Day Camp at Home Week 6: Under the Sea

Welcome to the sixth week of Active for Life Day Camp at Home! Every week until Aug. 24, we’ll provide you with activities, crafts, and book recommendations for you and your kids to do at home. Here you’ll find a variety of games and activity ideas, using little to no equipment and materials, that will keep your children active, engaged, and having fun!

Welcome to Week 6: Under the Sea

This week, we’re sharing games, activities and resources that will take your child on a deep-sea adventure. You may not have an ocean close by, but with a little creativity and imagination you can have lots of fun discovering Under the Sea. 

If you’re going to a beach this summer, check out these fun and active games for kids to play on the beach

You decide how you want to use these activities: pick one thing to do each day of the week, plan a full day of fun, or just scan through for inspiration and do what sounds fun to you!

Other weeks

Week 1: Animal Planet

Week 2: Music Makers

Week 3: Exploration

Week 4: Olympic Games

Week 5: Going Green

Week 7: Splish, Splash

Week 8: Where the Wild Things Are

Here’s what we’ve got for this week:

  • Independent play: Practice your throwing skills to feed a hungry shark, and take a walk on the seaside.
  • Arts & crafts: Make your own ocean in a bottle, along with cereal starfish!
  • Active family fun: Go on a family fishing trip and try to capture a crab.
  • Quiet time: Learn more about sea creatures with our book suggestions for all ages. 

Independent play

Free play, which is unscheduled and unsupervised play, is critical for children’s development. Find out why free play is the best summer school and get some parent-tested tips to help young children spend more time in independent play.

Activity: Hungry Shark

Check out these great tips for learning how to throw

What you’ll need:

  • A laundry basket or large box (to be the hungry shark’s mouth)
  • Several balls and/or stuffed animals (to be the fish to feed to the hungry shark)
  • Small container to hold balls and stuffed animals

How to play:

  1. Set up the laundry basket or large box in a play space and ask your child to pretend it’s a hungry shark’s mouth. 
  2. Put all balls and/or stuffed animals into a smaller container. 
  3. Ask your child to throw or dump the small container of balls or stuffed animals so they’re scattered all around.
  4. Explain to your child that they have to quickly feed the hungry shark by picking up each item and throwing it into the hungry shark’s mouth.

Add more ways to move:

  • Use a small children’s pool and have your child retrieve items from the pool floor to put into a bucket (hungry shark’s mouth).
  • Hide the balls or stuffed animals around your house or backyard for your child to find before throwing into the hungry shark’s mouth.

Make it easier:

  • Use a larger item for the hungry shark’s mouth.
  • Walk and drop the item into the hungry shark’s mouth instead of throwing it in.

Increase the challenge:

  • Increase distance between the hungry shark’s mouth and the throwing spot.
  • Encourage underhand and overhand throwing.
  • Increase the number of items to throw.
  • If they throw and miss the shark’s mouth, they have to do an active challenge (i.e. five star jumps).

Activity: Seaside Sidewalk

What you’ll need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Sidewalk or concrete playing area

How to play:

  1. Set up an obstacle course using sidewalk chalk that your child can complete. For example:
    • Draw circles for sea turtles and ask your child to jump on the turtle backs.
    • Draw waves that your child must jump over or pretend to surf on.
    • Draw stars for starfish that your child must bend down and touch with their hand.
    • Draw squiggly lines for jellyfish that they must go around.
    • Draw a trail of fish and ask your child to hop from fish to fish.
  1. Give your child the opportunity to design their own seaside sidewalk art and obstacle course. For some inspiration, check out KIDDO’s Jumping Obstacle course.

Add more ways to move:

  • Ask friends in the neighbourhood to design their own seaside sidewalk so your child can try them out on a walk around the block.

Make it easier:

  • Try one pattern each day of the week that your child can play with and practice.
  • Draw larger symbols that are closer together.

Increase the challenge:

  • Draw smaller symbols and increase distance between symbols. 
  • Ask your child to complete the course as quickly as possible.
  • Ask your child to do the course backwards (from finish to start).

