Dive Deep with Submarines

Celebrate the end of the Texas Reading Club with a great program about submarines.

Books to Share

  • Alistair Underwater by Matthew Sadler.
  • Bathtime PiggyWiggy by Christyan Fox.
  • Into the A, B, Sea: an Ocean Alphabet Book by Deborah Lee Rose.
  • Rub-A-Dub Sub by Linda Ashman.

Books to Display or Booktalk

  • Dive to the Deep Ocean by Deborah Kovacs.
  • Exploring the Deep Dark Sea by Gail Gibbons.
  • The Hidden Forest by Jeannie Baker.
  • Life on a Submarine by Gregory Payan.
  • The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole.
  • What a Wonderful Machine is a Submarine by Norman Bate.

Bulletin Board

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Make a large submarine using the pattern provided. Take photographs of some of the reading club participants and place them in the submarine. Alternately, invite children to bring a school photograph to use in the display. Add pictures of underwater animals. Creatures can be cut out of photographs from old nature magazines or shapes cut from construction paper. In addition to die-cuts that may be available, a fish pattern is provided and additional patterns are also available for the “Blue Fish, Blue Fish” flannel board in the 2004 Texas Reading Club Manual, www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2004/manual/internal_chapters/toddler_sea.htm.


Cut out shapes of underwater animals, plants, and other objects to decorate your library. Hang paper fish and large sea animals from the ceiling. Place some real seashells and coral around the library. Hang blue and green crepe paper from the ceiling to look like seaweed.



Cut out a simple star shape, using the pattern provided, and place the child’s name in the center to create a nametag.

Underwater Creatures

Use a fish die-cut or the pattern provided to make nametags.


Underwater Diorama

Cut the top flaps off of a large box. Use blue and green paint on the inside of the box to create an ocean. Hang paper fish and other underwater creatures on the inside of the box. Place the box on its side. Put sand on the bottom of the box and place the box where people can see it. If desired, you can glue the sand to the box to eliminate some of the mess. Alternatively, use a shoebox to create the ocean scene and cut a hole in the end of the box for viewing.


Serve blue Jell-O™ with gummy fish “swimming” in it, goldfish crackers, or submarine sandwiches. Blue or green colored punch can be served as “seawater.” Blue punch can be made using berry drink mixes or Kool-Aid™.


Sing “Baby Beluga”from Baby Beluga by Raffi or read the book Yellow Submarine by The Beatles and play the music during your celebration. Lyrics for both songs are provided at NIEHS, www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/babybeluga.htm and www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/submarine.htm. “Yellow Submarine” is also included on Rockin’ Down the Road by Greg and Steve.

Sing I Am A Sea Star, available at the Monterey Bay Aquarium web site, www.mbayaq.org/lc/teachers_place/activity_popup_imaseastar.asp?bhcp=1. The site also includes patterns that could be printed and copied for the children to hold up while singing.

Rhymes and Poetry

Like a Fish


I hold my fingers like a fish,   (Place one hand on top of the other)

And I wave them as I go.   (Wave hands up and down)

See them swimming with a swish,   (Swim and flip hands in air)

So swiftly to and fro.   (Swim hands back and forth)

Audio Recordings

  • “Across the Wide Ocean” and “Wish I Was a Whale” on Two Hands Hold the Earth by Sarah Pirtle.
  • Bathtime Magic by Joanie Bartles.
  • “Billy the Squid” on Billy the Squid by Tom Chapin.
  • Flumpa’s World: Water, Water Everywhere by Wendy Whitten.
  • “Goin’ Fishin’” on Family Vacation by Rosenshontz.
  • “The Gooey Duck Song” and “The Fishin’ Hole” on Fred Penner’s Place by Fred Penner.
  • “Octopus (Slippery Fish)” on 10 Carrot Diamond by Charlotte Diamond.
  • What’s in the Sea? by Lois Skiera-Zucek.

