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Rainbow Fish ActivitiesThere's a black & white printable coloring page of a Fish
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Fish Bowl Math
Improve number recognition and develop eye hand co-ordination with this preschool education activity from Denise C.

Materials: Plastic fish (with numerals or sets of dots printed on them). Fairly large clean plastic bowl or container, some small clean fish nets. (You can get them for real cheap at some dollar stores if you look hard).

Description: Place the fish in the bowl or container. The children can use the nets 
to 'catch' the fish and state what number is represented on them. This can be 
introduced in a small group setting but made available during free play.
Depending on the age of the children, the numbers on the fish could be larger or 
include the numeral. You can also incorporate diversity by including a variety 
of fish (types, sizes, colors). 

Introduce the activity by having someone bring in some fish for the group to see 
and talk about. You could even visit a local pet store. On a sunny day, put some 
goldfish in a wadding pool and let the children watch them swim around. Be aware
of safety and of what you plan to do with the fish (class pet?). 

Read The Rainbow Fish or have some silly fun by reading
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. 

Comments: Have some fishy fun by introducing the children to some real fish and 
taking some pictures to display in your room.

Bulletin Board: Rainbow Fish
Young children participate in the creation of this bulletin board by Rennea G. which can be used for several themes.

Materials: Butcher paper, paint, construction paper, stapler, scissors, sponge, 
tissue paper, glue, sand, and real shells.

Description: Teachers or children cut out fish in different colors. Cut different tissue paper colors including shinny paper.  Have children glue tissue paper onto fish for scales and let dry.

Get blue butcher paper and sponge paint a lighter blue over it.  You can also have 
children do this. Get brown butcher paper and glue sand on it for the ocean floor.
Tear long strips of green butcher paper for seaweed. Use brown paper as large rocks (3-D style) under the ocean.

Put up the blue paper then the brown.  Next put up a border.  Staple seaweed where you want it.  Make 3-D rocks and staple them up. Finally, glue sea shells onto the ocean floor.  Include the title The Rainbow Fish and then staple up the children's fish.
Comments: This bulletin board can be used with the book The Rainbow Fish,
a pet theme or an ocean / sea theme.

Making Rainbow Fish
Youngsters use fine motor skills during this hands on literacy activity by Annette F. and also learn about sea life.

Materials: The book The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. card stock or construction paper of various colors or white to be finger painted. 
A pattern of a fish (I draw one based on the fish in the book).
A fish scale pattern with many scales of many colors.
Transparent plastic paper with an iridescent effect & Aluminum foil.

Description: We read the book THE RAINBOW FISH then we talk about the story and make "Rainbow Fish".  Each child picks out a fish, either white to be 
finger-painted bright colors or cut out of a brightly colored piece of paper or 
card stock.  Scales are then cut out of brightly colored paper, aluminum foil, and iridescent paper.  One scale for each child is made of aluminum foil with  iridescent plastic paper glued on top.  This creates the look of the special rainbow fish scales that are to be shared with each fish.

Each child gets to pick out several scales and gets one "rainbow scale as described above". They glue their scales on their fish.  We talk about how good sharing is and how the rainbow fish was much happier once he shared beautiful scales with the other fish.

Comments: The students hands on involvement of cutting, designing, etc. is adaptable for several different age groups depending upon ability.

Cooking: Snacks for a Rainbow Fish Theme
Tamara suggests these teacher made snacks saying, "When we were doing the Rainbow Fish activities, I tried to think of some snacks that went along with the theme." 

Materials: the Rainbow Fish book by Marcus Pfister
Soup and Goldfish Crackers
Sandwich material and fish cookie cutter
Blue Jell-O and Gummy Fish
Paper Cups (clear are best)

For lunch, I made soup and sandwiches. I used a cookie cutter to cut the bread, 
meat and cheese to make sandwiches, and sprinkled goldfish crackers in the soup.
Children can help by using the cookie cutters.

