Archives for May 2016

Exploring Oceans and Swimming Creatures

This post is sponsored by Lil Fishys. I was compensated for my time and received the product for the purpose of this post. Opinions are my own. See Disclosure for more.
This year we studied Swimming Creatures and Water Habitats (oceans, rivers, etc.) for Science. Our core was Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (Young Explorer Series), by Apologia. (Each text comes with access to a webpage with additional resources from Apologia, including more notebooking pages.)

But because I don’t love preparing notebooks myself, we also used both student notebooks:


The first notebook works great for older students who are more comfortable with taking notes and writing. The Junior notebook is for younger students (it includes coloring pages) or those who aren’t as comfortable writing.

Then we used other printables and worksheets for the youngest students (this year we have a Kindergarten age child) and to supplement what the older students have.

studying swimming creaturesAs I suspected, this turned out to be one of our favorite Science topics. (Our second daughter has been crazy for manatees since she was two years old.) I let the girls choose the subject from the three Apologia Zoology options. (We finished out our year with a quick unit study on the human body, since the Apologia Junior Explorer books can be stretched to a full year or finished more quickly.)

fun with lil fishys sharksAll through the study of Swimming Creatures the kids are supposed to construct a diorama. The suggestion is to make sea creatures out of clay or other materials. That could be fun (although I am, as a general rule, diorama averse) but my kids had fun creating some pretend animal habitats with a new-to-us toy that would blow any diorama out of the water. (OK, forgive all the water puns. I couldn’t help myself!)

Swimming Fun with Lil Fishys

Here’s the thing: we live in a land-locked state. (OK, technically we have a Great Lake on our border, but we personally don’t live anywhere near it.) Trips to the seashore are few and far between for us.

And we’re not a family that has a desire for an elaborate aquarium or space to keep a lot of pets of any type. Lil Fishys are a great alternative to a “real” aquarium set up.

But opening our box from Lil Fishys was like Christmas. (Our soon-to-be three year old actually squealed, “Is dis my birthday?” If you’d like a chance to be surprised in the mail with some treats from Lil Fishys, see the bottom of this post for a great giveaway!)

These are realistic looking sea creatures: whales, dolphins, fish, etc. Our set included a large fish bowl, suitable for the smaller “pets”. We also had several that were fun in our wading pool, once the weather decided to cooperate. I wanted to share some pictures of how much fun we had with these toys, but in the end, we decided a video captured them a lot better than still photos, so check this out to see a few of our Lil Fishy friends in action:

If you are going to study oceans or swimming creatures, I strongly recommend these adorable toys to embellish your study.

These fish friends are easy to use – you’ll need a small screwdriver and a supply of batteries (we use rechargeable) to bring your finned friends to life. One thing we appreciated: the propellers are surrounded by tiny cages, which helps keep little fingers or other objects safe. (Some of my fellow Lil Fishys fans do warn that you should be careful if you have kids with longer hair, but it wasn’t an issue for us.)

baby studying swimming creaturesLil Fishys would make a great addition to your summer fun. Don’t forget to scroll down for your chance to win some of these fun toys!

And, if you want to make a Swimming Creatures unit study (sneaking in some extra school is like a ninja skill for homeschool moms, right?), here are some more resources we used this year.

Related Resources for Studying Swimming Creatures:

Facts About Ocean Animals from 3 Boys and a Dog.

Jellyfish Animal Study and Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Manatee Animal Study and Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Whales Animal Study and Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Humphrey the Lost Whale study and printables from Homeschool Share.

Shark Animal Study and Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Paintstrip Ocean Depth worksheet from Deceptively Educational.

Amanda Bennett’s Oceans Unit Study lapbook from Homeschool Share. (Note: the unit study for this is not free, but the lapbook is.)

Sea Turtle Unit Study and lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Websites About Swimming Creatures:

Whale Watch (great archive of whale sounds plus other games and pictures)

Sea Turtle Conservancy (lots of fact sheets, projects, coloring sheets, & more)

Movies for Studying Swimming Creatures:

Bill Nye The Science Guy: Ocean Life Classroom Edition(Note: does mention “millions of years”)
Oceanfrom DK is another video. (DK Eyewitness books and DVDs also mention millions of years.)

Eyewitness DVD: Fish

Eyewitness DVD: Shark

Picture Books About Swimming Creatures

The Ocean Alphabet Board Bookby Jerry Pallotta.
in the swimby Douglas Florian.
Into The A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet Book

Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers
Underwater Counting (Even Numbers)

Fish is FishFun for a young reader.

Chapter Books for Young Readers

Magic Tree House #53: Shadow of the Shark


Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #32: Sharks and Other Predators: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #53: Shadow of the Shark

Here Come the Dolphins! by Alice E. Goudey is out of print but our library has a copy and yours might too. It’s not actually divided into chapters but it is too long to be considered a picture book. A great example of a “living book” to teach about marine life.

Chapter Books About Swimming Creatures

The Living Sea.

Activity Books for Studying Swimming Creatures

Sea Animals Coloring Book (Dover Little Activity Books)
Whales and Dolphins Coloring Book (Dover Nature Coloring Book)
Sea Life Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Nature Stained Glass Coloring Book)

Coloring Pages from Lil Fishys.

My children love “how to draw” books and to assist them in adding illustrations to their notebooks I ordered these from our library:
Drawing Sharks, Whales, Dolphins and Seals (How-to-Draw Book). This book is a little more “serious” than the next one.
Drawing Sea Animals With Numbers.

Reference Books

Turtle Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife (Firefly Animal Rescue)

Ready for some Summer Fun with Lil Fishys?

Lil Fishys is giving away a Lil Fishys aquarium and a grab bag of Lil Fishys Toys. They’re choosing three winners!

Want to find out more about Lil Fishys?
You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Don’t miss the Instagram Party Fun going on through 5/27 (more chances to win!)
instagram lil fishys challenge
and the Twitter Party with some more great giveaways on 5/26
summer fun twitter party
What are your favorite resources for learning about Oceans or swimming creatures?
swimming fun study

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