When we started speaking about habitats, naturally V was drawn to water. I think we don’t get to see underwater creatures everyday, and that makes them look even more gorgeous. We have been visiting aquariums since forever, and she used to stand and stare at fish for hours on end.
“Why can’t fish live outside water?”
When we go swimming, V, naughty as she is would try to go underwater to see what happens. She realised water enters her nostrils. We read up on the parts of fish and learnt that they have special organs called gills to breathe and fins to swim.
When she was around 15-18 months old, sensory play using water and figurines or water beads(constant supervision required) was our favourite activity.When she was a little older, we started doing simple fishing activities at home- either with a sieve or a magnetic rod. Apart from doubling up as water play on a hot summer day, it is also an insightful lesson into refraction of light. This wooden magnetic fishing toy is my favourite gifting option for young toddlers.
Books and bookish play
These are some of our favourite books on the underwater theme. One important thing she learnt from these, is the diversity present.
She also read the atlas and noticed that some of these fish are present only in particular places. That led us to discuss about water temperatures, possible flora and currents.Watching Finding Nemo has also reconfirmed our suspicions and made us appreciate food chains underwater.
There was a brief phase when she was obsessed with coral reefs and their uses.
Recently, we got a chance to hear about the Olive Ridley turtle hatching that happens on the Chennai beach every Mar-April and needless to say, we are amazed! This also gave us an idea about why marine creatures need to keep moving.
We love incorporating art into our themed study as it doesn’t happen often. At about 15-18 months, V loved using dot stickers and markers when we started pre-literacy skills. Seen here is an activity where she stamped the whale from left to right and colored the background.
We recently, also did thumb print art in this theme. This is such a cool way to engage toddlers and improve creativity. I’m pretty bummed that I’m only discovering it this late.
A few months back, she surprised me by asking, ” Amma, I want to see a humungous whale! How big is it?” And here we are, currently talking about size differences and why there is so much diversity underwater.
On reading a book on dolphins in India, she has learnt that it is her responsibility to take care of creatures who cannot speak for themselves.
I would urge all parents to make a visit to the nearest aquarium or fish-tank to see fishes and a beach to observe crabs. There is just so much to learn from the underwater ecosystem.