Considering that my son is on a preschool sabbatical due to my economic technical difficulties I decided to expose him to some of the same experiences he would’ve had if he remained in school.
I didn’t get all crazy home school regiment, but I did apply some of the same guided discovery situations that allowed for play-based, thematic learning zone. The Guat Learning Zone.
Ocean combined with marine life became the first “theme” I explored. So we read books like Eric Carle’s A House For Hermit Crab and The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We talked about all the animals the different shapes and body parts like the gills, tentacles, fins, teeth, blowholes, and tales.
We got chalk and drew out all kinds of fish, octopus, whales, and dolphins in the back yard patio. We put on our snorkel gear and went “scuba diving” and then went “deep-sea fishing” with our makeshift fishing poles. Since we don’t own a pool, and I chose not to got to the public urine filled pool that reeks of chlorine, we grabbed our swim trunks and gear and headed to the bathtub. It was a little crowded.
We resurrected the old Discovery Channel jellyfish tank that my son loved so much. It created a mini tidal wave when my aunt decided to move it thus, putting the computer out of commission a couple of months ago (you can read about that little incident here).
And then the field trip. The Aquarium of the Pacific. My son was so excited to see the diversity of marine animals live and in action, as well as the water play area that featured life-size oceanic animals squirting water at you. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time in water battles that day.
We experienced the awesomeness of the tropical pacific gallery that featured multitudes of colorful fish and coral reef.
One of our favorite exhibits proved to be the scuba divers swimming in a ginormous tank modeled after Blue Cavern Point, a kelp forest near the Santa Catalina Island Coast. It was a massive tank-like aquarium with scuba divers feeding hundreds of fish species trolling the waters. He was able to name some of the sea creatures and body parts, like their gills and fins. He was excitied about all this fish knowledge he acquired. I was pretty proud.
At the shark lagoon we petted sting rays, which were quite slimy and a couple of bamboo shark. But the best part of the field trip adventure was petting the jellyfish. My son was a little hesitant, but after explaining and seeing the similarity to his jellyfish-like creatures in his Discovery Channel tank, he was up for the adventure.
He pushed up his sleeves and plopped his hand right into the water. As I guided his hand over the jellyfish, he smiled and tripped out on the rubbery and slippery texture.
He was not scared, but amazed. He saw them swimming everywhere and yelled:
“Wow … look at all the jellyfishes everybody! They’re swimming. They’re swimming! And look they have many testicles, look at all the testicles, but we can’t touch because they will sting us.”
Amazing fish knowledge indeed.
The Aquarium guide lady and a couple other adults couldn’t help but smile and giggle.
“Yes … I see many tentacles.”
“Yes, mom. Many testicles.”
I smiled. I was still proud.