The following tool was created in response to a special request received. (Open group identification-Dolphins) Print and display within your daycare or use the various items in your circle time area.
(Open picture game-Dolphins) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use them to spark a discussion with your group and to ask children questions related to the theme.
Dolphin circle time
Every morning, have fun hiding an item related to the theme within your daycare. When children find it, photograph it and print the picture. Display the pictures on a wall so that children can share their findings with their parents at the end of each day. Wear blue and gray clothing items to greet children in the morning. Name a “dolphin of the day” and grant him privileges.
Illustrated circle time chart
(Open picture game-Dolphins) Print several pictures related to the theme and glue them on a large piece of cardboard. During circle time, use your chart to present the items pertaining to the theme to your group. You can hand each child a dry-erase marker. When a child identifies an item displayed on your chart, let him circle it. This will help younger children visualize what you are talking about.
A treasure hunt to discover the theme
(Open educa-decorate-Dolphins) Print and laminate. Hide the illustrated items throughout your daycare. Encourage children to search for them. Name the items as they find them and invite your group to identify your theme.
(Open thematic poster-Dolphins) Print, laminate, and display all kinds of posters.
(Open educa-decorate-Dolphins) Print, cut out, and laminate. Use the items to decorate the walls of your daycare and set the mood for the theme.
(Open educa-theme-Dolphins) Print and laminate the items that represent the theme. Use them to present the theme to your group (and parents) while decorating your daycare.
(Open stickers-Dolphins) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper. Cut out the items and use the stickers to reward children.
Create a fascinating centerpiece by setting blue and white Christmas tree lights in a clear container.
Use dolphins or other blue and gray items (or pictures) related to the theme to create a mobile. If you prefer, simply press pictures of dolphins on your daycare ceiling, over your changing table.
In big-box stores, you will find large dolphin-shaped inflatable pool toys. Buy one, inflate it, and hang it from the ceiling within your daycare. If you prefer, set it in your reading corner. Children will love to lean against it to look at books.
(Open picture game-Dolphins) Use the pictures to decorate your daycare or to spark a conversation with your group. Print, laminate, and store the pictures in a Ziploc bag or in your thematic bin.
(Open picture game-Dolphins) Print the pictures twice and use them for a traditional memory game.
(Open activity sheets-Dolphins) Print and follow instructions.
(Open writing activities-D like dolphin) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open string activities-Dolphins) Print for each child. Children trace the lines with waxed string pieces (Wikki Stix). Variation: Trace the lines with glue and press string on the glue-covered lines.
Wikki Stix are sold on the educatall online store: https://www.educatout.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=wikki+stix&x=0&y=0.
Provide cookie cutters, stencils, and compasses that children can use to trace a variety of shapes related to the theme. Press the shapes they create on walls, floors, and the ceiling. Display them under tables, in your various workshops, on toys, etc.
Light table for free play
You will need a clear rectangular bin. Insert a string of battery-operated LED lights in your bin and set it upside down on a table or on the floor. Use your bin as a light table for tracing activities.
(Open educa-nuudles-Dolphins) Print for each child. Have children color the sheet. Once they are done, they may use Magic Nuudles to turn the coloring pages into three-dimensional works of art.
Variation: If you do not have Magic Nuudles, ask children to fill the spaces designed for Magic Nuudles with bingo markers or stickers.
To order Magic Nuudles:
Use the flashcards to spark a conversation with your group, in your reading and writing corner, or to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Dolphins) (Open giant word flashcards-Dolphins) Print.
dolphin, ocean, sailor, kiss, ball, to play, fin, dorsal fin, speed, to dive, river, calf
Offer a wide range of classification and sorting challenges. Set the illustrations from the theme’s educa-decorate document on a table. Ask children to pick one, to name the item, and associate it to one of the pre-determined categories (size, color, theme, shape, etc.).
(Open word flashcards-Dolphins) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Have each child pick a flashcard. They can take turns presenting the word they picked to the group. With your group, talk about each item. Ask children questions to encourage them to share what they know about each one.
(Open word flashcards-Dolphins) (Open giant word flashcards-Dolphins) Print several word flashcards and hide them throughout your daycare or yard. Divide your group into two teams. When you give them the signal, children must search for the flashcards for a pre-determined period, for example three minutes. When the time is up, children must be able to “read” their flashcards to earn a point for their team. If they are unable to find the correct word, the other team can earn the point if they succeed.
(Open word flashcards-Dolphins) (Open giant word flashcards-Dolphins) Print two copies of several word flashcards. Hang one copy of each word on an indoor clothesline with colourful clothespins. Arrange the copies in a pile on a table. Let children take turns picking a word and finding the matching word on the clothesline. When they find a match, they can place the flashcard on top of the one that was already hanging on the clothesline. Help younger children manipulate the clothespins if necessary.
