Tot School This Week: Tide Pools and Ocean Zones

I wrote a post about my plans to reinstate Tot School (which, with Damien four, is more Preschool-y than ever) for the summer, but I wanted to wait to post that until I was done with my first mini unit. I have way too many photos of this week for one post, though, so I decided to just do a post of cute pictures from the week. 🙂

Day 1: Here Damien and Rowen are doing table work (Damien is sorting animals who live on land versus water, and Rowen is apparently drawing “a hideout”) and playing with some sensory sand I accidentally made (it was supposed to be bakeable but I messed up, so the kids just played with it.)

The boys made these adorable crab hats from kits from Michael’s. Although the final outcome was super cute, punching out all those little pieces for them took SO DANG LONG.


Our snack was sand dollar cookies, and even though I was lazy and bought premade dough, they turned out really cute and delicious. (I ate one or five.)


Day 2: I didn’t get a picture of them actually doing it, but today for table work we tried a Do-A-Dot page. Rowen is at the perfect level for it and it was obviously too easy for Damien, but he still had fun. (Our printer was running out of ink while I printed these, so Damien color coded his dots to the orange and pink halves of his sea star…lol.) I love dot paint pens and I love that my kids love them too.


Our craft was these paper plate ‘fish bowls’. Damien really got into it and overcrowded his fishbowl; Rowen enjoyed the painting part but when he found out he had to glue precious FOOD onto his paper, he was NOT PLEASED (note the grumpface!) Thus, his fishbowl only contained three fish….all of which were put there by Mom. (He ate the rest!)

We also made a tidepool as a science experiment, and it went sooo well. Damien built the tidepool with rocks and sand and added the animals/shells, then Dan added water little by little to simulate the tide coming in. After we were done with the learning part, Damien and Rowen had a great time tearing it apart and covering the back porch with sand. (I think there is still some semblance of a tidepool in their water table… I should probably clean that up at some point.)

Day 3: We were all kind of grumpy so I didn’t get many (okay, ANY) pictures. I did have Dan take a picture of our craft, because the kiddos were playing with it and I was afraid it would be squashed:


Day 4: I was supposed to work today but all my jobs got cancelled this week (it’s the last week of school for a lot of places, so I guess there were a lot of rescheduled meetings.) It will be tough when my next paycheck is tiny, but it’s been nice to start summer a little early. Anyway, I didn’t have anything too creative planned for today, but I did pull out the ocean sensory bin I made earlier this week and the kids LOVED it. (Too much… there were marbles everywhere. Luckily Rowen is the least mouthy one year old ever so it’s not so much choking I’m worried about, but slipping/back-breaking.) We also made door hangers (again from kits, from Michael’s) and only one of them will actually hang on a door…oops.

Day 5: Here are the boys doing table work today – matching pictures and arranging whales from biggest to smallest (Rowen only had four whales to match; Damien had seven.)

Our snack was submarine Twinkies, and they were a big hit, even though Dan was making fun of me for putting this much effort into a snack:


We also tried to make a model of the ocean zones in a jar. I say ‘tried’ because we could NOT get the top layer (rubbing alcohol) to sit on top of the next layer (vegetable oil) despite putting it on very gently with a medicine dropper. (Have you ever tried to move 3/4ths a cup of liquid in a medicine dropper? IT IS ANNOYING.) Instead, the rubbing alcohol moved down to the next layer (water) and made a more gradual layer, so there are still technically the correct number of layers but they’re less distinct. Oh, well.

Day 6: (normally these will only be five days, but because of my unexpected day off it stretched to an extra day) We did lots of do-a-dots this morning. I was able to find some more complex do-a-dot pages for Damien, although he still asked for something “harder!” (You can see he complicated his do-a-dot maze by adding the different colors for whales afterward, lol.) We also played with Play Doh on mats that I made – I saw the idea on the internet but the printable cost money, so I made my own with Googled clip art. Damien’s double sided mat had a pirate that needed an eyepatch and a chest that needed treasure, and Rowen’s double sided mat had fish that needed bubbles and a whale that needed a spout. Damien also decided to feed the whale ‘krill’ (ripped up gold doubloons from his treasure chest!)

Our snack and craft were both pretty easy today – for the craft, I cut out a paper plate in the (rough) shape of a sea horse and had the boys paint it. Our snack was apple and cheese ships, and it was a huge hit with my kiddos – we literally went through three apples and nearly a whole block of cheese. They wanted boats for every meal! The best part is, they are super easy to make. 🙂


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