As a new ESL teacher, everything can seem overwhelming at first and finding sea animal games and ideas to engage your students can be challenging. But, never be stuck again with these 3 exciting sea animals games to ignite your ocean animals lesson plans.
After reading about these 3 exciting sea animals games to ignite your ocean animals lesson plans, use the Mooncake English lesson planner to help structure your lesson plans in a fun and engaging way. Click here to download your free lesson planner (and many other freebies): no tricks or gimmicks, just one ESL teacher helping out another.
Why teach ocean animals?
Children learn faster when they are genuinely interested in a topic. A great ESL topic for kids is teaching sea animals because for many of your young ESL learners, seeing your ocean animal flashcards is the first time they are introduced to the world under the sea. These strange creatures are fascinating to your young ESL learners, and you can have lots of fun teaching children about them.
But why teach about ocean animals? Well, our little ones must understand the ocean and the creatures that live within it, as sea animals play an essential part in balancing various ecosystems. Not only that, but many ocean animals are eaten by billions of humans (and other creatures) across the globe. Children need to learn where food comes from and how to sustain and protect our environment.
What to teach?
You can use sea animal flashcards to teach a variety of sea creatures. But you shouldn't limit your teaching to the ocean animal names. You can expand this topic and teach lots of new material for all levels of English. You can review adjectives such as colors and shapes, introduce new verbs to describe movements, or you can talk about habitats and food chains. Think about your students, their English level and what might be best appropriate to teach them.
I love teaching this topic because the class gets so excited whenever I bring out my ocean animal flashcards! But even though it's a fun topic, it's still essential to plan and structure your class using some fun sea animals activities for preschoolers. I've been teaching English for ten years, and when I first started, I struggled to think of fun activities for this topic. I thought that my students would learn if I just showed a few ocean flashcards. Boy, was I wrong! I quickly realized I needed to use TPR and chants when introducing vocabulary and fun activities and games to get students to use the new language in a relatable context. So if you're teaching sea animals to your young ESL learners, try these three exciting sea animals games!
1. Go Fish!
One way to help your students learn new language points faster is to create activities that put new language into a relatable context. For ocean animals, a fun real-life context might be to become fishers! We can do this in our classrooms with little to no props.
What you will need
You can keep this activity simple if you have limited resources, but you can add extra materials to make it even more fun if you have them available.
Printable ocean flashcards x 2 sets
A small magnet
A short stick
A big paddling pool or tub (optional)
A fishers hat (optional)
To prepare for this activity, print and laminate your ocean animal flashcards and place a paperclip on the top of each one. Next, tie one end of the string to the short stick like a fishing pole and glue or tie the small magnet to the other end. You should now be able to pick up the sea animal flashcards using the magnetic fishing pole.
You can lay some blue paper down on the floor or use a paddling pool to represent the ocean to make things even more fun. You can even place your flashcards in a small amount of water to feel like real fishing (though make sure you laminate your flashcards first)!
How to Play
To get started, we need first to introduce our sea animal flashcards to the class so we can teach the new vocabulary.
Place one set of flashcards in your bucket or on your blue paper representing the ocean.
Next, sing the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 warm-up song with the kids using TPR as you do.
Next, shuffle the teacher's set of sea animal flashcards and again, sing the beginning of the song
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5 once I caught a fish alive"
Show a flashcard to the class and ask them which sea animal it is.
Choose one student who has been singing along and ask them to come to the front. Explain that they are going to be a fisher.
Give that student the fishing pole and ask them to fish out one of the sea animal flashcards from the 'ocean'.
Show the flashcard that the student 'caught' to the class and ask them which sea animal it is.
Ask if it matches the first flashcard. If it does, celebrate together and take both flashcards out of the game. If it doesn't match, 'throw' the sea animal flashcard back into the 'ocean' and try again.
Repeat this process until you have caught all the sea animal flashcards.
This fishing game is not only lots of fun, but it provides lots of opportunities to teach extra language points. For example, you might have the class chant 'catch the fish' as one student tries to fish out a flashcard. You can have the student at the front say "I'm a fisher" and the class say "you're a fisher" for each player.
I caught a fish.
I didn't catch a fish.
It's the same/different.
Let's go fishing!
2. Rainbow Fish!
Stories are a fantastic tool to teach a new language, and children love listening to stories. One of my favourite stories to read when teaching ocean animals is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
There is a beautiful fish called the Rainbow Fish in this story who doesn't want to share its beautiful scales with anyone else. After meeting an Octopus, he decides to share just one, after which he discovers the joy of giving. Read this story with your children and ask them to create their own beautiful sea creatures after.
What you will need
The Rainbow Fish storybook
Ocean animal flashcards
Ocean animal coloring worksheets
A variety of art materials such as glitter, glue, paint, and buttons
To prepare for this activity, print and laminate your ocean animal flashcards. In addition, print out a variety of the ocean animal coloring worksheets so that students can choose which ocean animal they like.
Start by introducing the sea animal flashcards using chants and TPR.
Explain to the class that you will read them the story 'The Rainbow Fish' and that they need to be on the lookout for any of these sea creatures in the book.
Read the Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
Talk about the story and ask the class their favourite sea animal.
Hand out the sea animal color flashcards to students based on the animals they like.
Provide various materials for children to use and decorate their sea animals. Try not to limit materials to paint and crayons.
Have students cut out their sea animals and place them together for a wall display.
Because this activity has an art element, there is an opportunity to add many different language points such as gluing and sticking, painting, and coloring. Think about your students, their level and what additional language you can teach them.
Another fantastic storybook for this topic that helps to teach some new adjectives is Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway.
3. What's This Guessing Game?
What's missing is an excellent game for those teaching online or using PowerPoint as part of their ESL lesson.
What you will need
What is it? Sea animal games Powerpoint
Slippery Fish song for kids
Open the Mooncake English Ocean animal PowerPoint and make sure that everything is working and visible for your class.
Introduce the sea animals using the sea animal PowerPoint presentation. Introduce Jimmy the diver, and ask the class to dive with him and see what creatures he discovers.
Introduce the sea animal vocabulary using chants and TPR
After introducing the new vocabulary, play the 'What's this?' guessing game using the ocean animal PPT.
Finish the class by singing the slippery fish song.
While playing this game, encourage students to describe what they see and why they think the picture might be a particular sea animal. Think about your students and the different language points you can add to the activity.
I hope these 3 exciting sea animals games help to ignite your ocean animals lesson plans and bring some fun to your ESL classroom. If you are looking for some more ESL topics to teach, check out this blog, where I share 10 of the best English topics for students learning ESL.
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