Camp Wannalaffalotta: Oceans of Fun!

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Welcome, Campers! Ready to make some waves? This week’s Camp Wannalaffalotta is focused on the Ocean and everything that swims, floats, or lives nearby.

There is a wealth of enrichment activities out there that focus on the ocean and sea creatures. Just do an internet search and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve selected different resources for you to choose from, covering reading resources, crafts, field trips, movies, snacks, and other miscellaneous ideas. You couldn’t possibly do them all in one day. But they give you options, and hopefully, inspiration to make up your own family fun.

I believe that all of life is learning. And summertime is a great time to help your children, big or small, see that learning can be really fun. These activities are selected to inspire excitement about the world around us. If you live near the seashore, then you have lots of opportunity to really engage with the ocean. But, even if you’re landlocked, you don’t have to be limited. We lived in Kansas City for five years and we still enjoyed fun in the water and learned about sea creatures and the ocean from afar.

If you want to talk and learn about the ocean all summer, you could. Or you might just spend a day reading a book, doing a craft, making a fun snack, and watching a movie together. Or you could spend the whole week at the seaside – virtually. Books, videos, and websites are a boon to exploring something without actually being there.

You shouldn’t have to spend much money to “do camp” at home. Remember that the library is your best friend this summer. Enroll your kids in their summer reading program and explore the world of books together. Many of the craft suggestions involve regular household items. If something is out of reach, in terms of budget or availability, there is almost always a reasonable substitute, just think outside the box.

Maybe you won’t do any of these activities, but perhaps they’ll get you thinking about what you would like to do with your children. Either way, I hope you’ll laffa-lotta with your children this summer.

Get Reading!
Make library days a regular part of your summer. We usually choose one day of the week to make Library Day. Sometimes I’ll pack a sack lunch, then we can take our time, not hear rumbling tummies, and not succomb to fast food on the way home. Ask your children’s librarian to point you to the reference books, like A to Zoo. They should have a whole section on books about books. These are directories, organized by age, theme, and author, to help you find books your children might be interested in. Teachers know about these books, but I’m not sure all parents do. This kind of book will help you help your children choose good books.

Picture Books
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Sailor Moo by Lisa Wheeler
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle

Nonfiction Reads
The Magic Schoolbus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole
Otter on His Own: The Story of a Sea Otter by Doe Boyle
Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons
Bill Nye The Science Guy’s Big Blue Ocean by Bill Nye
Sea Monsters by Mary Pope Osborne

Chapter Books
Moby Dick (versions are available at all levels) by Herman Melville
Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea by Cynthia Rylant
Swiss Family Robinson (versions are available at all levels)
Dark Day in the Deep Sea (Magic Treehouse #39)
Eve of the Emperor Penguin (Magic Treehouse #40)

Books for Older Kids
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell (a Newberry Honor Book)
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Hidden Harbor Mystery (Hardy Boys, #14)

Get Crafting!
Your crafts could be as simple as doing a coloring page together or making fish out of playdough. The beauty of it is sitting at the table with your children and talking, laughing, and creating. But, you could also check out one of these activities:
Cockleshell Critters from Family Fun
Ocean Diorama from
Ocean in a Bottle from
multiple Ocean crafts from
Seashell Chime Bracelets from Family Fun

Get Out and About!

  • set up the sprinklers and kiddie pool and let the kids get wet
  • go swimming
  • visit a pet store and learn about tropical fish
  • go to your local aquarium or zoo
  • walk along the beach and visit the tidepools
  • take a boat ride on the ocean or lake
  • go fishing
  • Visit the Sydney Aquarium – in Australia! Take a virtual tour.

Get a Movie On!
Different families have different standards when it comes to movie viewing. If I haven’t personally seen a movie listed, I’ve checked it through the Dove Foundation’s Movie Reviews. But our standards may not be yours. Please use discernment in choosing what your children will watch.

Reading Rainbow: Ocean Life
Finding Nemo
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Little Mermaid
March of the Penguins
Nim’s Island
Happy Feet
The Magic Schoolbus Catches a Wave
Swiss Family Robinson

Get Cooking

Get Thinking (Other resources to help you)
WeeSing Under the Sea
Little Hands Nature Book by Nancy Castaldo
Little Hands Paper Plate Crafts by Laura Check
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
Story Stretchers by Shirley Raines and Robert J Canady
Toddle On Over by Robin Works Davis
Family Fun Crafts

Got another idea for ocean-themed fun? Share it with us!

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  1. Ocean themed knowledge and fun: Our family has a subscription to “Kids Discover” magazine. It has no adds and is very informational while still fun for kids. Each issue tackles a specific theme-some relate to ocean or water and back issues as well as themed sets of issues can be ordered from Some of our libraries also have issues that can be checked out.

  2. Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says:

    No suggestions for you. Seems like you covered it all. Sounds fun and I’d come! LOL.

    Chloe loved the book The Rainbow Fish and she also loves nemo. It’s a special treat for her to watch some days. She really loves fish. I got a fish aquarium lamp from a used shop for very cheap. She has that in her room because with littles – I don’t have time for real fish 🙂

  3. Jennifer says:

    Great post! Woo-hoo– The Camp fun has started. I’m excited to start some summer learning fun with the kids. =)

  4. I’m so excited about this series even with my two who are 10 and 13. We got some books – Old Man and the Sea for my 13 year old and an abridged version of Moby Dick for my 10 year old. We also check out DVDs – Swiss Family Robinson and found Blue Earth dvds about the ocean. We also found a few other books about the ocean, too.

  5. As a former elementary school teacher, I can tell you there is a highly technical term for a program like the on you have outlined: WOWZA!! I cannot wait to get camp started at our house – thank you so much for getting my summer off to a great start.

    Peace (and octo-hotdogs) be with you –

  6. Jeremiah and Stephenie says:

    I love what you’re doing for Camp Wannalaffalotta! I’m definitely challneged in the area of coming up with “fun” stuff for my 5 children and this is perfect! They all look forward to and enjoy what we did last week (ages 10-1). I’ve linked up so you can see what we did. Thank you! You have made my “Life as Mom” much easier!

  7. Stephenie says:

    Sorry! Here’s my link!

  8. Julie Craig says:

    Believe it or not just a few days ago my hubby and I were making plans to be more intentional in our summer calendar. We’re both privileged to have significant time available for our girls ( almost 4 and 6) and we really want to be more purposeful in how we choose to use our time this year. We’ve been reading the 7 habits book and together with your blog and a few other supports, we are really looking forward to summer.. even more than usual! Who’d-a-thunk-it?! Planning is your friend! Thank you so much.. our family is blessed again and again by your gift to communicate what’s on your heart and what really matters.

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