glue, they were able to do it themselves. Were they perfect? Nope. Some streamers were pressed a few inches from the edge, and I let it go.
It’s the process that counts, even when doing more of a crafty activity like this.
Spread it Out
I am a big fan of spreading out an art activity over the course of days if there are multiple steps involved.
Here are some examples:
For this toddler jellyfish art activity, the bowls are painted one day and the streamers are attached the next.
I’ve found this particularly helpful for younger children with shorter attention spans, too.
Hang It Up!
When the jellyfish are finished, add some ribbon and hang! These make a nice classroom display for your ocean theme.
Easy Toddler Jellyfish Art Activity
What we used:
Step One: Paint the Bowl
Pour paint into containers and place on a table along with paper bowls and brushes.
Have the children paint the outsides of the bowls.
Toddlers have short attention spans, so they might not cover all of the space. No worries!
Young children love to paint 3-dimensional objects, such as these paper bowls. They have to think about how to get to all sides as they navigate the paint brush.
Some 3-dimensional activities we’ve loved:
Let the bowls dry completely. I like to spread this activity out into two days.
Step Two: Adding the Streamers (Tentacles)
Cut streamers approximately 12 – 15″ in length. They don’t need to be precise and you can add even more (or less).
Pour glue into individual containers so that you have one for each child and add a paintbrush.
Flip the painted bowl upside down and show your toddler how to brush glue around the inside of the bowl, close to the rim. (If they want to go crazy and glue all of the surface, no big deal. Extra fine motor! You just want to make sure there is glue around the edges so that the streamers will stick.)
Have them use their fingers to press the streamers into the glue.
Once all the streamers are stuck to the inside of the bowl, flip it over to show the children how they hang.
If you want to hang your jellyfish, poke a hole in the top of the bowl and add a few inches of ribbon, creating a loop at the end.
CLICK HERE to see more ways to add art to your classroom!
More fun ocean activities:
Toddler and Preschool Ocean Activity Plans
We’ve done the work for you! We now have interactive thematic plans for toddlers (18-36 months) AND preschoolers (3-5 years)!
I helped create these activities along with a talented group of early childhood educators and home schoolers.
Easy to follow plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners.
These activities come in a digital format. That means after you make a purchase, the links to the activities will arrive in an email.
For more information, click on the graphics below:
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