Under the Sea Themed EYFS Activities – Based on Tiddler

by thenibecamemum

Don’t forget to visit our main Home Learning page for other weekly themed activity ideas. This Week’s book is Tiddler by Julia Donaldson. We explored a range of Under the Sea themed activities which was lead by T’s curiosity of boats and what was “underneath” them. As usual, I have tried to put them under each of the 7 areas of the EYFS framework below. Any key skills are in bold.

Communication and Language
Physical Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Understanding the World
Expressive Art and Design

Communication and Language

As we read the book, T was encouraged to join in and repeat the parts he knows. Tiddler is great for this as it repeats “Tiddler? Tiddler? Tiddler’s late!” throughout which T loves. He maintains attention, shows concentration and does not interrupt other than to repeat parts of the book.

T was given simple instructions to follow in lots of different tasks, including two-part sequences. For example, “Cut out your fish and then stick tissue paper on it.”

When reading the book, we asked questions throughout, encouraging T to answer with ‘because’. For example, “Why don’t the other fish believe Tiddler’s story?”, “How might Tiddler be feeling when he got caught in the net?”

Physical Development

From a general point of view, we always work on basic hygiene and personal needs such as going to the toilet independently, hand washing (so important right now!), getting dressed independently and brushing our teeth.

This week we continued to work on our pencil and scissor control. We found some simple under the sea themed activity sheets on Twinkl. However if you Google ‘pencil control worksheet’ and ‘scissor control worksheets’, you will find lots of free options to practice these skills. Our pencil grip (the tripod grip) is a work in progress though!

Child completing under the sea pencil control sheet

EYFS Child cutting paper
We have also been practising our letter formation (see Literacy) to develop pencil control.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Again, there are general things that we work on daily such as encouraging T to try new things, teaching him to ask for help when he needs it, turn taking and following rules, just to name a few.

As the book was about a little fish who told tall tales, we focussed what it means to lie and what the consequence might be. To begin, we played a little game to develop understanding for what a lie was. This was a very simple game. I stated some facts such as “I have a grey car”, “My mum is called Freda”, “We have pet fish.” T then had to guess if it was a lie or the truth. We then discussed the question “Is it ever okay to lie?” Finally, we discussed our own and other people’s feelings when we tell the truth as opposed to lying.


For the reading aspect of Literacy, as mentioned above, we worked on repeating phrases and asking questions about the story. We also tried to make predictions of what might happen next. When meeting the various sea creatures, T identified the initial sounds of the words. For older EYFS children, you might choose simple words to segment and blend, e.g. ‘f-i-sh’, ‘c-r-a-b’.

One of our favourite things to do this week was Under the Sea themed bingo. You need a grid for each player with 4 or 6 pictures of various sea creatures (mix them up or everybody will win!). Then you need a set of cards which either have the initial letter of each sea creature or the full name, depending on their age and ability. Shuffle the cards. Turn each card over one by one and call it out. If you have the sea creature then mark it off your board. When you have a full board, shout ‘Bingo!’. Alternatively, you can use the board and cards as a matching activity.

Child placing letter card onto a phonics activity sheet

Under the sea themed bingo

We also designed our own sea creature and labelled him. Depending on your child’s ability, they could do this themselves using the sounds that they know. This might be full attempts at a word or just the initial sound.
Child’s Sea creature Drawing


Now that T can confidently count to 10, we are beginning to focus on matching the amounts to numerals as sometimes counting to 10 can become a memory activity rather than actually relating the numeral to an amount. This activity was so simple. Cut out fish shapes (I found a template on Google and used that) and write the numerals on one fish and the corresponding number of dots on another. Shuffle the fish and then ask your child to match them back up. We started with numerals 1-5. For older children, you could start introducing the number words too.

