Inside: This toddler and preschool ocean theme circle time activity works on color and number recognition and simple counting. Download the free printable and make your own props!
If you’re looking for ways to get your toddlers and preschoolers engaged during your ocean theme circle time, you will love this free printable!
Then, add some counting with the numbered fish that are also included in this set.
Bonus if the prop can also be used as a table activity during centers time!
Scroll down towards the bottom of this post to find the link to the free download.
Props during circle time.
Do you use them?
I admit it took me years to discover their value.
Meanwhile, I was struggling to keep my young students’ attention during circle time.
It wasn’t until perhaps my third year of teaching that I tried adding visuals (flannel board, puppets, magnetic board, etc.) and saw a huge difference.
I was able to hold their attention longer by having these props.
In fact, I talk about it in this video.
My circle time basket always includes props!
When I had to teach virtually in 2020 and part of 2021, I was fortunate to already know the benefits of props.
For each theme I sent home a packet that included at least one stick puppet that the children could hold in front of the screen.
They loved that they were holding the same thing that I was, too!
So, when we returned to the classroom, I continued to create props that can be turned into stick puppets.
We used them the same way we did through the screen, except now we are together in the classroom.
And, thanks to my devoted readers who made this request, I have also started creating numbered props.
Printable Toddler and Preschool Ocean Theme Circle Time Activity
This printable set comes with plain colored fish and numbered fish.
The plain fish can be used as stick puppets and also for color recognition activities.
Add counting and number recognition to your circle time by using the numbered fish.
Using the Plain Colored Fish
Fish Stick Puppets
What you will need:
- Popsicle sticks or Jumbo Craft Sticks
- Scotch tape
- Printable fish prop (scroll down to find the link) – you will be using the plain colored fish. Set aside the numbered fish for a separate activity.
I suggest either printing these on heavy paper or laminating them for extra durability.
Make enough copies so that you have one fish stick puppet for each student and yourself.
After cutting out each fish (make sure you have enough for each child), tape them to the end of a popsicle stick.
Once the children are situated, hand them each a fish stick puppet and we use them while singing fish songs and reading fish books.
Who has the same color?
Turn this into a color matching activity!
Make sure you have two of each color, and a complete set for yourself.
Each of your students will be holding different colored fish stick puppets.
As you hold up each color, ask the children who also has this color fish.
When the children with that color hold their fish stick puppet up in the air, have them find the friend with the same color.
For example, if you hold up a red fish, the children who also have a red fish will hold their stick puppets in the air and notice the other friends with the same color fish.
These colored fish can also be used as an independent activity at the table!
- Make two copies of the colored fish.
- Keep one copy whole and cut around the flowers of the second copy.
- Match the fish by color.
Add some simple counting and number recognition to your circle time using the numbered fish in this set.
Cookie Sheet Prop
This is one of my favorite ways to display smaller pieces during circle time!
I purchased a cheap small cookie sheet and spray painted it white. (But you don’t need to do this part. Completely optional.)
Make sure to copy the fish on to heavy paper. Laminating the fish makes them more durable.
Then, add a magnetic piece on the back of each fish and display on the cookie sheet.
I use this as a visual while we sing ocean songs that involve counting, as well as books.
I also keep this available during centers time as an independent activity.
More Ocean Ideas
Sensory: Ocean Sensory Bin
Science: Ocean in a Bottle
Counting: Ten Little Fish
Literacy: Fish Alphabet Matching
Toddler and Preschool Ocean Lesson Plans
We’ve done the work for you! We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for toddlers (18-36 months) AND preschoolers (3-5 years)!
I helped create these lesson plans along with a talented group of early childhood educators and home schoolers.
Easy to follow lesson 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: