Number recognition and counting skills are important for a preschooler’s developing understanding of math concepts. When doing an under the sea theme, we love offering a variety of ocean math activities for preschoolers! What’s great is that most kids absolutely love doing ocean animal activities! Can you blame them?
The best way to develop math skills is to offer your preschoolers many ways to practice. This ocean theme counting activity provides lots of counting, number recognition and one-to-one correspondence practice.
These ocean theme counting mats are a FREE printable. Be sure to grab your copy at the end of this post for a lot of counting fun!
Ocean Theme Counting Activity for Preschoolers
Whether you live near the beach or not, learning all about the ocean is exciting for preschoolers. The sea animals, the waves, 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. You will certainly witness this excitement when you teach ocean activities!
It’s the best thing about teaching an ocean preschool theme!
FAQ About Teaching Ocean Life to Preschoolers
Read, explore, and play! Begin by asking the children what questions they have about the ocean or something that they want to learn more about. Devote time to learning about aquatic animals, and their special characteristics. Help children identify what they might see at the ocean shore such as sea shells, seaweed, or sand.
Consider introducing an ocean sensory bin for children to interact, play, and learn with. Play dough is also a fun hands-on learning activity for an ocean or beach theme, too.
Preschoolers should be able to: recognize and identify different kinds of common ocean animals, share a few details about various ocean creatures, recognize that some animals are large predators (sharks and killer whales) while others are bottom feeders, compare animals that live in the ocean/those that don’t, and understand that the ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen.
It’s also important that we teach our young children to keep the ocean trash-free and support efforts to recycle and reuse.
Help preschoolers understand that the ocean needs our help. Keep plastic out of the ocean by using reusable drinking and lunch containers. Participate in an ocean/body of water cleanup. Invite the preschoolers to brainstorm ways that they can help the ocean and ocean animals for our future.
We do a lot of fun ocean activities for preschoolers in my classroom. I always make sure to have a healthy balance of fun and silly learning activities. This ocean animal roll and cover is just one of many counting activities that I might include in an ocean 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 basic premise of this activity is that preschoolers roll a 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. It also happens to be one of my favorite ocean counting activities for preschool!
- 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. This can be frustrating to preschoolers. I definitely don’t recommend it if you use transparent counters like I did.
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.
Simply set the mats out on a table with a container of manipulatives and a die. Now you’re ready to invite your preschoolers 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 really quite simple! Continue reading to see all the other ways these roll and cover mats can be used in your preschool classroom.
Remember, these are a FREE counting printable! 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 to write numerals if you want your preschoolers to learn number identification.
You Might Also Like These Counting Activities
Summer Math Bundle$35.00
You can get a bundle of roll and cover counting activities for the entire year. This bundle includes 16 themes, so you have a 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. Simply invite your preschooler to match the color counters to the circles. Preschoolers love to match colors!
Adding a color-matching component just adds to the complexity of this activity. And, it is a lot of fun!
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. 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 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 skills 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!
Roll your way into some major counting fun with your preschoolers! Watch as your preschoolers improve their counting skills in a fun, fishy way!
These roll and cover mats are one of many hands-on activities that make learning to count fun and engaging. Before you know it, your kiddos might just be trying to count every fish in the sea!
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.