Associating words and pictures
(Open giant word flashcards-Dolphins) (Open word flashcards-Dolphins) Print, laminate, and display the word flashcards on a wall or a large piece of cardboard that can be moved around. Name a word and have children identify the corresponding word flashcard.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Game-This is my spot-Dolphins
(Open models-Dolphins) Print two copies of each illustration. Use adhesive paper to stick one copy of each illustration on the table. Place the second copy in a bag. Children take turns picking an illustration to determine where they must sit at the table. You may also use the illustrations to determine children’s naptime spots or their place in the task train.
My dolphin path
(Open models-Dolphins) Print, laminate, and secure the illustrations on the floor of your daycare to create a path leading to the areas frequently visited by children throughout the day. The path can lead to the bathroom, the cloakroom, etc. If you prefer, use the illustrations to delimit various areas.
(Open stretching-Dolphins) Print and laminate. Before naptime (or whenever your group is agitated), invite children to use their body to represent the illustrated dolphin pose. It will help stretch their neck, legs, back, etc. Encourage them to execute the pose very gently.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
(Open large stickers-Dolphins) Print and use the stickers to create games. Collect different sizes of empty metal cans. Decorate them with the stickers. Use the cans to build a pyramid and encourage children to try to make them fall with a frisbee. Give each child three tries.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Dolphins
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Dolphins) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
Roll & color-Dolphins
(Open roll & color-Dolphins) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling a die, counting the dots, and coloring the corresponding part.
Since dolphins sleep with one eye open, invite children to lie on their naptime mattress and open one eye at a time. Encourage them to breathe in deeply before changing eyes. Use this activity to help them imagine they have a blowhole on the top of their head that they can use to breathe like a dolphin. Next, invite children to imagine themselves swimming in the waves, along the ocean floor, among seashells and colorful corals.
Let’s communicate like dolphins
Give each child a small whistle. Explain how dolphins use sounds and whistles to communicate. Have fun inventing your own dolphin language. For example, children could blow their whistle once to say “yes” and clap their hands or snap their tongue to say “no”. Next, have fun asking your group simple questions. They will love using their new dolphin language to respond.
Our giant dolphin
Cut a large dolphin silhouette out of the side of an appliance box. With your group, paint both sides of your dolphin, letting the paint on one side dry before you flip it over. Press a large black button on either side of your dolphin’s head to represent its eyes. Next, hang blue party streamers from the ceiling. If possible, use different shades of blue to add depth to your décor. Children will love moving their dolphin up and down in front of your décor. Photograph each child when they are swimming with your dolphin. Print the pictures and display them.
Let’s feed the dolphins
Set two stuffed dolphins on the floor, a few feet away from your group. Set a hula hoop around each dolphin. Divide your group into two teams and give each team the same number of bean bags. If possible, glue fish shapes on the bean bags ahead of time. Children must toss the bean bags inside their team’s hula hoop to “feed” their dolphin. The team who lands the most “fish” inside their hula hoop wins.
Inflate a balloon for each child. When you give the signal, children must toss the balloon up in the air and then maintain it in the air by tapping it with their nose like a dolphin.
Dolphin obstacle course
In your yard, create a fun obstacle course and have children complete it as they pretend to be dolphins. Hang hula hoops from your play structures and invite children to jump through them. Hang swimming pool noodles horizontally (or simply set them on the ground) and have children jump over them or “swim” under them. You could also hang blue party streamers from a tree or clothesline and invite children to wiggle under them.
Keeping an eye on things
Explain to your group how dolphins always sleep with one eye open. Children will have fun trying to keep only their right eye open, and then only their left eye. Which one is more challenging?
Purchase several dolphin stickers, making sure you have several different sizes. Give each child a piece of blue construction paper. Using markers or poster paint, invite them to draw waves and seaweed to represent an ocean. Next, have children decorate the scene with the stickers.
Help children realize how dolphins dive into the water. Cut dolphin tails out of cardboard and press them on the floor using adhesive tape, leaving a certain distance between them. Invite children to try to jump from one dolphin tail to the next, as if they were diving.
Watch out for the dolphin
Play tag with your group. Give the child who is “it” a blue swimming pool noodle. You can draw eyes on it to represent a dolphin head. The child must tap his peers with the dolphin. Every time he succeeds, the child who was touched must stop and remain perfectly still until another child touches him.
You will need a blue cylinder-shaped balloon for each child. Inflate the balloons and let children use a permanent marker to draw eyes on their balloon. Next, show them how they can round one end to represent a dolphin tail. Invite children to toss their dolphin up in the air and make it “swim” for as long as possible.
