U is for Under the Sea Rescue! This small world play is all about having fun Under the Sea and then thinking about what happens when bits of trash start clogging up the sea creatures’ playground. It’s a terrific activity for introducing environmental issues as well as helping children realise that there’s often something we can do to help.
What’s needed for an under the sea rescue?
- Sand from the sandpit
- Rocks from the garden
- Shells if you have them
- Small plastic sea creatures
- Bits and pieces that can be used for trash:
- A few inches of water
- A plastic container: mine is generally storing things under the bed
- Child-sized forceps, small scoops and teaspoons
Please note: most people do not have a lovely piece of real coral sitting in their bathroom (don’t worry, it didn’t come from a reef). I cut up a green scourer to make ‘coral’ for the other end of the small world that’s super quick and easy… your kids could make their own!
We added the sand first, then decided where to put our special coral before stacking up rocks in 2 corners and shells in another. Since the sea floor is scattered with rocks and shells, we randomly scattered a few more around. We used blu-tac to attach our green seaweed to the container.
Then we added water. We had to end up pouring it gently over the rocks so it didn’t cause a big crater in the middle of the sand bed and also so it didn’t kick up so much sand. When we finished there was a very thin layer of sand floating on top of some of the water which affected visibility, so we used a slotted spoon to skim over the water and collect it.
We then added our animals and went to work!
Small World Play
As small world play this setup was hugely engaging as it was and there was plenty of storytelling going on (why are sharks so popular?)
I would suggest letting the children play for a day or more with the animals enjoying their environment. Then on a following day add the trash and see what they make of it. Provide forceps, tongs, scoops etc so the kids can get active in cleaning out their sea world. They’ll find that some trash is easier to remove than others, and some methods of removal are more effective.
Grab some relevant books from the library or pull them up on your iPad. Google YouTube videos and you’ll find kid-friendly information about pollution and the sea. Encourage your kids to talk about the ocean and how we can help protect it. For eg, we should never flush baby wipes/wet wipes down the toilet because they end up in the sea and can hurt animals if they try to eat them.
Play is an excellent way to approach environmental issues with children. If you’re interested in your early learners helping to create a sustainable environment pop over to this research-based post which is loaded full of great ideas from around the world. Read how an early childhood class in Korea developed an effective ‘save the otter’ campaign for their local river and community!
More small world play!
You can find tons of great ideas for creating small worlds in Still Playing School’s Small Worlds from A-Z series. There’s a new letter for every day this month!
What’s your favourite small world play?
I wish you happy teaching, playing and learning.