Ah my very first program! Typing this out brings back a lot of memories. I was so nervous and excited. I made a big display with a construction paper coral reef and paper cutout fish. I put out every book in the library that I could find with oceans, sharks, fish etc. I ordered probably 50 different books to try and pick the best books to read and still wasn’t happy with my selection.
I began the program with having the kids paint paper plate seahorses with washable paint. We had some neon colors – blue, yellow, and pink to choose from. After that we had story time while we waited for the paint to dry. I read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle and remember thinking that it just went on forever and ever and ever. I also read a book with ocean animals made from vegetables that had a sea horse. The Boss lady popped in and read Scat Fish and the kids (all 3) did not enjoy it as much as I thought they would but it was probably the favorite book of the day.
After story time we played a memory game with ocean animals but you lost a turn if you flipped over a shark. I had printed and laminated the different ocean cards for the game parts and added a big, bad shark that got closer and closer to a clown fish as more sharks were turned over. The kids actually had a lot of fun with this and I made several different sets of matching animals so I could make the game bigger or smaller depending on how many people showed up.
Then I passed around some photos of ocean life I had taken at the aquarium. We talked about seahorses, anemones, crabs, starfish, etc. Finally the paint was dry and we decorated our paper plate seahorses with sequins.