Paper fish
We also found an under the sea themed ‘Find, colour and count’ sheet on Twinkl which allowed T to practice counting an irregular arrangement. This was a little bit tricky for him as he kept missing some of them so might be better suited to an older EYFS child.
Child completing under the sea counting activity sheet
Another focus for this week was looking at patterns which falls under ‘shape, space and measures’. For this activity, T had to complete the patterns given with the correct sea creature. The document was made using Microsoft Word and only took around 5-10 minutes to do. T cut out the pieces himself as this was extra cutting practice – bonus!

child cutting Pattern activity sheet

Under the sea pattern activity

Understanding the World

A lot of time was spent exploring the sea creatures (there are a lot!) that we had discovered in our book, Tiddler. By using technology to find the information it is developing T’s understanding that information can be retrieved from computers.
Throughout the week, T had lots of comments and questions about the creatures he’d observed. We used his understanding of these creatures to then complete a ‘What am I?’ game. He was given some clues about the sea animal and from this he had to guess what it was.
What am I? Under the sea activity
We also briefly explored the impact humans were having on sea creatures. This activity would lend itself better to older children with more understanding of environmental impacts. However, T could still empathise with the animals by showing care and concern towards them. 

Expressive Art and Design

Every week, we try to include some singing and movement that matches the theme. Here are some of the under the sea themed songs we used (click to expand):

Under the sea themed song list

We have also been creating our own sea creatures using Lego.

Purple Lego fish

How to Make an Ombré Octopus from toilet roll tubes

We have really enjoyed creating an ombré octopus which is made from a toilet roll tube. You can make one too following these five easy steps:

  1. First, create the eight legs by making cuts 1/3 of the way up. It’s easier to cut north, south, east and west first to make four legs. Then cut each of those in half to make eight legs.
  2. Use a pen to curl up the legs of your octopus.
  3. Paint your first colour onto your toilet roll tube octopus.
  4. Whilst the first layer of paint is still wet, use a sponge to gently press the second colour onto the top half of the tube. Build the colour so that the top is darker.Collage of photos showing steps of making an octopus
  5. Finally, decorate your little friend! We painted the bottom gold and then added sequins. T also made him a funky friend too.
Blue octopus made from toilet roll tubesTwo octopi made from toilet roll tubes
How to Make an Under the Sea Themed Box

As well as the octopus, we also made an under the sea themed box. Again, it is so simple for children to make. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Prepare your resources. You may want to cut out fish shapes for your little ones.
  2. Use a scourer sponge to paint your box. The wired part of the sponge should create a fab sea effect (photo 3).
  3. Once dried, take strips of blue and white tissue paper and fold it back and forth to create a rippling effect. Glue each piece into the box. (Photo 4).
    Under the sea tissue paper fish activity
  4. Draw and cut out your fish if you haven’t already. Then cut strips of paper around 8mm thick. We preferred to cut our strips with a wavy edge as it’s more effective and easy for little ones to do (and it’s more cutting practice!).
  5. Glue the strips of tissue paper on from the tail up towards the head, overlapping each one.
  6. Trim off the excess tissue paper.
    Under the sea tissue paper fish
  7. Finally, use fishing wire or some sort of string to attach the fish to the box.

Under the sea box with fish

Makes and Bakes

Every week, we try to include some sort of recipe. Normally I would try to link it to the theme and I did buy some under the sea themed moulds. However, it was just a little too random trying to fit the theme into this week’s recipe so we scrapped the theme.

Our recipe for this week was our no-bake chocolate and peanut butter krispie treats. Recipe coming up soon.

Chocolate and peanut butter krispie treat

And that’s another week of home learning completed!

Don’t forget to check out our other home learning activities aimed at EYFS. Why not bookmark the page for later or pin us to Pinterest?

Words to parents/carers: Don’t beat yourself up if your activities don’t go to plan or your child just doesn’t want to take part. What you don’t see here is the constant stopping and starting, the losing concentration, the tantrums and the arts and crafts that didn’t make the cut because they weren’t in keeping with the theme (and that’s okay because we should be following our kid’s lead!). All in all, these activities took about a week to complete and were complete in 10-15 minute bursts.

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