For snack time, I made blue Jell-O and poured it into clear disposable cups. 
After it had been refrigerated for about an hour, I sprinkled gummy fish inside, 
making sure they all went into the Jell-O. 

Red & Blue Colors
Youngsters use their color recognition, fine motor and creative skills during this early childhood activity from Julie H.

Materials: Sheet of art paper for each child.
Red wax crayons.
Cardboard template with a fish cut out of the center.
Blue paint thinned as a wash.
Paint brushes.
Glue sticks
Silver glitter

Description: Ask children to place the fish templates on their art paper and cover over the fish with their red wax crayons (this needs to be quite thick coloring).
Move the fish around so there are a number of fish on the page.
Children then paint the whole page with the blue wash. The paint won't adhere to the 
crayon and the fish will show through. When the paint dries, children dab glue coming out of the fish's mouth as bubbles. Sprinkle glitter onto the glue and shake off the excess glitter.

Ask children to name the color of the fish and the water. These make lovely decorations around the classroom.  Read  The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister with this activity.

Comments: Use strong cardboard for the templates so they won't be destroyed by 
rough coloring.

Rainbow Fish and Sharing
Julie H. offers this hands on activity and encourages children to share a beautiful shiny fish scale with a friend.

Materials: Tempera Paint - blue, green, pink and yellow.
Plastic fish shaped serving bowl seen in many home accessory stores.
9 x 12 construction paper - any color
Clear, large flaked glitter.
Craft glue that dries clear and aluminum foil.

Description: Paint the fish shaped serving bowl on the outside, textured side 
with your three or four colors. Place the construction paper over this painted area and rub to make a painting of the fish on this paper.  It is similar to leaf rubbings but the area is much larger and more textured.

After the rubbing is complete, sprinkle the wet painted surface of your fish 
with clear glitter.  Once it is dry the painting will shimmer and shine just like the rainbow fish.

Then, pour a small amount of clear drying glue on a small piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle that with the clear, large flaked glitter.  Once dry, the glue is clear and all you have is a small, shiny "fish scale" that each child may have. Then ask the child to give his "scale to a friend"  Be sure and keep track of who receives and who does not receive a scale.  Make a few suggestions to insure that every child exchanges their scale with someone.

The Rainbow Fish Shirt
Ali suggests this creative story time activity that takes advantage of a T-shirt. 

Materials: An old T-shirt with velcro patches sewn on, several shiny card scales 
with velcro on the back, the story The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

Description: Attach the scales to the shirt using the velcro, share the story of 
The Rainbow Fish while wearing the shirt. As you come to the part about the fish 
sharing the scales start to detach the scales and pass them out to the children. The children can take turns being The Rainbow Fish.

Comments: The shiny scales keep the attention of even very young children

Bubble Rainbow Fish
Jennifer encourages very young children to use fine motor skills as they tear paper
and use color recognition skills while retelling a popular story.

Materials: Bubble wrap, tissue paper, glue and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

Description: Before reading the book the teacher cuts fish  shapes out of bubble wrap (the kind you mail packages in).  After the story, children will create their own rainbow fish by gluing two fish cutouts together and leaving an opening at the tail.  The children will tear small pieces of tissue  paper and stuff the paper into the opening.  When the children are satisfied that their fish is colorful enough or fat enough, the children will glue the opening shut.  These look great hanging from a classroom ceiling!
Literacy or Felt Board Area: "Five Little Fish"Rainbow Fish friend
Robin C. shares several activities for your Rainbow Fish theme. The first activity integrates literacy and counting with a poem.

Materials: Felt, flannel board and this poem.

Description:  Cut five fish shapes out of felt. Place the shapes on a flannel board. As you read the poem below, let the children take turns "catching" the fish by removing 
them from the flannel board.

