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February 24, 2013

MFW Kindergarten – Oo is for Octopus

This week we studied:
Unit 9 of MFW

Printables pictured are from MFW  unless otherwise mentioned.

Octopuses and Ocean Animals

Words to Remember:
Even the octopus praises the Lord.

You can read about our curriculum choice and organization HERE.

I found great information for kids about octopuses at National Geographic Kids, including a video of an octopus squirting a bird with water which my boys JZ (5) and J-Bug (3) requested to watch again and again while laughing hysterically.

We had the privilege of attending STEM day at Legoland.  One of the workshops available for kindergartners to attend was all about Octopuses.  The timing couldn't have been better!  After the workshop we were able to walk over to Sea Life Aquarium and see an octopus up close.

JZ (5) sorted sea creatures from this Under the Sea! pack.  He matched ocean animals and paired them off.  We counted the pairs by twos and practiced skip counting.  We compared and contrasted the different types of sharks.

JZ’s favorite activity from the Octopus unit was the black ink experiment.  We learned that Octopuses protect themselves by shooting black ink into the water when a predator approaches.  The black ink allows them to remain unseen and swim away quickly.  You can read more details at ehow.

I set up a vase of water, a container of water with black tempura paint mixed in and an eye dropper.  The black tempura paint could be substituted with black food coloring, but we didn't have any. 

I put an octopus from our sea creatures in the bottom of the vase.  We took a moment to discuss how we could easily see the octopus in the clear water.

JZ used the eye dropper to slowly add the black paint and water mixture to the vase.  Water transfer with an eyedropper is an excellent exercise for fine motor development.

As he added more black water it was harder to see the octopus.  Upon JZ's request we emptied the vase and repeated this experiment.

All About Reading is going well for JZ.  His reading is becoming more fluid.  All About Reading comes with word cards that are introduced in each unit.  These cards are stored in a small box with dividers.  The cards are divided up into words for future lessons, words to practice and words mastered.  At the beginning of each unit we review any words to review before moving on to a new lesson.  These words are not sight words, and it is not necessary to have the words memorized before moving the to the words mastered divider.  The object is to be able to red fluently without struggling.

All About Reading teaches sight words that cannot be sounded out phonetically.  These words are called Rule Breakers.  JZ gets kick out of seeing the sheriff holding up a flag that says "Rule Breaker" when he gets to a sight word.  He is a very logical thinker and likes a reason for everything.  He wants to know the rules of phonics, and the flag holding sheriff really helped him grasp the concept that some words just simple can't be sounded out by traditional phonics.

Octopus and ocean animal books we love:

As part of our Oo Octopus unit about ocean animals, we read the book Swimmy and did a couple of crafts throughout the unit to go along with the story. The first craft was a simple paper plate craft. I cut a triangle out of each of the paper plates to glue to the body like a tail.  We used snow paint to paint our fish.

To make our snow paint I mixed glue, shaving cream and liquid water colors. You could also use food coloring, tempura paint, or powered paint. I chose liquid watercolors simple because of the color scheme. The illustrations in Swimmy are full of gorgeous, pastel reefs and ocean life. 

Using foam brushes JZ (5), J-Bug (3) and I painted our paper plate fish. Then we added googly eyes.  We rarely do a craft that doesn't include googly eyes.  We left the fish out to dry overnight before gluing the tail to the body.

Then I mixed up a batch of Snow Paint. I first saw snow paint on Tot School Tumblr. In Lieu of Preschool also has several ideas for using snow paint which you can read about in her Homemade 3D Puffy Paint and Project Ideas post. Growing a Jeweled Rose came up with a recipe for GLOWING Puffy Paint. You know how we love to make things GLOW! We will be mixing up a batch of GLOWING snow paint soon.


Other simple paper plate crafts we’ve done:
For the second craft we dyed canneroni, or small tube, pasta. To dye pasta mix dry pasta, food coloring and a few drops of distilled white vinegar. We put all the ingredients in a Ziploc baggies and shakes. It’s more fun for the kid if they get to shake their own! JZ shook his bag like crazy until all the pasta was red. 


We also needed a few pieces of pasta to be black. I didn't have black food coloring, so I used black tempura paint. The paint worked great but required more drying time than the food coloring.

After mixing the pasta we set it out to dry.  I do my best to plan a day ahead when dyeing pasta or rice.  To speed up drying time make sure the pasta is in a single layer and consider leaving it out in the sun.

I cut fish shapes out of white cardstock and gave the boys glue and dyed pasta to decorate their fish as they saw fit.  Swimmy is a little black fish in a school of little red fish who are afraid to swim in the open water for fear of predators.  Swimmy comes up with a plan to swim together to form one giant fish.  He swam in place of the eye of the fish.  For our craft we glued one black piece of pasta for the eye to represent Swimmy, and then each of us used red pasta to decorate our own fish as we saw fit.

We made a simple octopus snack using a banana, half a peach and a grape cut in half for the eyes.

JZ and I played letter sound Bingo using pom pom magnets.

JZ made a paper octopus by tracing four fingers from each hand to make eight legs.

More kindergarten ideas:
For more ideas for hands on learning follow me on Pinterest.

Other fun ocean themed activities we have done:


  1. What absolutely amazing learning opportunities you provided there. Some brilliant ideas. Thank you so very kindly for sharing them.
    Shall pin.

  2. Great collection of activities around Octopus. Love the books you picked. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library Link Up.

  3. That snack really looks like an Octopus! I love the paper plate fish that you made! Looks like a lot of learning is taking place. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  4. Wow wow wow!! So many activities for one little letter! Love them all (the ink idea is great!) and your fish are so cute.

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty.


  5. What fun! JDaniel would love to watch the octopus disappear.


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