Activity: Under the Sea Search and Find

What you’ll need:

How to play:

  1. Hide one set of cards around your house so that each card is hidden in its own spot. 
  2. Give your child the second set of cards and ask them to walk around your house looking for each sea animal’s matching card. 
  3. When they find a match, make up a movement for the sea animal on the card (i.e. starfish = star jump, crab = crab walk, otter = lie on your back)
  4. The activity is over when they’ve found all sea animal matches.
  5. Ask your child to show you the movements they did for each sea animal.

Add more movement:

  • While you’re hiding the cards, or after the activity, put on an ocean-themed song for your child to dance to.

Make it easier:

  • Instead of hiding the cards, lay out all cards and have your child flip them over to find matches.
  • Instead of making up a movement after finding a match, ask your child to do a silly dance or cheer.

Increase the challenge:

  • Set a time limit to complete the activity.
  • Increase the difficulty of the movement or number of repetitions after each match is made (i.e. balance on one foot with eyes closed, five star jumps, etc.)
  • Use a larger playing area to hide cards.

Arts & crafts

The following activities are super easy and fun to do with your child. 

Craft: Ocean in a Bottle    

What you’ll need:

  • A large, clear plastic bottle (i.e. two-litre pop bottle or mouthwash bottle)
  • Water
  • Cooking oil (canola or vegetable oil)
  • Blue food colouring

Instructions:

  1. Fill approximately 1/3 of the bottle with water.
  2. Add several drops of food colouring.
  3. Shake the bottle to mix the food colouring.
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with oil (liquid should come to the top of the bottle).
  5. Tip the bottle upside down and watch your ocean come to life!

Craft: Cereal Starfish

What you’ll need:

  • Paper (cardstock or construction paper is best)
  • Scissors
  • Glue 
  • Cereal (similar to Cheerios or Rice Krispies)

Instructions:

  1. Cut out a starfish shape from the paper.
  2. Apply glue all over one side of the starfish.
  3. Stick cereal on the glue side of the starfish (can use whole cereal pieces or crush cereal into tiny pieces to resemble sand texture). 
  4. Let dry for a few minutes.

Make it easier:

  • Use larger cereal pieces to stick on starfish, so it’s easier for children to handle.
  • Glue a few cereal pieces on each of the star points instead of covering the entire surface.
  • Use stickers and markers instead of cereal to decorate your starfish.

Increase the challenge:

  • Have your child draw and cut out the starfish shape.
  • Use smaller cereal pieces to stick on starfish (crushed cereal).
  • Make a family of starfish that are all different sizes.

Active family fun

Looking for some fun family activities? Try out these ocean-themed activities that your whole family will love. 

Activity: Safe Island

What you’ll need: 

  • Materials to make “safe islands” (i.e. cushions, pillows, or sheets of paper). You will need one for each player.
  • Device to play music.

How to play:  

  1. Spread the safe islands across the playing area. 
  2. Select an adult or older child to be in charge of starting and stopping music for each round. 
  3. While music is playing, players will move around pretending to surf in the ocean.
  4.  When the music stops, the person in charge of the music will shout, “Storm is coming! Get to a safe island!”
  5. Players must jump to a safe island and ensure they do not touch the ocean (floor). 
  6. If any part of a player’s body touches the ocean (floor), do an active challenge to get back in the game (i.e. 10 jumping jacks, 5 frog jumps, 5 spins)
  7. Start the game again with a new variation and different person in charge of the music.

Try these variations on the theme: a shark is coming to get the fish, pirates are coming to get the mermaids, fishing boat is coming to get the crabs…  

Add more movement:

  • Change up the type of movement for each round (i.e. crawling, gliding, lunging, etc.)
  • Change up the pace of movement for each round (i.e. slow song versus fast song).

Make it easier:

  • Use larger materials for the safe islands so there’s more room to land.
  • Make the playing area smaller.
  • Give players three chances to touch the ocean (floor) before they do an active challenge.

