Can you imagine how many fish are in the ocean, an aquarium, or any body of water for that matter? Young children are fascinated with fish, so incorporate many of these ideas into your fish lesson plan for preschoolers.
All About Fish
Take time during circle time to discuss the anatomy of a fish.
- Fish live in water, breathe through gills on the sides of its body and have a backbone.
- Gills look like small lines or slits that help fish take in oxygen from the water.
- Fish have fins to help it get from place to place.
- They also have eyes that help them find food and avoid danger, because large fish look to find small fish to eat.
- Hearing is not one of a fish's best senses. Most only hear low-pitched sounds such as croaking; however these sounds are enough to tell a fish whether or not it is in a safe area.
Fish use their senses to find other fish like themselves and travel in groups called schools. This type of travel is also for protection from larger prey.
Fish reproduce by laying eggs. Depending on the species, a fish can lay from a few eggs to over a million. Some fish deposit their eggs on leaves and other areas in the deep, while other fish lay them in air bubbles or inside a pouch in their body.
There are many different kinds of fish, some very pretty and some ugly looking creature-like fish.
Provide an assortment of books to accompany your fish lesson plan. For preschoolers, viewing pictures of the different species of fish will be great fun! Here are a few suggested titles:
My Visit to the Aquarium by Aliki [HarperCollins]
If You Were a Fish by S.J. Calder [Silver Press]
The Ocean Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta [Charlesbridge Publishing]
What's It Like to Be a Fish? by Wendy Pfeffer [Collins]
About Fish: A Guide for Children by Cathryn P. Sill [Peachtree Publishers]
Hello, Fish! Visiting the Coral Reef by Sylvia Earle [National Geographic Children's Books]
Provide each child with paper cutouts: a large circle, very small circle, large triangle and smaller triangle. Talk about how you can take these shapes (pre-math skills) and make a fish. Think about placing the large circle as the body, the large triangle as the tail, the small circle for the eye and the smaller triangle as the mouth. After you have practiced the layout, invite the children to glue the pieces onto a sheet of blue construction paper.
Since fish come in many colors, with stripes, and circles on their bodies, encourage the children to glue on collage materials to decorate their fish. Find materials in your art bin such as paper scraps, fabric, sequins, feathers, and Styrofoam pieces. Plan show-and-tell time for the children to share their fish pictures and then display them around the room.
Play Fish Bingo
Playing Bingo is a great way to work on math skills! Prior to playing the game, the teacher cuts out large fish shapes from colorful posterboard. Randomly print about 6 numerals on each fish from 1-10. Give each child a fish board and a handful of fish-shaped crackers to use as markers.
To play the game, call out numbers and have the children place a fish-shaped cracker on the corresponding number. The first child to cover all their numbers shouts out BINGO. Repeat the game as long as there is interest and time permits. Let the children eat their fish crackers after playtime is done.
Creating Edible Fish
At the snack table, provide plates of sliced fruit (oranges, apples, pears, bananas). Place a bowl of berries and raisins, too. Challenge the children to arrange fruit pieces on their own paper plate to create an imaginary fish. Go around the table and ask the children to show the parts of the fish's body give their creation a name. After this discussion, have them "dig in" and enjoy this healthy treat.