It is important for children to develop respect for people, animals, and our environment. One of the ways to do this is to have children imagine the life of an animal. And what better way to do this than through dramatic play? Celebrate the life of Women in Science by appreciating famous oceanographer, Sylvia Earle. Learn more about her by signing up for our free weekly activities!
To begin this dramatic understanding of The Life of a Fish, place children in different parts of the room. Read the following to them:
You live in a sparking blue world. That’s because you are a fish. Everyone put a bubble in their mouth and flap your elbows in and out to swim like a fish. Fish keep their eyes open underwater. So look around. Remember, fish are quiet. As you look around, think about what a fish sees. Does your fish see another fish? Does your fish see lots of underwater plants? Does your fish see the bottom of a boat above?
Sometimes fish swim together in groups. These are called schools. Let’s all get close together and swim towards (name a place in the room). Can you feel the gentle water as you glide along in it? Remember, fish are silent, so just think about what you feel. (If children begin to bump into one another, remind them that fish try not to do this. Once children get together into a school, give them different places to swim as a school.)
Now fish, let’s look down at the ocean floor. You see plants growing. You can hide in these plants and nibble them – that means taking small bites. Fish may nibble small particles off of plants. Every fish should swim to an underwater plant. Nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble. (Give children time to do this this.)
Oh fish, look above you! Do you see the dark shape? It is the bottom of a boat. You are a little afraid. Hide in the underwater plants! (Let children do this. Then tell the children they are finished being fish and they should return to their seats in chairs or on the carpet.)
The follow-up to a dramatic experience can help children understand more about the topic. You can ask what new words they learned. Some may say nibble or glide. This increases vocabulary. Ask what they learned about fish habits. They may talk about swimming in schools or hiding in plants. This helps them learn more about science. Then show children a plastic grocery bag. Ask them how a fish might feel if this is in the water. Use this chance to talk about the dangers of pollution.
Dramatic experiences like this help children learn important content-related lessons – not to mention, they give preschoolers practice in listening and following directions!
You can print the fish below. Children can color it, cut it out, and use it to tell a story about life as a fish.
NAEYC – 2.C.04, 2.D.01, 2.D.06, 2.G.06, 2.G.08, 2.J.01
Head Start – I.C., III.B., III.D., IV.C., V.B., VIII.A., XI.B.