Number recognition and counting skills are important for a preschooler’s developing understanding of math concepts. The best way to encourage math development is to offer a variety of ways to practice. This ocean theme counting activity provides young learners with lots of practice for counting, number recognition and one-to-one correspondence.
These ocean theme counting mats are a FREE printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post for a lot of fun counting!
Ocean Theme Counting Activity for Preschoolers
Whether you’re a true island dweller or you live in a completely land-locked state, learning all about the ocean is still exciting for preschoolers. The creatures, the sand… there’s a new discovery every time.
Have you ever seen a preschooler’s face when they ooh and aah over something they are learning? Their eyes get really big, their eyebrows raise up to their hairline, and they might even giggle with excitement.
It’s the best thing about teaching an ocean preschool theme!
FAQ About Teaching Ocean Life to Preschoolers
An ocean is a large area of water between continents. Oceans are very big and they join smaller seas together. Together, the oceans are like one “ocean”, because all the “oceans” are joined.
Oceans are made of salt water, not fresh water, so it’s important not to drink ocean water. But the salt is good for the animals that live in the oceans. And the animals that live in oceans cannot live anywhere else!
The best ocean preschool theme will include a range of activities. When writing your ocean theme lesson plans, be sure to include ocean alphabet activities, ocean math activities, and lots and lots of ocean sensory bins! You can even include an ocean small world for some pretend play and don’t forget about ocean process art activities, either.
Of course you can teach an ocean theme in preschool during the summer, but it’s also fun to teach an ocean theme during the winter when you’re daydreaming of warmer days. That’s an easy way to get in a little extra pretend play into your preschool lesson plans.
Of all the fun ocean activities for preschoolers that we do in my classroom, I always make sure to have a healthy balance of fun and silly learning activities with engaging math and alphabet activities. This ocean animal roll and cover is just one of many counting activities that I might include in an ocean preschool theme.
These ocean animal mats are a free printable, so be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post.
Free Ocean Roll and Cover Mats Printable Preschool Activity
The main premise of this activity is for preschoolers to roll the die and cover the corresponding number of circles with manipulatives. It’s a great way for preschoolers to learn how to play dice games, practice counting and one-to-one correspondence.
- colorful circle counters
- FREE Ocean Roll and Cover mats
After printing, cut apart the animal mats, but do not laminate. I don’t recommend laminating these counting mats because the plastic from the lamination can make the counters move around and slide, which is frustrating to preschoolers.
I mean, you can, and they will learn to be very careful and patient, but if you’re using transparent counters like I did, I don’t recommend it. However, if you really want to laminate, then you can use any other counting manipulative that comes in rainbow colors. Pom-poms, mini erasers, floral pebbles, game pieces…you choose.
When you’re ready to engage your preschoolers, set the mats out on a table with a container of manipulatives and a die. Now you’re ready to invite your preschooler to choose an animal mat and begin to play.
Ocean Roll and Cover Counting Activity
Here’s how to use these ocean animal math mats.
- Pick an animal mat to use.
- Roll the die and count the number of dots you land on.
- Cover the corresponding number of circles on the mat with manipulatives while counting.
- Continue to play until all the circles on the mat are covered.
It’s pretty simple, but read to the end of the post to see all the other ways these roll and cover mats can be used in your preschool classroom.
Remember, these are a FREE ocean printable, so be sure to download your copy at the end of this post for some fun playful learning!
If you have younger preschoolers, try starting with a 1-3 die. It is easy to make your own. Just grab some foam blocks from the dollar store and use a permanent marker to make dots for the die.
Or you can also use a permanent marker ti write numerals if you want your preschoolers to learn number identification.
You Might Also Like These Counting Activities
You can get a bundle of roll and cover counting activities for the entire year. This bundle includes 16 themes, so you have a simple counting activity to put in your preschool math centers all year long.
How to Challenge Older Preschoolers with this Ocean Counting Activity
If you have older preschoolers, you can offer a regular die with one to six pips on each face.
Another idea is to turn these ocean animal mats into a color matching activity by inviting your preschooler to match the color counters to the circles. Preschoolers love to math colors, and adding a color matching component just adds to the complexity of this activity.
4 More Ways to Use These Ocean Animal Mats
Free printables are awesome when you can use them in more than one way. Here are a few more ideas to teach a range of learning levels:
- For older preschoolers, you can use two dice and have them add the numbers before counting and then cover the circles on the mats with manipulatives.
- For average preschoolers, you can make this printable a game for two or more players. Each player can use their own mat and work to fill the circles. The first player to fill their mat is the winner.
- For younger preschoolers, they can take turns rolling the die and counting out the counters to cover the circles on the mat. Preschool teachers and parents can also offer as much support with counting as needed.
- Use a variety of counting manipulatives. Doing so adds a great fine motor component to the activity.
Get your FREE Ocean Roll and Cover Mats
Think you could use these roll and cover mats in your math center this summer? Just click the image below and grab your copy!
And don’t forget this is just one theme out of sixteen themes in a bundle!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.