I make no secret of the fact that we are not a screen-free family, although we were until Frida was around two years old. Her screen time is very much limited, and we do not have a television, but occasionally she will watch a short programme on the laptop. At the moment, the thing she loves to watch is The Octonauts, which we tried on the recommendation of a few friends. We were pretty sceptical at first, as until recently the only things Frida had watched were songs from old films like Mary Poppins, some Beatrix Potter videos, and the Julia Donaldson films; venturing the world of modern children’s shows felt like a step neither of us wanted to take!
However, I am prepared to be led by Frida, and my goodness she loves it. It has led to an almighty burst of interest in all things sea life, an interest I have wholeheartedly embraced! I only recently updated her shelves, but I felt like I needed to meet this interest by providing some opportunities for related work as well as books and conversation.
I decided to make her a simple activity to explore the different zones of the ocean and the animals which live there. I painted, labelled and laminated a piece of paper with the different oceanic zones, then cut out and laminated pictures of sea life for her to place in the right area.
Some of these – perhaps half? – Frida is currently able to do without checking, but the others she can check on the ocean poster we have put up in her work space (you can see it in the last photo I’ve included in this post). It’s a great activity not only for memory work, but to spark discussion about what the different zones of the ocean are like, and how each animal is adapted to their habitat.
I also added a basket of sea animals. Frida can use these alongside books to get a better sense of how these animals really look, and as language objects as she learns the correct names for their body parts such as dorsal fin, gills etc, but also for free play. These are mostly Schleich, but a couple are Papo. I prefer the Schleich quality, but where there is a big price difference or the Schleich is unavailable then Papo is definitely my next choice.
We have also been reading the sea life pages in Animalium and learning about sharks, fish, corals, whales, skates, rays, and much more.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Animalium I thoroughly recommend it, it’s just so beautiful and full of wonderfully detailed information. I have Botanicum on my wish list too…
It’s been great having a basket of animals out so we can compare them to illustrations in the book, too! Some other sea life themed books we have been enjoying include:
- 199 Things Under the Sea
- Big Book of Sea Creatures
- The Blue Whale
- Surprising Sharks
- Big Blue Whale
- The Snail and the Whale
I would love to hear any recommendations you have for other beautiful sea life books; if there are any you love please let me know in the comments!
Finally, despite me thinking that Frida had well and truly grown out of this simple magnetic fishing game, she has shown a renewed interest in it and loves to play with it, so it is back on the shelves for now. Follow the child!
Above you can see to the right a brilliant OU poster which we have spent a lot of time looking at together. If you live in the UK you can order a poster for free here (not sponsored, I just love it and think you should all make the most of this brilliant free resource!). It’s not the most attractive location for it, but Frida can easily see all of it and it’s close to her work shelves, so it it working well for us at the moment. I have also added an algae poster to her shelves for colour and interest.
I am also planning an aquarium trip, and will be showing her more clips of Blue Planet II which is just wonderful for young minds.
PS. I wondered if I should start this blog post honestly, explaining where Frida’s current passion for all things sea life had come from, or skirt around the fact that she has been hooked by The Octonauts. I actually feel quite embarrassed to share that she watches a bit of television; it feels like it is so taboo in Montessori, slow parenting, alternative education circles. But I also feel that it is important to be honest on this blog.I didn’t want to lie by omission. This is our real life, and real life Frida sometimes has screen time. Eloise x