 Five little fish swimming by the shore.
 One got caught, and then there were four.
 Four little fish swimming in the sea.
 One got caught, and then there were three.
 Three little fish swimming in the blue.
 One got caught, and then there were two.
 Two little fish swimming in the sun.
 One got caught, and then there was one.
 One little fish swimming for home
 Decided 'twas best never to roam.
Fish Song I'm a Little Fishy
(Tune: I'm a Little Teapot)
 I'm a little fishy,
 I can swim.
 Here is my tail,
 Here is my fin.
 When I want to have fun
 With my friends,
 I wiggle my tail and
 Dive right in.
Table Toy Area: 
Sorting Fish: Purchase several different kinds and colors of small plastic fish. 
Place them all in a basket. Let the children take turns sorting them by color, 
by shape and by size.

Art Area:
Paper Plate Fish: Give each child a paper plate with a triangular mouth shape 
drawn on one side. Have the children cut out the triangles. (The openings are 
the mouth of the fish.) Then have them glue the triangular pieces on the 
opposite sides of their plates to make tails. Let the children complete their 
fish by drawing on eyes and coloring them as desired.

fish bowlScience: Set up an aquarium or a bowl of fish at your science table. Make a poster to hang above the aquarium that shows the parts of a fish (body, eyes, fins, gills and tail). Discuss the proper care of fish and let the children take turns with the feeding. Have the children observe the fish and draw pictures of their 
observations. While discussing their findings, ask questions such as these: "How 
do fish swim? What are the gills used for? Do fish sleep?"

For story time read;
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
The Man Who Caught Fish by Walter Lyon Krudop
What happens to fish, flowers, field mice and other living things when ponds freeze and the cold winds blow? by Nancy Van Laan  &  Susan Gaber

Rainbow Fish Scales
During this easy activity from Sally W. children create their own special fish scales.

Materials: Rainbow Fish Book
Tag board
Opal glitter from discount school supplies.

Description: After reading The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister ask the students to cut a scale out of tag board and decorated it with the opal glitter and glue. When it is dry a hole can be punched in the top and made into a necklace. The students love having their own scale.

Diorama of Rainbow Fish
Pam suggests this week long plan saying the objective is, "To create the cave scene from the 'Rainbow Fish'. Skills include; rolling playdough, forming balls with playdough, measuring playdough and counting octopus tentacles."

Materials: Shoe boxes, cardboard, collage materials, playdough, nylon thread, paint, thin tubing or straw.

1.  Children paint inside and outside of shoe box.
2  Teacher cuts cardboard shapes of rainbow fish, children assemble with silver
    paper and colored paper scales, (precut).
3. Children assemble precut octopus with body, eyes and tentacles.
4. Starfish - children roll sausage shape with playdough, cut five similar lengths,
    join 5 lengths together, point ends of lengths.
    Sea anemones - children roll small balls with playdough and stick short pieces
    of straw or thin tubing lengths, children can cut lengths.

Comments: This activity lasted for a week. Although a fair bit of adult help is 
required in the preparation the children are highly motivated to complete the 
full scene. The playdough elements in particular lend themselves to  independent 
work. The finished diorama stimulates a considerable amount of talk when the 
children take it home.
Sharing: Rainbow FishRainbow Fish friend
This early childhood literacy lesson plan by Marlin G. begins during circle time and
is extended into an art activity then back into another literacy activity.

Materials: Book- Rainbow Fish
Pre-cut shapes of fish or if child is old enough, drawn shapes that they cut out, 
OR colored pieces of construction paper and encourage each child to draw a fish 
(this depends on age and development of the child).
fabric scraps,
paper scraps collage materials for gluing.
glue & glitter

Description: Start with reading The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister at circle time. Talk about where fish live (under the water). create an imaginary scale for sharing. As the rainbow fish gives away his scales, teachers give a child a scale and then as the rainbow fish give scales to other fish, encourage each child to give the scale to the child beside them until every child has given the imaginary scale to all children and back to the teacher.

After the story ask individual children to tell something about the story. As children answer have the art center already set up and start with a child that can work unsupervised for a little while. Send them to the art center to create their own rainbow fish. DO NOT BRING OUT GLITTER UNTIL LAST.

