Did you know that there are over 30,000 species of fish in the world? Or that some fish can change their color to blend in with their surroundings? Fish are fascinating creatures that can be found in various bodies of water around the world. Learning about fish is an excellent way for children to expand their knowledge of the animal kingdom, develop a deeper appreciation for marine life, and learn more about ecology in general.
In this blog post, we’ll share helpful information and fun facts about fish, then we’ll explore fun and educational ways to teach children about fish, including books, crafts, and curriculum resources. We also have a video from our own class unit study on fish. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of fish!
Fish are aquatic animals that live in water and breathe through gills. Fish diets vary from species to species. Some fish eat plants, while others eat other fish or small animals like insects and plankton. Some fish have teeth that help them catch and eat their food, while others use their mouths to suck up small particles. Fish also have a special part of their digestive system called a swim bladder, which helps them stay buoyant in the water.
Fish reproduce by laying eggs. Some fish lay their eggs in nests in still areas of the water, while others scatter their eggs throughout the water. After hatching, some fish maintain their original form and simply grow larger, while other fish go through metamorphosis and change their appearance and behavior.
Fish can be found in many different types of saltwater and freshwater environments, such as oceans, rivers, and lakes. Fish often play a critical role in their ecosystems. For example, some fish species are predators in their ecosystem, while others are an important source of prey. Additionally, many fish help to keep their waterways clean by eating algae and other small organisms. One reason it’s important to take care of our water and keep it clean is so that fish and other aquatic animals can stay healthy!
Fun Fish Facts for Kids
- The largest fish in the world is the whale shark, which can grow to over 30 feet long.
- The sailfish is one of the fastest fish in the ocean – it can swim nearly 70 miles per hour.
- The electric eel is a fish that can produce electricity.
- The oldest known fish lived more than 500 million years ago.
- Flying fish use special fins to glide through the air for hundreds of feet.
- The pufferfish can inflate itself to more than twice its size.
- The seahorse is the only fish that has a neck.
- The deep-sea anglerfish can swallow prey larger than itself.
- The archerfish can shoot water out of its mouth to knock down insects.
- Some fish, like the mudskipper, can absorb oxygen from the air and walk on land for short distances.
A Class Unit Study About Fish
This is a video from our class back in 2009 when Trillium Montessori was still in my house. We had fun learning all about fish. First, the video starts off with one of my favorite fish songs, then shows clips of children working with our fish themed materials. Finally, the video ends with us getting our hands dirty examining a fish from the grocery store!
Curriculum Resources for Learning About Fish
This Fish Preschool Pack is available in my store.
This pack includes the following activities:
1. Color Sorting
2. Size Sorting
6. Cutting Strips and Lines
7. 0-10 Number Cards
8. Number Clip Cards
Books and Materials for Learning About Fish
- Fish: A Question and Answer Book (Montessori Services)
- About Fish: A Guide for Children (Montessori Services)
- Parts of a Fish Puzzle (Amazon)
- Fish Counters (Amazon)
- Aquarium Fish from Trillium Montessori
- Fish Science Preschool Pack by Haffley Homeschool
- Shark Pack by 3 Dinosaurs
- Shark Fact Cards by Pinay Homeschooler
- Shark Pack from Every Star is Different
- Fishy Following Directions by The Speech Bubble SLP
- Clown Fish Non-Fiction Emergent Reader by Jennifer Drake
Crafts and Hands-On Activities for Learning About Fish
- Fish Prints | An Idea on Tuesday – If you’ve never done fish art prints before, this will show you how!
- Layers of the Ocean for Preschoolers | Pinay Homeschooler – This is a unique activity that I haven’t seen before. I think your students will love learning about the depths of the ocean and sorting the various animals that inhabit the different layers.
More Ideas for a Fish Unit
- Montessori Inspired Fish and Water Unit | Every Star is Different – There are lots of free printables here you can use with your Montessori fish unit. They also have some fun ideas for fish counters!
- Fish Unit | Just Montessori – This post is a great place to help you start planning your fish unit. It has all the basics: verbiage to help you introduce the unit, a folder of fish photos, fish nomenclature, matching, art activities, and songs.
- Montessori Inspired Ocean Unit | Living Montessori Now – This is a great collection of fish and ocean life activities that can be adapted for a Montessori setting.
- 40 Fish Theme Activities for Kids | Fantastic Fun and Learning – If you’re still looking for more ideas, try some of these!
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Holly Earnest is a content writer on the Trillium team. After eight years in the classroom and another 2.5 as a center director, Holly transitioned from full-time campus life to focus on supporting Montessori educators and caring for family. She is AMS-credentialed at the primary level, and enjoys coaching Montessori guides, creating Montessori training materials, and presenting at Montessori conferences.