Friday Favorite: {At the Bottom of the Sea}


It’s another “Minnesota’s closed” day due to the wonderful new batch of snow dumped on us last night. Because I can’t share one of my new favorite activities with my ECSE classroom this morning, I’m going to share it with you! Enjoy your day inside, and hopefully this intervention will inspire you to daydream of warmer oceans 🙂

This activity is adapted from the song “At the Bottom of the Sea” by Ralph’s World. Here is a link for the song. You will need a large blue scarf (the texture is a great sensory item) and several beanie ocean animals. I use a jellyfish (open to interpretation as an octopus as well), crab, colorful fish etc. and put them in a small cloth bag to “hide”.

Begin by moving the scarf up and down with large, slow movements and sing…

At the bottom of the sea

Where the mermaids murmur

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

At the bottom of the sea

Where the crabs walk backwards

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

Choose a child to ask, “Who’s at the bottom of the sea”? Depending on the group, you can give them hints to guess the animal, or just pull each one out and have them identify it. Have the child throw the animal into the sea, aka the scarf.

Using small, fast, up and down movements sing….

And we’re gonna swim, swima, swim, swim, swima, swim, swim, swim

At the bottom of the sea

This is a great activity to address a variety of goals such as gross motor, animal identification, palmar grasping, and self-regulation. What animals can you find at the bottom of the sea?


Friday Favorites: {Let’s Go Fishing!}


Today’s Friday favorite is an activity that I adapted from my former (awesome) internship supervisor Julia Lundquist. Almost every child that I work with adores this game, and it addresses fine motor, gross motor, academic, social, and regulation skills!

For this game, you will need enough fish for everyone to have two, plus one extra. Here are the fish that I use. I laminated mine since they happen to also be a favorite chew toy! Depending on the goal area, you can either write a number on each fish, or color them each a different color. To “magnetize” them, attach a small paperclip over the mouth of the fish, or cut small strips of magnet (from craft stores) and paste them to the back. For the fishing pole, I used a refrigerator magnet and taped it to some yarn and attached it to a rhythm stick. You can also just tie a magnet to a string and use any kind of stick from the great outdoors.

After you lay out all of the fish in a pond, choose someone to fish first and hand them the pole. Begin tapping your knees and chanting:

“Let’s go fishing, fishing in the sea,

And what kind of fish with _____ (name of child holding the pole) catch for me?”

The person to the right of the fisherman will say “Please pick the ____ fish.” After catching the correct fish and giving it to the person asking, the turn is over and the pole is passed to the next child.

The academic skills addressed in this activity are color or number identification, but you can also adapt it using sight words, math problems, etc.

Happy Friday and happy fishing!



Music & Movement Monday: Prepositions

elf prepositions

Image via

We address a lot of academic goals during music therapy with children. One academic goal is to learn preposition words or directional concepts (e.g. in front of, behind, over).

Since I had these cute felt fish (blogged here) , I wanted to write a song about the fish swimming around in different ways. My internship supervisor at the time suggested that the kids use one hand in a fist as a rock. During the song, the fish swim around, over, rest on top, or hide under the rock.

A gross motor therapeutic music intervention that fits nicely with this song is to sing “The Fish went Over the Water” to the tune of the bear went over the mountain with a big blue scarf or sheet. The children move in a circle while walking over the water, under the water (MT holds the scarf up high), around, and into.

The lead sheet below has the first verse with under the rock. For subsequent verses just sing these phrases instead…

2) swim over the rock 3) rest on the rock 4) swim around the rock

For older children I have also had the fish swim through the rock by having them create a space in their fist or hold the fish inside their hands.

We hope you can use these ideas and adapt to fit your client’s needs!

Link to All The Fish In The Sea PDF

Friday Favorites: DIY Felt Fish

felt fish

I made these felt fish using a free template from the blog at Purlbee (Fish Templates Here). Initially, I made the felt fish for my son to play with as part of his quiet book. However, he was not very interested in playing with the fish so I ended up stashing them in my visuals folder at work.

The felt fish only take a couple of hours to make (with some tv watching thrown in) and could be made in less time if you just hot glue the pieces on instead of sewing them on with embroidery thread.

I use these fish for many different therapeutic music interventions so the list below is just a snapshot of how you can use these cute, colorful fish.

Gross Motor: Use the fish on top of a big blue scarf while standing to make the fish swim up and down or side to side while singing songs such as “Row, Row, Row”, “Itty Bitty Pool”, or other songs about the ocean.

Fine Motor: Encourage pincer grasp by showing children how to pinch the fish, one in each hand. Use a song that directs children to move the fish up high, down low, side to side, and have the fish even kiss each other. This type of therapeutic music intervention encourages bilateral motion, meeting at midline, and crossing midline.

Counting with 1:1 Correspondence: Glue the fish onto popsicle sticks and use during counting songs.

Color Identification: Use songs that give an opportunity for children to identify the color(s) of their fish expressively or receptively (e.g. if you have a blue fish sing “me”).

Directional Concepts/Prepositions: Have children hold the fish in one hand and create a rock with the other hand. The fish can now swim over, under, around, on, and through the rock.

I hope you can use the template to make some fish of your own to use with clients or at home. I would love it if you would share your favorite songs to use with children about fish or the ocean in the comments below. I’ll be sharing an original song that I use with the fish to teach directional concepts in the Monday Music & Movement post next week. Happy weekend!