Under the Sea EYFS: Engaging Early Years Learning Activities

Written by Dan

Exploring the vibrant underwater world can be a magical experience for young children. Incorporating “Under the Sea” into Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) activities helps children engage with different types of fish, seahorses, and even sharks while honing their skills in phonics, math, and creativity. This rich theme offers countless opportunities for playful learning and development.

Colorful coral reefs teeming with vibrant fish, swaying sea plants, and a curious octopus hiding in a cave

Through exciting activities like craft projects, sensory jars, and interactive games, children can learn about the ocean’s density, waves, and marine life. These engaging early years resources are designed to align with the EYFS framework, fostering a hands-on approach to understanding the world beneath the waves.

For those looking to enrich their curriculum, resources from Twinkl provide a comprehensive collection of activities tailored to young learners. From bubblewrap octopus crafts to magnetic fishing games, the thematic ideas bring the curious world of the sea directly into the classroom.

Understanding EYFS Framework

A colorful coral reef teeming with sea creatures, surrounded by clear blue water and sunlight filtering through the waves

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework guides practitioners in supporting children’s learning and development. It includes areas from cognitive to physical growth, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive approach.

Importance of Sensory Activities

Sensory activities are vital within the EYFS framework as they stimulate multiple senses, aiding in various developmental areas.

These activities help children explore and understand their surroundings through touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. Using early years resources such as sand and water play can improve fine motor skills and coordination. For example, playing with textured materials can enhance tactile experiences and brain development.

Incorporating activities like listening to different sounds can sharpen auditory skills. Visual activities, such as identifying colors, assist in cognitive growth. Taste and smell activities, like cooking or using scented playdough, can increase sensory awareness. By engaging multiple senses, these activities support a well-rounded early learning experience.

For more information on sensory activities tailored to the EYFS framework, visit Twinkl’s Under the Sea Activities.

Planning Under the Sea Activities

Planning under the sea activities for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) can be engaging and educational. These activities should be designed to meet specific learning objectives and require various resources and materials.

Activity Objectives

The key objectives for under the sea activities include developing children’s creativity, understanding of sea life, and motor skills.

Children can learn about different sea creatures like fish, dolphins, and whales through creative projects and hands-on activities. The goal is to make learning interactive and fun, so children remain engaged.

Activities could include making fish out of colored paper, creating a sea world in a sandbox, or practicing counting with seashells. Each activity should aim to build on key skills such as counting, recognizing colors, and following instructions.

Resources and Materials

To carry out these activities, various resources and materials are needed.

For craft activities, items such as colored paper, glue, scissors, and markers are essential. Other useful materials include seashells, sand, and small sea creature figurines for sensory bins, which can be easily found at most craft stores or online.

Helpful teaching resources can be found online, many of which are free to download. These resources provide templates, lesson plans, and other tools to help structure the activities. Using these ready-made plans can save time and ensure activities are educationally valuable.

Literacy and Comprehension

Fostering literacy and comprehension in early years is essential. Reading activities themed around the sea can enhance vocabulary and understanding.

Storytelling with Sea Themes

Storytelling plays an important role in early literacy. Using sea themes like the Rainbow Fish captivates young readers’ imaginations.

Integrate picture books that feature marine life and underwater adventures. These stories not only enchant children but also improve their vocabulary.

Interactive reading sessions, where children are encouraged to act out or draw parts of the story, make learning fun.

Activities include describing sea creatures to boost descriptive language skills. Children can write or dictate short stories about their underwater explorations.

Using simple, decodable sentences helps early readers practice phonics and word recognition, key to building strong reading foundations.

Under the Sea Literacy Ideas EYFS and Phase 4 EYFS Reading Comprehension Activity offer various resources and activities.

These tailored resources support both storytelling and comprehension skills, essential for early years literacy development.

Visual and Auditory Stimulation

A colorful coral reef sways gently as schools of fish dart through the crystal-clear water. The sound of waves and the chatter of marine life create a symphony of underwater sounds

Visual and auditory stimulation play a key role in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Using an under the sea theme, educators can create engaging displays and activities.

Visual elements:

  • Colorful posters of sea creatures like fish, seahorses, and sharks can adorn classroom walls.
  • Aquarium setups or large water-themed murals create immersive experiences.
  • Children can look at and talk about picture books like “The Rainbow Fish.”

Auditory elements:

  • Underwater soundtracks featuring waves and marine life add atmosphere.
  • Storytime with sea-themed books, such as “The Whale’s Song,” can incorporate sound effects.

Interactive activities:

  • Use of shells and sand in sensory bins provides a tactile and visual experience.
  • Listening games where children identify sounds of the sea can enhance auditory skills.

Digital resources:

  • Educational videos about sea creatures can be played on a digital display.
  • Interactive apps with under the sea themes can help integrate technology in learning.


  • Enhances observation skills through visual stimulation.
  • Improves listening abilities with focused auditory activities.
  • Encourages language development as children discuss what they see and hear.

For further activity ideas and planning tips, Twinkl offers a comprehensive EYFS under the sea planning resource that covers all these elements and more.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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