After the children have created their rainbow fish, provide glitter for children to use as they make a glitter scale. After the fish has dried and you can handle it place the fish in front of the child who dictates to the teacher their own fish story. The teacher writes down the story while asking open ended questions to encourage the child's story development. Display the fish with the story attached. 

The next day take the fish and story to circle time and tell the child's story giving the child credit for being the author.

1. Add plastic fish to the water table and let children pretend to be fishing.
2. Add cookie cutters shaped like fish to playdough area.
3. Add plastic fish to house keeping with pans for pretend cooking.
4. Add swim wear and goggles to dramatic play etc.

Comments: Works great and children love it!

Rainbow Fish Bubble Wrap
Tamara offers this easy fishy bubble wrap that even very young children can create. Older youngsters can do the tracing, cutting, taping and draw their own fish eyes.

Materials: Bubble Wrap
Scotch Tape
Tissue Paper (silver and other colors)
Sharpie Pen (optional)
The Rainbow Fish book

Description:  The night before, I traced a simple shape of a fish onto the bubble wrap (on the smooth side, 2 per child). Then I taped the fish together, with the bubble side inside, leaving a small opening on the back.

The day of the lesson, I put several different colors of tissue paper on the table and the kids tore each sheet into smaller pieces. They stuffed their fish with the tissue paper, being  sure to include some silver pieces for the sparkly scales. We also had gold and several pastel shades. When the fish were stuffed, I finished taping them closed the rest of the way and used the pen to draw eyes and a mouth for the kids. The bubbles on the inside looked really neat and made them look pretty real.

The children were ages: 2-4 (we had one that was 1.5 and 2 that were 6), they all did fine.

Bulletin Board: "Bubble Wrap Rainbow Fish"
Darlene A. suggests this preschool activity with the warning, "This is a fun (but messy) activity, that represents recycling and introduces the children to printing."

Materials: Large pieces of bubble wrap.  Tempera paint, fish shapes cut out of 
white paper, paint brushes, circle stickers for fish eyes and aluminum foil.

Description: First, tape the bubble wrap to the table to prevent it from slipping. 
Ask the children to paint on their area of wrap with paint and brushes. After the children have enjoyed painting their areas, take a fish cut out and press it down on top of the bubble wrap.  It will pick up the paint as well as some designs from the bubble wrap creating a beautiful fish!  When the paint has dried stick on the sticker to make an eye, and you can also glue on some beautiful silvery foil scales just like the Rainbow Fish has!

Comments: This is a really fun project but I will warn you it can be messy with 
bubbles popping and paint spraying, but the outcome is a beauty and the children 
have so much fun.  This makes a great school of fish bulletin board display when 
finished and of course include the Rainbow Fish book at story time.

Paper Plate Ocean Animals
Here's an easy craft idea from Cindy.

Materials: Paper plates, torn up pieces of paper in various different colors, 
glue, wiggly eyes, scissors, fin pattern and tail pattern.

Description: Give each child a paper plate with a triangle cut out of the side 
(to make the fish's mouth). Allow children to glue the different colored 
construction paper to it providing 1 piece of aluminum foil to make a shiny scale like the rainbow fish.  After they have created their fish allow them to glue a wiggly eye on it.  Then let them cut out the fin and tail patterns and glue to their fish.

Comments: I read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister before doing this activity

Friendship Fingerprint Rainbow Fish
Michele H. talks about friendship during this preschool activity.

Materials: Rainbow Fish story by Marcus Pfister
Large fish cut out for each child
Washable ink pads in several different colors

1.   Read the story The Rainbow Fish and talk about friendship as a prelude to his        activity.

2.  Let each child have a fish cut out and he or she makes fingerprint rainbow scales on his or her fish.

3.   Each child invites his/her friends to share in making more scales on his/her fish.

4.   Fish can be cut out and posted 3 dimensionally on an ocean bulletin board.

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