Inflate four or five blue balloons. They must never touch the ground. You can challenge children with more difficult instructions. For example, you can ask them to avoid touching the balloons with their hands, to blow on them, etc.
Dolphins, where are you hiding?
Draw small dolphin shapes on colorful Post-it notes. Press them on items throughout your daycare. Children will love finding them as they go about their daily activities.
I can catch a dolphin
Cut dolphins out of cardboard and attach a paperclip to each one. Use a magnetic fishing rod to “catch” the dolphins.
(Open tiny dolphins) Print, laminate, and cut out the dolphins. Hide them throughout your daycare or yard. Children search for the dolphins. Every time a child finds one, he must set it in a fishing net or basket.
(Open bowling-Dolphins) Print and use the stickers to create games. Create a bowling game with small empty plastic bottles. Press a sticker on each bottle and arrange them on a table. Children must roll a tennis ball towards the bowling pins. Give each child three tries.
(Open stickers-Dolphins) Print and use the stickers to create games. Collect empty metal cans, making sure you have different sizes. Decorate them with stickers. Stack the cans to form a pyramid. Have children toss a frisbee towards the pyramid to make the cans fall.
(Open giant dolphin pieces) Print, laminate, and cut out each piece. Children sit on the floor and work together to assemble the pieces. The dolphin can also be assembled on a wall and used to decorate your daycare.
Where are the dolphins hiding?
Hide Fun Foam dolphins throughout your yard and encourage children to search for them. Every time a child finds one, he must run to you and set it in a basket before heading off to search for more. Keep going until all the dolphins have been found.
Print the theme’s word flashcards. Press each word flashcard on a Ziploc bag. Add a small amount of blue hair gel to each bag. Next, add the letters required to write the word that is on each bag to the blue gel. Here, use Fun Foam letters. Seal the bags and let children manipulate them. The goal is for them to slide the letters to reproduce the word shown on the word flashcard. Name the letters and read the words with the children in your group.
(Open dolphin schools) Print for each child. Have them cut out the dolphins that are on the second page and glue the correct number of dolphins in each ocean.
(Open game-Four dolphins) Print, glue the cards on opaque cardboard and cut them out. Arrange all the cards upside down on the floor or table (so you can’t see the illustrations). Children take turns rolling a die. Every time a child rolls a “1”, he can turn a card. If he doesn’t already have this dolphin in front of him, he keeps it and places it in front of him for everyone to see. The first child who has collected all four dolphins wins.
(Open educa-symmetry-Dolphins) Print. Children must color the picture on the right to make it look exactly like the one on the left.
Homemade wooden puzzles
Print several pictures representing dolphins. Color them if necessary. Arrange several Popsicle sticks in a row on a table and glue a picture on top of them. Cut along each stick. Repeat these steps for each picture. Hand children a set of Popsicle sticks and invite them to place them in the correct order to complete the picture.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Explain to your group how dolphins cannot breathe under water. They must come up to the surface to use their blowhole, a hole on the top of their head. Find a few dolphin-shaped bath toys. Use a permanent marker to draw a blowhole on the head of each dolphin. Fill a small bin with water and set the dolphins in it. Encourage children to hold their breath as they push the dolphins below the surface. When they can’t hold their breath any longer, they can raise their dolphin back up to the surface.
(Open mandalas-Dolphins) Print for each child. Children must color their mandala using the colors of their choice.
Turn the lights on and off in a rhythmic fashion. If your group is highly active, use this method to calm children. Have fun stopping their playtime often throughout the day to help them practice self-control and gathering quickly.
Purchase one or two inflatable dolphins (for swimming pools). Inflate them and set them in your reading or relaxation corner. Children will enjoy reading with their new friends.
(Open game-Dolphins) Print and laminate. With your group, color the dolphin and display it on a wall. Invite each child to color and cut out a ball. Blindfold one child at a time and invite them to try to press their ball as close to the tip of the dolphin’s nose as possible.
Gather the dolphins
Set a kiddie pool in one corner of your daycare. You can add water if you wish, but it isn’t necessary. To avoid spills, you could simply add blue balls or crumpled blue paper to represent water. Purchase small inflatable dolphins (dollar store) or plastic dolphins and set them in your pool. Once children have found all the dolphins, let them play with them.
MUSICAL AND RHYTHMIC ACTIVITIES
With your group, watch a few dolphin show videos. Next, select music that everyone likes and have fun inventing a unique choreography. Children will love pretending they are dolphins and performing with you, their trainer. Have them execute a succession of actions such as jumps, spins, salutes, etc., all to the sound of music. They will love presenting their dolphin show for parents at the end of the day.