Increase the challenge:

  • Use smaller materials for the safe islands so more balance is required.
  • Make the playing area bigger and the distance between safe islands larger.
  • Players must complete an active challenge while standing on their safe islands (i.e. balance on one foot, squat and jump)

Activity: Family Fishing Trip

Check out these great tips for learning how to balance

What you’ll need: 

  • Several sheets of paper (regular or construction paper)
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons

How to play:  

  1. Cut out several fish shapes from paper (have at least three times as many fish as players).
  2. Write one action on each fish (i.e. pretend you’re swimming, do five starfish jumps, wiggle like an eel, pretend you’re surfing, dive like a dolphin, snap like a shark)
  3. Scatter the fish around the playing space with the action face-down.
  4. Each player takes a turn going fishing. They walk up to a fish they want to catch, balance on one foot, and lean forward to pick up the fish. 
  5. Each player reads their action out loud and all players must complete it together. 
  6. Repeat until all fish have been caught. 

Add more movement:

  • All players can be moving around the fish while turns are being taken.
  • Instead of walking up to a fish you want to catch, try different movements (i.e. crawling, gliding, spinning, etc.)

Make it easier:

  • In order to “catch” your fish, squat down, grab the fish, and jump up into the air.
  • Use fewer fish and a smaller playing area.
  • Have another player show the group how to do the movement first.

Increase the challenge:

  • Incorporate “wild” fish where the player who catches it makes up their own action.
  • Catch two fish and do both actions at once.
  • Switch up which leg you’re balancing on when catching your fish
  • Make your own fishing rod with a magnetic end to catch and pick up the fish (put a paperclip on each of the fish).

Activity: Capture the Crab

This is a simplified variation of Capture the Flag!

What you’ll need: 

  • Two red objects to represent the crabs (i.e. red cups, red toys, red shirts)
  • Preferably a large outdoor space or playground (although you can play in your own backyard or home)

How to play:  

  1. Divide your family into two teams. This variation can be played with a minimum of two people, but the more people the better!
  2. Decide the boundaries of the playing area and assign each team their own territory (half of the playing area). 
  3. Each team will choose a spot within their territory to place their crab. It must be visible and cannot be moved. 
  4. There will be a “safety zone” about six feet around the crab where the crab’s team cannot enter unless the other team enters first.  
  5. Each team must cross into the other team’s territory to try to capture their crab, while also guarding their own crab. 
  6. If you are caught (tagged) by the other team in their territory, you have to go back to your territory and start over (and return the other team’s crab if you had it).
  7. After capturing the crab, the team must make it back to their own territory without being caught (tagged) in order to win the game. 

Add more movement:

  • Instead of walking or running, try different movements (skipping, gliding, etc.)
  • If you are caught by the other team, you must complete a challenge (i.e. five jumping jacks, 10 skips, five spins)

Make it easier:

  • Slow down the type and pace of movement (i.e. slow motion steps, heel-to-toe walking)
  • Use a smaller playing area.
  • Change the rules of how to win (i.e. find the other team’s hidden crab, etc.)

Increase the challenge:

  • Use a larger playing area.
  • Set a timer to see how quickly you can complete the game, and try and beat your time on the next round.
  • Change the rules to add new ways to win (i.e. every player on the team must touch the crab in your territory to be successful, etc.)

Quiet time

Here are some recommended reads on our deep sea theme (and links to read-aloud videos on YouTube!)

0-3 years: Hello, World! Ocean Life by Jill McDonald

3-5 years: The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

6-8 years: Clark The Shark by Bruce Hale

9-12 years: The Brilliant Deep by Kate Messner

Bonus activities

We hope you’ve enjoyed participating in our Under the Sea-themed games and activities! Join us next week for some more water fun in our Splish Splash activity plan. Get a sneak peek at what’s ahead in our printable Active for Life Day Camp at Home adventure map. Give it to your child to colour in and see what themes are coming up next! 

We’d love to hear from you and your child! What was your favourite activity? What did you learn this week? Share in the comments below.

Cereal starfish photo courtesy of Jen Smith.

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