Island Sailing

Books to Share

  • Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins.
  • Just My Dad & Me by Leah Komaiko.
  • Hula Lullaby by Erin Eitter Kono.
  • Moving Day by Robert Kalan.
  • Pirate PiggyWiggy by Christyan Fox.
  • Ten Little Fish by Audrey Woods.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Big Al and Shrimpy by Andrew Clements.
  • Moe the Dog in Tropical Paradise by Diane Stanley.
  • Ocean Babies by Deborah Lee Rose.
  • One Giant Splash!: A Counting Book about the Ocean by Michael Dahl.
  • Sailor Boy Jig by Margaret Wise Brown.
  • Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone.

Bulletin Board

Sail Away With Books!

Cover your bulletin board with tan paper to create a beach island scene. Add a large pirate chest on the sandy beach. Attach jackets from books about the ocean, fish, pirates, etc., piled inside and spilling outside the chest onto the sand or create paper books with appropriate titles.


Beach Fun!

Set up a display of books, videos, DVDs, and musical recordings about the ocean, pirates, fish, swimming, and shells, etc. Display the books with seashells, Hawaiian leis, sand, coconuts, a treasure box, pirate hats, suntan lotion, etc. Wear tropical attire, such as a flowered shirt, sun hat, and shell necklace to storytime.



Cut out an octopus using the pattern, or use a die-cut to create nametags.

octopus nametag


Tropical Treats

Serve a mixture of small pieces of dried coconut, pineapple, kiwi and other tropical fruits in small plastic cups.


Fish Alive

(Traditional. Suit finger movements to the poem as you recite rhyme.)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I caught a fish alive.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10. I threw him back again.

Why did you let him go?

Because he bit my finger so.

Which one did he bite?

The little one on the right.


Five Little Fishes

(Traditional, adapted by Debbie Brightwell Brown. Sing to the tune of “Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree.”)

Five little fishes swimming in the sea,   (Swimming motion)

Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me!”

Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be...(Chomping motion with both arms)

SNAP that fish right out of the sea!   (Snap fingers)

Four little fishes swimming in the sea…   (Swimming motion)

(Continue until there are no little fishes in the sea)

Seaside Song

(By Debbie Brightwell Brown. Sing to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus Go ‘Round and ‘Round.”)

The lobsters in the ocean go snap, snap, snap   (Make pretend claws with hands)

Snap, snap, snap,   (Snap hands.)

Snap, snap, snap,

The lobsters in the ocean go snap, snap, snap,

All day long.

(Repeat substituting these lines and actions.)

The sharks in the ocean go chomp, chomp, chomp…   (Stretch arms out and make a chomping motion)

The whales in the ocean go blow, blow, blow…   (Use both fisted hands to blow through)

The eels in the ocean go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…   (Use both hands in snake-like fashion)

The fish in the ocean go bloop, bloop, bloop…   (Make your mouth into a fish-face)

Audio Recordings

  • “Fishies” on Penguin Parade by Banana Slug String Band.
  • “Octopus’s Garden” on One Light, One Sun by Raffi.
  • “Sailing” on Infinity by Trout Fishing in America.

Flannel Boards

“Island Adventure” in Books Ahoy,

Five Giant Whales

(By Debbie Brightwell Brown. Use the pattern provided at the end of this chapter to cut five whales from felt, paper or fun foam. Place all five on the flannel board and take them off one at a time as you recite the rhyme.)

five giant whales flannelboard

Five giant whales, swimming on the ocean floor,

One went to blow and then there were four.

Four giant whales, swimming in the sea,

One saw a shark and then there were three.

Three giant whales, swimming the ocean blue,

One dived to the bottom and then there were two.

Two giant whales, swimming just for fun,

One got tired so then there was just one.

One giant whale, swimming all alone,

He was very lonely, so he went home.




  • Watercolors
  • Coffee filters
  • Colored cellophane
  • Glue stick
  • White construction paper
  • Crayon or markers


In advance, lightly paint the coffee filters with blue, green and pink watercolor paint and let them dry. Pre-cut one-foot strips of colored cellophane, enough for five or six strips per child. Pre-cut two white circles per child from construction paper for eyes. Glue the strips of cellophane to the edge of the coffee filter. Glue the eyes to the coffee filter and color in an iris with crayons or markers. When the children hold the coffee filter by the middle, they will have a floating jellyfish.

jellyfish craft project


Sea Shells


  • Sandpaper
  • Copier paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons or markers


Copy and cut out shells using the patterns (shell 1, shell 2, shell 3, shell 4, shell 5, shell 6) provided. Give each child a piece of sandpaper and several of the paper shells. Allow the children to color the shells and then glue them to the sandpaper.

sea shells craft project

Seahorse and Fish Sculpture

Using directions on The Best Kids Book Site at, let the children make the “Seahorse and Fish Sculpture” craft.

Games and Activities

Shell Time

Prepare a large shallow play pool or plastic container with sand and shells. Have sand toys, such as buckets, spades, etc., for the children to use. Bury some seashells in the sand and allow the children to dig them up. Pass around a large conch shell for children to put up to their ear to listen to the ocean. A variety of inexpensive small shells can be purchased from Oriental Trading Company,, or check floral and craft supply stores.

Guest Speakers

Invite a dance instructor to give a short hula dance instruction class. Check for instructors at dance schools or through hula schools. Several in Texas are listed at,


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.

  • Be a Hula Girl. (30 minutes)
  • I Want to be a Hula Dancer and Wear a Flower Lei. (60 minutes)
  • My Little Island. (30 minutes)

Web Sites

Planet Ocean

This site from the Discovery Channel provides the user with facts about the ocean and ocean creatures, lesson plans, clip art, puzzles, information and tips on science fair projects and links to other science sites.

Professional Resources

The Best Kids Book Site

Hundreds of ideas for simple kids crafts are available at this site.

Books Ahoy

This manual for South Carolina’s reading program includes fingerplays, patterns, games, and more.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Links to list of pirate books, music, games, toys, decorations, crafts, costumes, accessories, artwork and more.

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates : Fiction, Fact & Fancy Concerning the Buccaneers & Marooners of the Spanish Main

The complete text of this book of pirate stories and pictures by nineteenth century artist-author Howard Pyle is online at the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Published in 1921, it is in the public domain.

This island music web site includes a directory of hula schools throughout the country, as well as sources for videos and hula music.

Oriental Trading Company

This party supply company sells a variety of seashells and other island decorations and craft supplies.

Pirates and Privateers

A guide to web sites with facts and fiction about pirates, buccaneers, and privateers.

Shanties and Sea Songs

Lyrics to traditional maritime songs, particularly sea shanties.

Story Lovers SOS: Searching Out Stories

Features compilation of more than fifty stories to tell about pirates.


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