Sensory play is a key part of early childhood learning and exploration. We’ve shared many sensory play ideas in the past, including a variety of alphabet sensory bins. As we get closer to summer and get ready for our preschool ocean theme, we put together a quick prep ocean theme ABC sensory bin that will allow kids to engage in sensory play while also practicing letter recognition and matching upper and lowercase letters.
Materials for Ocean Theme ABC Sensory Bin
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- Small ocean toys-We used the Safari Ltd Coral Reef Toob
- Sensory bin filler-We chose blue aquarium gravel
- Printable ocean alphabet matching cards (link below)
- Scoops (optional)
Let kids take the lead on exploring with the sensory bin. They will likely begin by removing some of the items and playing with them.
Over time they’ll naturally begin to notice that the cards can be matched. Younger preschoolers might need a little guidance to make this discovery, but soon they’ll be looking for letter matches on their own. Note that there are duplicate creatures and the letters do not correspond with the creatures featured on the card. They are simply a guide to help kids visually verify that they’ve found the correct matching sets.
For kids just beginning to learn the alphabet you may want to use a smaller number of cards to avoid overwhelming them. You could start with the letters in their names or letters they are already familiar with. Then transition the cards out to practice different letters.
More Ways to Use Your Free Ocean ABC Printable Cards
To preserve your cards and get more use out of them I’d recommend laminating them. Then you’ll be able to use them for even more playful learning. Here are a few other ideas you can try:
- See which cards you have matching creatures for. Sort them by those that have matching creatures and those that don’t. Take some time to chat about the different creatures to expand your child’s ocean related vocabulary.
- Do an ocean ABC scavenger hunt. Separate the cards. Keep one set (other the uppercase or the lowercase). Hide the remaining cards and encourage your child to find all of them. Match them as you find them so you can see which ones you still need to find.
- Tuck them in a busy bag to take along with you when you need a quick activity.
Get Your Free Printable ABC Matching Set
SENSORY BIN IDEAS FOR EVERY SEASON
Get a Full Week of Ocean Theme Learning and Play
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
Watch this short video to see just a few examples of the types of activities and printables included in this set:
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) Shark Dice Game (color and black/white)
2) Whale Dice Game (color and black/white)
3) Starfish Sorting and Patterning Cards
4) Ocean Letter Matching Puzzles
5) Ocean Life Number Cards 0 to 35
6) Ocean Family Counting Sets for Numbers 1-10
7) Sea Life Cards (for counting, patterning, and sorting)
8) Ocean Roll and Graph Game
9) Sea Life Word Building Cards
10) Sea Life Syllable Sort Activity