Fine motor play is essential in the early childhood classroom. Toddlers and preschoolers should be provided engaging ways to play while simultaneously strengthening their fine motor skills. Our ocean theme sensory and fine motor invitation to play is the perfect way to motivate children to work on their hand eye coordination as they explore!
Disclosure: Amazon links are included below.
This great fine motor activity is inspired by Fun at Home with Kids’ Magic Foaming Treasure Stars. We added bonus fine motor practice by asking our kids to use our squeeze bottles!
Ocean Fine Motor Play Set Up
You will need:
- baking soda
- liquid watercolors or food coloring
- ocean animal molds (or any molds to fit your theme)
- squeeze bottles
- dish soap
You can find the directions for making the mixture that goes into the molds over at Fun at Home for Kids.
You’ll have to play a bit quickly since the frozen dough in the molds will begin to soften.
We took the activity outside but you could play indoors on a protected table, in a sink, or water table.
The end result of colorful foam is so beautiful! Kids can’t help but reach their hands in to explore so you might want to add spoons and bowls for further exploration!
Fine motor skills are required any time children are using their hands and wrists. In this activity children are working on their fine motor skills when they:
- Help mix up the baking soda mixture used in the molds.
- Shake up the bottles of vinegar and dish soap.
- Squeeze the bottles to create the fun foaming action.
- Reach into the foam to grasp and manipulate the ocean creatures.
BIO: Devany LeDrew is a former kindergarten teacher who writes at Still Playing School where she shares play based learning activities. She specializes in fine motor activities and has co-authored the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas! Follow Still Playing School on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!
More Ocean Ideas
1. Ocean Play Dough Surprise Game (Pre-K Pages) – Combine play dough with ocean creatures to give your little ones a fun surprise! You can even add an alphabet twist for children who are ready. This hands-on activity is an awesome way to get children excited to learn about the ocean, and I found that my own children wanted to do it over and over again.
2. Ocean Sensory Bin (Pre-K Pages) – Learning and sensory play is a wonderful combination. After many days of rain in our part of the world we took advantage of a lovely sunny day and did an ocean sensory bin.
3. Ocean Picture Books for Preschoolers (Pre-K Pages) – These books will not only help develop critical vocabulary about the ocean and ocean life, but also include many opportunities for literacy, math, and science.
4. Ocean Theme Snack: Sea Turtles (Pre-K Pages) – Sea turtles are amazing creatures to learn about during an ocean theme. Here is a simple (and healthy) recipe for a bread and fruit sea turtle snack that you can assemble with your kids at home or in the classroom.
5. Ocean Theme Counting Activity (Pre-K Pages) – The best preschool activities allow children to be interactive and hands on while they explore new concepts. We’ve developed a fun, easy to prepare ocean theme counting activity to do just that.