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Mister Seahorse is an amazing animal dad. He floats through the sea, finding other fish fathers caring for their eggs and babies. Preschoolers will love this story and the special camouflage pages found throughout the book.
Thanks to Tristan Rowlee for preparing and sharing this Mister Seahorse unit study.
Mister Seahorse Unit Study Lessons
Show your child the word seahorse in the title of the book. Point to the S and tell your child that S says “ssss” like sssseahorse. Draw a large letter S on a sheet of paper. Allow your child to color or decorate the letter for you. Tape the paper to a box, basket, or tub. After helping your child say the “ssss” sound take the box through the house searching for things to put in the box that begin with the S sound like seahorse. Once you have gathered a few items lay them out on the floor and say their names with your child, emphasizing the “ssss”.
Before reading the story the first time show your child the cover of the book. Ask if they know what animal is shown. Tell them that this story is about a very special animal called Mr. Seahorse. Then read the story and let your child enjoy the fun acetate pages that hide animals and reach the surprise ending.
Help your child count Mr. Seahorse’s babies on the last page of the book. There are 12. Help your child gather 12 toys and practice counting to 12 again.
Seahorses come in different sizes just like people do. They can be as small as a fly or as big as a robin. Most seahorses are about 4 to 6 inches from the top of their head to the tip of their tail. Draw a seahorse on paper that is somewhere between 4 and 6 inches tall. Cut around the seahorse. Have your child lay on a large piece of paper or poster board and trace around their body. (This can also be done on a sidewalk or driveway with chalk) Measure your child in seahorses! How many seahorses tall is your child?
Go back through the book with your child and take a look at the many fish fathers who are caring for their eggs. Help your child to find the different places each animal carried the eggs. Answers include in a pouch, in their mouth, on their head, even along their belly.
Where do seahorses live? In salt water. Seahorses like to stay in shallow water near the beach. They do not swim far out into the open sea. The best seahorse habitat has lots of things for seahorses to wrap their tails around, and moving water. The moving water helps bring prey (food) close enough for the seahorse to suck it up, like a vacuum cleaner. A seahorse eats zooplankton, very small animals in the ocean, smaller than a mosquito.
Help your child pretend to eat like a seahorse. Give them a straw and some yogurt, water, or other liquid of choice and have them drink away!
Take a look at the acetate pages in the book that help hide animals. Talk about how this ability to hide or blend in with their surroundings is called camouflage. Ask your child why camouflage is important or helpful to the fish. Camouflage helps animals hide from predators so they don’t become lunch! Using plastic transparencies or page protectors and markers draw two or three different scenes on the plastic. Have one with seaweed, one with coral, one with rocks, etc. Have child take make a few fish and seahorses on paper with different colors and patterns. Try to hide the animals by laying the plastic scenes over them.
Go back through the book with your child and talk about how God created everything, from the plants to the animals to the people. God made the seahorses and all the animals throughout the book. Talk with your child about how everything reminds us of God’s love for us, especially the beautiful animals He created for us to enjoy learning about. You may remind your child that when he reads the story of Mr. Seahorse and the other fish fathers who cared for their babies to remember that God cares for them too–because He is our Father.
Look through the book at the many shapes of fish and sea creatures, including Mister Seahorse. Help them to draw and decorate their very own fish and name it. Will it have any stripes, spots, or camouflage? Is it big or little? If your child is very young feel free to draw several fishy outlines for them to decorate! Cut these fish out and paste on a piece of blue construction paper, or punch a hole in the top of each fish and make a fishy mobile by hanging them on yarn or string from a hanger or rectangular piece of paper with the words “My Fishy Creations”. If you use paper be sure to hole punch places along the bottom of the rectangle to tie each fish’s string. The author, Eric Carle, uses collage to make his pictures. Draw the outline of a seahorse and give your child several pieces of different colored papers. Help them tear pieces off and glue to the seahorse until it is all covered. Then cut out the seahorse and glue to a blue piece of paper. Have the child make some collage seaweed or rocks that cover part of their seahorse so he is hiding in the ocean, if desired.
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More Preschool Ocean Themed Resources
If you are looking for more ocean-themed resources for your preschooler, we have plenty: