One of these past weeks we began our introduction to the Ocean. There is so much to learn about the ocean, we can’t just spend one week on it. Eventually we are going to take bits and pieces of the ocean and learn about it. This week we did a general introduction to the ocean and a focus on one specific ocean creature, the octopus!
Did you know?? *Octopuses have intense camouflage, they can not only change to a multitude of colors, they can change the look of their texture.
*Mother octopuses care intensely for their babies while they are still eggs, but die soon after they are born.
*They are extremely intelligent, more research is being conducted to find out just how intelligent they are.
*They haven’t any bones, so they can squeeze into tight places, many of their homes are small gaps under rocks.
*They ‘decorate’ their homes, by making fences and are very territorial.
*The snug also just reminded me that octopuses have beaks. Parrot like beaks that can be found under their head, on the bottom part.
*Oh, they have eight legs too, but I am sure everyone knew that already.
Beyond all those neat things, they are just plan awesome and we are big fans!
Nico’s Octopus by Caroline Pitcher- A cute story about a boy who has an octopus for a pet. He lives in a sea village above a restaurant that serves octopus daily. He discovers the intelligence of the octopus and eventually loses her as she has her young. He accepts her changes and sets all her children free. We really liked this story. It illustrates a lot of really cool unknown things about octopuses and their lifestyles.
Octopus Oyster Hermit Crab Snail A poem of the sea by Sara Anderson- I love it when I can introduce poetry or a different style of writing within a theme. This was pretty simple, a couple words per page. The illustrations are very neat. It would be a great story for using word identification also.
Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward- This book is not only about octopuses, but a variety of ocean creatures. Set up as a counting book with action verbs as the main focus. It has the mama ocean creatures teaching her babies one of the main habits of their life, octopus=squirting, clown fish= hiding in coral/anemone, etc. We enjoyed it.
Octopus Den by Smithsonian Institution- (All of my books usually come from the library, except for this one, I found in the used book section of my local book store. The same week of our theme. I was very excited!) The story follows an octopus’ day as he leaves his den to find food and spots a piece of glass that would make a good addition to his fence. However, when he reaches his den he finds that another bigger octopus has become the occupant and he has to find a new home. It is very interesting and the illustrations are beautiful and scientifically accurate.
The Four Oceans by Wil Mara- This Rookie read-about company does a great job of simplifying big subjects. The ocean story was easy to follow and educational.
Oceans by Kay Jackson- This was a more in depth look at oceans and what goes into-comes out of them.
Oceans Alive Octopuses by Ann Herriges—-> These books were great! A little advanced for us
Smart Animals Octopuses by Michele Spirn—-> we had to skip a couple of parts. It did a great job explaining the lifestyles and habits of octopuses and all the reasearch that is going on with octopuses.
Eyewitness Ocean- We love the eyewitness series. I am sure I have mentioned it before. My daughter has been watching them since she was first allowed to watch tv. Her favorite is the one about volcanos, but this one was great also. The eyewitness books are very indepth for the subjects they cover, it is amazing how much information they can get into a half hour program! These movies are perfect, just the right amount of information given in a reasonable amount of time. Enough praising though, the ocean program covers all the basic information about oceans, but also shows a more historical view of oceans as well. Talking about how people of the world use and view the ocean.
Bill Nye the science guy Ocean Life- I used to watch Bill Nye when I was a kid, so I was super excited when I saw this on the library shelf. It is great for the elementary and middle school ages. My daughter was a little lost on it, but it was very well done and informative. It covered the basics of ocean life with a huge focus on plankton. The two types of plankton; photoplankton and zooplankton are the basis for all ocean life. The video has many different views of this and explains it thoroughly.
We did three different crafts for this week. First an overall ocean craft.
We made our own ocean habitat or an aquarium.
Here is the craft.
You will need; 2 paper plates, clear wrap, sicssors. tape, glue, construction paper, string and markers.
First take one of the paper plates and cut out the center, this will be your viewing area. We used double stick tape to put the clear wrap on, it was easier. Set aside.
Next we drew fish on some paper and snug cut them out. We did the same for seaweed. (p.s. we absolutely love strawberry shortcake. The snug likes all versions, I myself only prefer the cropped hair version on her shirt.)(p.p.s. please excuse my ghost pajama pants).
Then we glued the seaweed down on the second paper plate. Along with any other oceans creatures Aime thought of. We did do starfish and some shells, but only took a lot of pictures of the seaweeding.
Then you string up the fish. We taped the back of the fish and the top rim of the plate. This way it looks like the fish are swimming when held upright. Once taped and secure.
Put the second paper plate on top and tape the sides together. Ta-Da you did it! You can move the plate around and see the fish swimming. You could even make more specific habitats, like clown fish swimming in and out of their sea aneome houses.
The next craft we did involved paper plates again! This time we made paper plate octopuses.
For this craft you will need 2-3 paper plates and fasteners…. it took me forever to figure out the name of them, here is a picture. (They are usually found in the scrapbooking aisles or the paper goods aisles, of where ever you are.)
To fasten a fastener you push them through the papers you would like to fasten together, the circle part shows on the visible side, the pointy part on the back. Flip the papers over and separate the two spokes, like you would a manilla envelope. It is secure but moveable, which is what we needed for this project.
To do the project, take one of the paper plates and cut out an octopus head and a couple of his legs. Then grab the other paper plate(s) and draw more legs along the sides for your kiddo to cut out.
Look at her go!! Hooray!!! Do this until you have eight. Then grab the fasteners and
attach them where you see fit! After your octopus has all eight of his legs, (this is a good time to mention the name origins of the octopus, octo=8 just like in octagon)
Add a face and you have a happy dancing octopus!!!
This week was just full of fun, fast and easy crafts. This was great, especially since I had no idea what awaited me the next week. Oh crystal week and everything that went wrong. In the meantime…
Our last craft was a yarn octopus. I have seen this featured in a couple of magazines and I fell in love, snug fell in love too. So we just had to try it out!
For this one you will need, yarn (leftover or new), a 2 inch or 1 1/2 inch foam ball and scissors.
(The foam ball size varies depending on the size of head you want your octopus to have and the type of yarn you are using. Thinner yarn=smaller ball, thicker yarn=bigger ball).
There we are! I finely got a picture of all of our ‘ingredients.’ Learn from my mistake moment! 1. I used smaller balls, because I was already at hobby lobby and knew I had yarn but no foam balls. I didn’t think it would matter. It does. My mom has been sending me a ton of her leftover yarn and most of it is very wavy and thick. The foam ball tends to pop out of the head, but for mine the yarn is so thick that after the ‘neck’ is tied there is no use for the foam ball. However, if you would like a very fancy one, like in the magazine, you will need thinner yarn, almost like fingering yarn and a whole skein of it. Call me mean, but I am not going to use a whole skein of yarn on an octopus. That and skein sizes vary so much, you should do a little over what you think is enough.
Since we did not use a whole skein of yarn, we had to get creative in trying to make it like a skein. We made two octopuses a blue one and a pink one. We wrapped the yarn over and over the legs of a tv-tray and then for a larger one we wrapped around a tri-fold display poster that we use for puppet shows. After you are done pull the yarn gently off of where ever you wrapped it and tie a string around the very center of all the yarn.
Then once you have done that, cut the sides of the yarn, so they are not loops. You will need them to be strands to braid.
This next part is important, take all that thread and put it on your kiddos head!
Next take the foam ball and put it on the center yarn line and wrap all the yarn around it and tie the bottom to form a neck.
Like so. Separate the bottom strands into eight different chunks and start braiding.