Modern Portrait Photography

Fish Monthly Theme

So I’m the type of mom that needs structured activities planned in order to play with my little boys. I don’t last very long playing cars for example. So in order for me to be a better mom and want to play with my boys I decided to have a monthly theme (since I like planning things based around a theme) that I provide different activities based on. I really would want a weekly theme but I knew I better start with a monthly or quarterly theme and see how it goes. I wanted to try to do activities from all the different subjects. My boys are 3 and 10 months so a lot of my ideas are a little advanced for them (really I’m only doing this with my 3 year old). But Beckett still loves doing projects with me even if it doesn’t turn out the way mine does. For those that don’t know my degree is in art education- so we of course have to do lots of art projects. I love to do activities that allow creative thinking versus cookie cutter projects- but with such young kids that is hard to do- so I try to find a good balance. I am a big Pinterest fan- so you can go check out my boards where I have collected many of these ideas and more!

This first project was right up Beckett’s alley! He loved blowing bubbles in the paint with a straw to make a beautiful water background for our fish drawings! My husband, Dan, drew the top two fish pictures. Dan also has a degree in art so I like to make him do some of the projects with us! When I was teaching art- I would get him to make samples for me! Beckett drew his own fish too- but I didn’t attach his pictures- sorry!

Here’s another project we did that Beckett loved. We used oven baked clay and shaped it into a rainbow fish and then stuck sequins in it to make the pretty scales. I wasn’t sure how the sequins would do in the oven- but it seemed to work. They just started to curl a little. After the fish cooled down we colored it. You can use colored pencils, permanent markers or paint. You can also glue a magnet on the back and hang it on your fridge.

There were quite a few fish songs and finger plays we did. We made this clothes pin shark to go with one of Beckett’s favorite songs:  “5 little Fish” (there were a few different songs we did with that title). This one goes:

“Five little fishes swimming in the sea
teasing Mr. Shark
you can’t catch me you can’t catch me!
Well along came Mr. Shark as quiet as can be
SNAPPED that fish right out of the sea…”

We made a couple easy fish origami that Beckett colored and drew designs on. The photo above the origami is one of my favorite art projects: metal tooling of the rainbow fish.

I made a fishing pole and some felt fish Dr.Seuss’ style. You can get the template and instructions on Martha Stewart’s website. Sorry I don’t have all the links this time- but I can get them for you if you want. I didn’t just do just red fish and blue fish- I made fish with all the main colors- a couple of them aren’t shown above. While I was cutting out all the fish I had Beckett practice cutting with scissors. I drew a line on paper for him to follow. I tried teaching him the correct way to hold the scissors. We will keep practicing! I also cut out shapes and glued them on it’s complementary (color) fish. I would also later do numbers and letters on the fish. Then I had Beckett go fishing so a certain color or shape.

We then did a bunch of different learning activities. I found a lot of these templates online as well. We used goldfish to sort, count, and make patterns. I used fish stickers for him to find the matching fish and to organize from smallest to biggest.

We played out in the backyard in the little pool and went fishing with a net! My little one loved eating the fish and splash in the water!

We had all sorts of fish food as well as you can see above. We had some friends over and decorated fish brownies. I tried making a fish aquarium with jello, jellybeans and a Swedish fish and it did as I expected. The candies started to melt (that’s not the right word)- so it didn’t look real good. We also went fishing for goldfish with pretzels or celery fishing poles dipped in peanut butter.

I had a fish themed playdate where the main activity was a water blob which is a folded tarp taped together and filled with water. I put a little blue food coloring and glitter in it and a bunch of little foam fish. However all my efforts were for nothing because apparently I did not get a strong enough tarp- so the kids feet sink right through! They all still had fun splashing and stomping in the water, using it as a slip n’ slide and collecting all the fish! We also had the kids be fishes and catch the gummy worm bait from a string. I was planning on playing the shark in the water game- that is kinda like musical chairs- but we didn’t have time!

For each theme I’d like to do some sort of field trip. So for this one Beckett went fishing! I also wanted to go to the aquarium or the fish hatchery but we didn’t this time.

We love to read so we read a ton fish books! I like to read to Beckett lots of different books for my sanity- but I have read that the kids benefit more if you read the same book at least 5 x in the same week or so.  Plus kids love repetition! Some our favorite  books that we read were:

Dr. Seuss “1 fish 2 fish”

The rainbow fish by Pfister, Marcus. (and a bunch of other rainbow fish books)


Ten little fish
 by Wood, Audrey.

The three little fish and the big bad shark by  Geist, Ken.

Not Norman : a goldfish story by Bennett, Kelly.

And the lastly we were potty training Beckett- so we of course had to use goldfish (crackers) in the toilet bowl to help him practice his aim! I know I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that- but he thought it was a blast! I had a lot of other ideas that we will have to do next time we do this theme. Let me know if you have any great fish ideas or if you want to know more specifics on any of the projects.

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2 responses

  1. Cara

    Ashley, I love this because I am that same type of mom! I have been finding random ideas on pinterest but I like the idea of a theme. You’re a great mom!

    September 18, 2012 at 4:18 am

  2. Shannon

    Wow! Can I (I mean, Tian) be part of your preschool?? 🙂 You’re pretty much holding a preschool for your son with all these coordinated activities! I love it! Way to go!

    September 18, 2012 at 4:42 am

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