Stories to Tell

Tell “The Klunge Maker” available online in Family Storytime: Twenty-four Creative Programs for All Ages by Rob Reid, available through NetLibrary, a TexShare resource.


Octopus Windsock


  • Brown paper bags with flat bottoms, lunch-size
  • Newspaper or sheets of tissue paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Rubber bands
  • Crepe paper
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Stapler


Pre-punch a hole in the flat end of the paper bag. Have the participants color a paper bag to look like the face of an octopus. Attach a ribbon through the hole at the end of the paper bag using tape or staples to hold it in place. Then have them stuff newspaper or tissue paper into the bag to fill up the head. Close with a rubber band. Staple eight crepe paper streamers to the open edge of the bag. Allow the children to use any colors they like. Children can hang the windsock outside or in a window using the ribbon. Use a large grocery bag to make a large octopus to hang in your library.

Fish Puppets


  • Cardstock in various colors
  • Glitter or sequins
  • Markers
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Craft sticks
  • Glue
  • Scissors


Have participants draw fish shapes onto the cardstock paper, cut them out, and decorate them with glitter, sequins, or markers. Let them attach “wiggly” eyes and then glue the fish onto craft sticks to create puppets. Use the fish puppets as props while singing a song or reciting the rhyme provided in this chapter.

Fish Hat


  • Construction Paper in various colors
  • Fish and ship die cuts


In advance, cut out headbands and die cut shapes of fish and ships as shown in the photos. Let the children glue the shapes to the headband. Tape the headband to fit each child’s head.

fish hat photo - front fish hat photo -side

Games and Activities

Diving Fish

Decorate the outside of a clear two-liter plastic bottle with pictures or drawings of seaweed and sea animals. Add 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar to the bottle and fill the rest with water. Place one teaspoon of baking soda and a handful of raisins into the bottle. The raisins will rise and sink repeatedly in the bottle for about thirty minutes due to the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.

Crab Race

Divide the participants into teams. This game is just like any relay race, except the children have to crawl like crabs. To get into crab position, the children lie on their backs and lift themselves up using their arms and legs. After getting into the position, the participants race by moving sideways.

Guest Speakers

Invite a former submariner to discuss life on a submarine.

Have someone from the zoo or aquarium visit the library and discuss the types of animals that live under the sea, their habitat, and habits. If possible, ask that the guest bring live specimens, such as hermit crabs, sea anemone, etc., or to bring aquarium supplies and examples of seashells, starfish, and other creatures.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use. Times are indicated for the entire film.

  • Big Submarine. (50 minutes)
  • The Crab Man. (9 minutes)
  • “If I Lived Under the Sea” from Barney’s Beach Party. (50 minutes)
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. (48 minutes)

Web Sites

Monterey Bay Aquarium


Select the Teachers & Kids page to find interactive games, live web cams, including one for sharks, and crafts and other activities.

National Geographic: K-19 The Widowmaker


This web site provides information on submarine disasters and an online presentation about the history of the K-19 submarine.

NOVA Online: Into the Abyss


Follow the real-life exploration along the floor of the Pacific Ocean in this companion site for NOVA’s “Volcanoes of the Deep” episode.

Ocean Planet: Underwater Flyby


Take a two-minute underwater tour of the Pacific Ocean floor on this NASA web site.

Submarines, Secrets, and Spies


Explore life in a submarine, listen to underwater sounds, and tour a submarine at the companion web site for NOVA’s “Submarines, Secrets, and Spies” episode.

Professional Resources

Family Storytime: Twenty-four Creative Programs for All Ages by Rob Reid. Also available online through NetLibrary, a TexShare resource.

Rockin’ Down the Road by Greg and Steve.

Yellow Submarine by The Beatles.

Color Your World…Read!: 2004 Texas Reading Club Manual


Monterey Bay Aquarium


This site includes songs, coloring sheets, and other undersea activities for children.


Texas Reading Club 2007 Programming Manual / Sail Away with Books!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011