Sit in a circle with your group. To the sound of music, children pass one or two plastic dolphins around the circle. When the music stops, those who are holding a dolphin keep it. The music starts playing again and the game continues. At the end, determine which child collected the most dolphins.
Cut dolphin shapes out of cardboard. Use dolphin stickers to decorate them and set them on your daycare floor (or in your yard). Play soft music and invite children to move around the daycare, following the rhythm. When the music stops, they must quickly find a dolphin to stand on.
Dolphin obstacle course
Purchase a large quantity of plastic or inflatable dolphins or print, laminate, and cut out dolphin shapes that you can glue on wooden sticks. Use the dolphins to create a thematic obstacle course. Among other things, children can run between the dolphins, jump over them, spin around the dolphins three times, tap their tail, etc.
Glue dolphin shapes on wooden sticks and insert them in the ground in your yard. Invite children to stand on a line, a few feet away. Have them take turns tossing rings, attempting to make them land on a dolphin nose or dorsal fin. If you wish, attribute a certain number of points to each dolphin and tally the results.
The hungry dolphin
Inflate a large dolphin-shaped swimming pool toy with a hole in the center (buoy). Set your dolphin on the ground. (Open variety of fish models) Print, laminate, and cut out the fish. Glue them on frisbees. Children will have fun trying to toss the frisbees in the center of the buoy to “feed” the dolphin.
Draw an eye on either side of an unpeeled banana for each child. Open the tip of each banana somewhat, letting the upper and lower portion of the banana peel hang to represent an open mouth. Let children play with their banana dolphin for a few minutes before eating it. Help them notice how a banana is curved like a dolphin’s back when it jumps out of the water before diving right back under.
Here, you will need blue paper muffin cups. Before inserting them in the cavities of a metal muffin tin, invite children to use scissors to cut waves out of the top of the cups. Fill them with cupcake batter and bake them per the recipe. Set the cupcakes aside to cool. Once they are cool, let children spread blue icing on them. (Open cake decorations-Dolphins) Print a model and encourage children to trace it on blue or gray Fun Foam. Once the dolphin tails are cut out, show children how they can press them in the icing to make it look like a dolphin is diving under water. Enjoy at snack time!
ARTS & CRAFTS
You will need an empty box of tissues for each child. Completely wrap the boxes with light blue paper. Cut an opening on the top of each box (where the tissues are normally pulled out). Cut a second hole under each box. Let children draw waves all over their box to represent an ocean. They can press fish stickers and glue tiny seashells on their box too. (Open models-Dolphins) Print a dolphin silhouette for each child and invite them to trace it on blue or gray Fun Foam. Once their dolphin has been cut out, have them glue it on the tip of a wooden dowel and insert it through the hole under their box so that it is sticking out of the hole on the top. They will have fun making their dolphin jump, swim, and dive by manipulating the wooden stick.
Dolphin mural-Group project
Hang a large piece of blue paper on the wall. With your group, paint a beach and waves. You could also glue plastic plants and tropical flowers here and there. Glue a large yellow circle in one corner to represent the sun. Finally, cut dolphin shapes out of heavy paper and add them to your mural.
You will need blue or gray party balloons. Inflate one balloon per child. (Open balloon crafts-Dolphins) Print the document and cut out the various parts. Have children trace a head, two fins, a dorsal fin and a tail on gray Fun Foam or paper. Next, they cut out the pieces and use double-sided tape to stick the parts on their balloon to turn it into a dolphin.
(Open glasses-Dolphins) Print the model for each child. Invite them to to cut out and color their glasses. Provide adhesive rhinestones that children can press on their frame. They will love wearing their dolphin glasses when you go for a walk in your neighbourhood.
Dolphin drinking straws
Cut dolphin shapes out of blue or gray Fun Foam. Cut a slit in each shape and insert a drinking straw.
My dolphin hat
(Open educa-decorate-Dolphins) Print and cut out. Glue the shapes around a hat or headband.
(Open models-Dolphins) Print the models and use them for various activities and projects throughout the theme.
(Open models-Dolphins) Print for each child. Have children color and decorate the various shapes and assemble them to create a mobile. The items can be hung from a clothing hanger, a perforated plastic container, or a paper plate.
(Open masks-Dolphins) Print and set the masks in the center of the table. Children use arts & crafts materials and markers to decorate a mask. Attach a string on either side of each child’s mask so they can be tied behind their head.
(Open puppets-Dolphins) Print the various models on cardboard. Ask children to cut them out and decorate them with arts & crafts materials. Glue a Popsicle stick behind each one to complete the puppets.
(Open coloring pages theme-Dolphins) Print for each child.
Identical coloring pages-Dolphins
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.
The educatall team