Most kids have either seen a fish in real life or seen one in video. Many preschoolers have also had a pet fish at one point. You might even have a pet fish in your classroom! Given that there is a bit of background information already, a preschool fish theme can be a lot of fun to learn about with your kids.
Here are all the resources you need for planning your preschool fish theme activities.
Why It’s Fun
Fish are very common in most areas. Kids might see them at a local pond, an aquarium or zoo. They might even see them in a pet store when they have a chance to visit. This often piques their curiosity.
Kids also like to observe fish. Often for a very low cost (or for free if you head to a local pet store) kids can get very close to and learn about fish up close as part of the theme. This concrete exploration makes it more meaningful for kids.
If you’re ready, you might even consider adding a pet fish to your home or classroom for continued learning.
When to Teach a Fish Theme
A fish theme can be taught any time of year. It can be a separate theme, or you can combine it with another focus. You might integrate it into your living things unit study, a pond unit, or an ocean unit.
Personally I like to teach a fish theme between our pond theme and our ocean theme. It gives us an opportunity to talk about fish living in different ecosystems and how freshwater fish differ from saltwater fish.
As you approach the end of the school year a fish theme can also be a fun way to lead into summer, or it can be a theme you explore during the summer if you teach year round.
Teaching Tips & Major Concepts Kids Will Learn
If you’re planning a preschool fish theme there are so many possibilities for incorporating many early learning skills.
These are just some of the concepts kids can learn about fish:
- where fish live
- what fish need to survive
- how to care for fish
- body parts of a fish
- how humans and fish breathe differently
- how freshwater fish differ from saltwater fish
- how fish move
- how to catch a fish (fishing)
- how fish taste
You can also use small fish manipulatives for many learning activities to teach math and literacy concepts.
Items to Collect and Request in Advance
If you get parents, friends, and family involved you can enrich the experience kids have during your preschool fish theme.
Collect or ask people to help you collect:
- fish (bring one or more into class for kids to observe)
- fishing tools for pretend play (toy fishing rod, tackle box, plastic worms, pretend fish, etc)
- fishing magazines
- grocery store ads with seafood and fresh fish pages
- fresh fish cooked for kids to try (with parent permission)
You might even invite special guests (or go visit if you can) to come and share about fields and hobbies related to fish. You could include:
- a fisherman (hobby or professional)
- an aquarium caretaker
- a marine biologist
Printable Lesson Plans
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.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) 1-15 Fish and Fish Bowl Counting Mats
2) Uppercase Letter Fish Cards
3) Lowercase Letter Bubble Cards
4) 0-31 Fish Number Cards
5) Fish Patterning and Sorting Cards
6) Fish Roll and Graph Math Game
7) Word Segmenting Fish
8) Shape Fish
9) Fish Word Building Mats
10) Fish Size Ordering and Sorting Cards
Get Your Lesson Plans
Individual Activity Ideas on Fantastic Fun and Learning
Here on Fantastic Fun and Learning we’ve shared the following ideas to go along with a preschool fish theme.
More Activities from Creative Educators
We’ve also gathered many over 40 fish theme activity ideas. You’ll find sensory play ideas, art activities, crafts, and learning activities too.
Looking for something crafty? Check out our favorite fish craft ideas.
Informational YouTube Videos
Here’s a quick look at fish and a great introduction to fish vocabulary.
Take a closer look at a coral reef.
Learn specifically about clown fish.
If you’re little ones love the 5 Little Monkeys, they’ll enjoy singing along with the 5 Little Fishies in the Sea.
Have kids “swim” around and pretend to be a fish as they listen to I Wish I was a Fish.
Practice counting along with this song.
Other Online Resources
Finger plays and action rhymes are a great addition to your preschool themes. Here are a few terrific options to go along with a fish theme.
Little Fish Song (with free printable) from No Time for Flash Cards is perfect for circle time.
“Catch a Fish” and “Fishy Pokey” are two of our favorites from this collection of fish songs.
If you’d like to supplement your hands-on learning with some online games you might try:
There are many great books to read for your fish theme. We’ve provided a brief summary about each of our favorite fish theme books for preschool.
Other Props and Teaching Tools
Affiliate links included.
Reinforce learning with these hands-on materials and games to go along with your fish theme.
Encourage pretend play in your small word and play dough invitations.
Roll and Color Math Game from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Going Fishing Math Game from Buggy and Buddy
Fish Theme Number Sense from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Fishing for Rhyming Words from This Reading Mama
One Fish Two Fish Cootie Catcher by The Country Chic Cottage
Possible Field Trips or Adventures
You probably have quite a few options for learning more about fish in your area! If possible set up fish tank for kids to observe and care for. And if you are able to you might also:
- visit a local aquarium, lake or pond
- visit your local pet store’s fish area
- visit a marina (plan ahead and see if there is someone on site who can teach you about marinas and fishing)
- invite a marine biologist or someone from your local fish and wildlife department to come and chat about fish that are common in your area
As you wrap up your fish theme take note of what the kids were most interested in throughout the theme. Continue on by investigating one of those concepts more in depth. Below are some possible suggestions. Themes we have printable lesson plans for include links after them.
- Ocean-Lesson plans available for home preschool and preschool classrooms
- Pond-Lesson plans available for home preschool and preschool classrooms
- Coral Reef
- Another specific animal the kids were interested in