As part of our unit on fish, I thought the children would enjoy the process of putting together their own aquariums.

Getting Things up and running

To get the children up and running, I gathered items that would be used in a fish aquarium and set them out as an invitation to play on the discovery table. It didn’t take long at all before the discovery table had a few visitors checking it all out. The first to arrive started adding plants and shells and fish to the aquariums.

Exploring the Aquariums

Exploring the aquariums on the discovery table led to different kinds of learning and pretend play. The children had to use their critical thinking skills and a little bit of trial and error to figure out how to keep the plants from floating to the top of the water.

The children also used their own creative expression and decision-making as they chose which items they wanted to keep in the aquariums, how many items to keep in the aquariums, and where to place the items in the aquarium.

What Happened Later

Throughout the week, some of the children would sit at the discovery table and use the fish and other sea animals for pretend play.

And on one day, the children decided they wanted colored water in the aquariums, so I made the colored water available and the children filled the aquariums up on their own. The aquariums were a fun and inviting addition to our discovery table and outdoor classroom for our week-long study of fish.


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