Science Programs for Children Ages 4 and 5



  • To introduce children to salt water.
  • To introduce children to fish.
  • To introduce children to sand.
  • To introduce children to other sea life.

Books : (In kit)

  • Little Clam by Lynn Reiser
  • Across The Big Blue Sea by Jakki Wood
  • World Water Watch by Michelle Koch (pb) 

Equipment : (In kit)

  • Finger puppets:
    • 2 hammerhead sharks (blue)
    • 2 crabs (reddish)
    • 2 seahorses (gold)
    • 2 stingrays (blue/silver)
    • 2 sea turtles (green/gold)
    • 2 octopus (pink)
    • 2 jellyfish (white/purple)
  • 4 heat changing sea cards
  • 1 rubber Porcupine fish (yellow/white)
  • 1 sealed (please leave it closed) package of 5 cutaway shells
  • 1 sealed (please leave it closed) package with seahorse
  • 1 pressed foam puzzle with colorful fish
  • 1 starfish glued to styrofoam
  • 3 clear Ziploc containers (which may be opened and shells handled) with assorted shells including a sea cucumber.
    These were all carefully soaked in a mild bleach solution and air dried before packing.
  • 1 bag assorted large clam shells (also bleached and dried)
  • 1 bag assorted shells and fishnetting
  • 1 box assorted plastic sea animals
  • 1 tape and song book Slugs at Sea by Banana Slug String Band
  • 1 learn to draw stencil kit

Bookmarks : (In kit)

  • Paper copies of the bookmark are included in the kit. PDF and JPEG copies are available here.
    • PDF – 4 bookmarks per page. Ready to print in color.
    • JPG – single high quality jpeg image.


  • Objectives
    • To introduce children to salt water.
    • To introduce children to fish.
    • To introduce children to sand.
    • To introduce children to other sea life.
  • Introduction
    • Have you ever gone to the ocean? What about it is different than your bath water or swimming pool?
    • What lives in the ocean?
    • Is the sand near the ocean different than what you have in your backyard? Than what is in your sandbox? (Yes, since the purchased sand is sterilized and does not taste salty.)
    • What is different about what lives by the sea/ocean rather than what is in your backyard?
  • Program
    • Depending on the age and ability of your students, this can be mostly a hands on touching and observing program.
    • Try matching skills–use some of the games for matching similar types of sea life, sorting the sea animals by color, type or whether in the water or near the water, etc.
    • Listen to the tape and learn songs about sea life.
    • Look at and touch the shells. Feel the different texture. Listen to the spiral ones to hear the ocean. Use a magnifying glass to inspect them more closely.
    • Include some of the facts listed below which might be of interest.
    • Make a sample of salt water with approximately 1/8 tsp. of table salt to 1 cup of water to allow children to taste it. Remember it doesn’t have to be exact since the ocean salinity varies from beach to beach.
    • Have the children move like sea or sand life–see some movement suggestions below.
      • Tail from side to side for most fish
      • Tail up and down for whales
      • Scallop opens and closes shell quickly to move
      • Squid takes in water and forces it out to jet forward or backward
      • Jellyfish opens its body up like and umbrella and then rapidly closes it to jet upward
      • Porcupine fish looks like other fish when relaxed, but when feeling in danger it swallows water or air and inflates to two to three times its normal size. Its spines then swivel outward to further frighten enemies. After danger passes, it slowly deflates and swims on its way
  • Definitions and explanations
    • Sand – finely crushed rocks
    • Ocean – body of water that covers nearly 70% of the world and contains 97% of all the water on the earth. It is 3.5% salt. Saltier in warmer subtropical regions with greater evaporation of the fresh part of the water. Least salty around the equator where there is a greater rainfall to neutralize the salt.
    • Salt – comes chiefly from the wearing away of rocks on land. Yes, people can and do eat the salt from the ocean. Helps an object float in water.
    • Barnacles – small animals with very hard shells
    • Seaweed – plants that live in the ocean (Otters wrap themselves in kelp to keep them afloat when they are sleeping or resting. They also keep their fur clean to have it airy and light to help keep them from sinking.)
    • Tide – the rising and falling of the water near the shore caused by the pull of the moon’s gravity on the earth.
    • Waves – most are caused by the wind
    • Fish – true fish have backbones, fins and gills
    • Invertebrates – animals without backbones such as jellyfish, sea star and shellfish (snails, crabs, scallops, mussels)
    • Mammals – warm blooded, give birth to live young and feed their babies with milk–these include whales, seals, walruses and dolphins
    • Human blood, tears, urine and other liquids are the same salt content as the ocean.
  • General
    • Some children will not want to touch any of the shells or objects having a presumed fear of them. After further discussion and exploration they may come around independently.
    • Remind children that shells and some of the other objects can be sharp and also fragile.
    • If facility allows it, you may want to make a salt water solution to put in a bowl or other container and submerge some of the shells or plastic sea animals in the water to see if they look or feel different to the children.
    • Have children put a hand in a salt water solution and also in a tap water solution. After removing and air drying, see if they notice anything different. (May be able to see the dried salt on hand, may feel sticky, may taste different when licked…)


Please print this evaluation, complete it and return to MVLS in the SWS red envelope.

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