Introduce the ocean and sea life to 4th graders with engaging activities and crafts. Have kids get messy with glue, paint and other art supplies while they learn about ocean animals, waves and marine life. Pair these crafts and activities with informative lesson plans to teach students all they need to know about this important part of our planet.
Recycle old water bottles and create a personal aquarium. First, remove any paper and residual glue from the bottle. Then, fill half the bottle with rubbing alcohol. Put three drops of blue food coloring into the bottle, drop a few plastic sea animals into the bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with mineral oil. Put the top back onto the bottle and seal it with glue or water-resistant tape. Hold the bottle horizontally and rock it back and forth gently to create waves.
Paper Mache Octopus
Create a paper mâché octopus to hang up for display. Create simple glue by mixing ½ cup of flour with ½ cup of water until the mixture is thin and runny. Stir that into 2 cups of boiling water, simmer for three minutes and then cool. Cut an entire newspaper into 1-inch-wide strips. Blow up and tie a round balloon and then use that balloon as the base for your octopus. Rip newspaper into strips. Dip each strip of newspaper into the glue, wipe off the excess and then wrap it around the balloon. Repeat, covering the entire top of the balloon with at least two to three layers. Allow the newspaper to dry overnight, letting it dry completely before popping the balloon and separating it from the paper mâché skin. Paint the ball green and allow it to dry, then glue on googly eyes. Attach eight octopus legs by cutting eight strips of the same size from crepe paper streamers and then gluing them onto the bottom of the ball.
A worksheet activity is ideal to help students recognize ocean animals you are currently studying. Print several different ocean animals on a sheet of paper with lines underneath each. Students should be able to write (and spell correctly) the names of each animal. To modify, put a list of the animals directly on the sheet or the board to help the students. Word finds and crossword puzzles are also entertaining ways to learn about the ocean.
Create an ocean diorama as a water and ocean craft for your fourth-graders. Allow kids to work individually on this project or in small groups. Start with a shoe box, which will be the stage containing the ocean scene. Paint or use blue construction paper to decorate the inside and outside of the box. Then use small plastic ocean animals (whales, sharks, fish, stingrays) and plastic ocean plants (seaweed, etc.) to decorate the interior. Ocean animals can be hung at different levels with a few cleverly hidden strings.
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