One of my favourite themes to use in our play is an Ocean theme. I think is simply because they always turn out so beautifully with all the colours, and there are so many different ways to do an Ocean themed play! Today I put together a round-up of some of my favourite Ocean themed activities that we have done over the past few years!

I hope you enjoy the roundup and it gives you some ideas to do some of your own ocean-themed fun with your little one!


1 | Ocean Themed Sensory Bin

In this set up we used navy beans and dyed them with food colouring. We used our ocean animals, some artificial aquarium plants, seashells, and our fine motor handy scoopers.

Want to dye your own sensory bases? Check out this post: How to Dye Your Own Sensory Bases

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love

2 | Ocean Themed Water Play

It doesn’t get much easier than water play! Here we used some water with a splash of food dye and then tossed in all of our ocean animals, shells, and faux seaweed. This is still one of my favourite setups that we’ve done and I’ve re-used it many times!

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love

If you are looking for more easy water play ideas, check out this post: 18 Easy Water Play Activities for Toddlers


3 | Ocean Themed Play Dough Tray

We love play dough, so of course, we have done an ocean-themed play dough tray! We made our own playdough using our homemade playdough recipe and for this tray, we used neon blue food dye! I tossed in some ocean animals, shells, seaweed, and some play dough tools!

7 Play Dough Trays to Try With Your Child

You may also enjoy: 7 Inviting Play Dough Trays to Try With Your Child


4 | Home Made Beach Sand

Have you ever tried homemade sand? It’s perfect for some ocean-themed fun! You can find the recipe here: How to Make Home Made Sand for Sensory Play

How to Make Home Made Sand for Sensory Play


5 | Build Your Own Ocean

Build your own ocean small world! As my daughter has gotten older, she has started to really enjoy setting up the small world play with me! It has actually become her favourite part! So for this, I laid out all the materials and let her go to town! She loved this activity and the best part is setting it up kept her busy, but then she also played with it long after the setup.

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love


6 | Shaving Cream Ocean Play

Shaving cream has become another favourite sensory base in our house! It’s one that always keeps my toddler busy for a good stretch of time. In this activity, we added a small amount of blue food dye. We also added in our ocean animals, shells and other accessories, our fine motor tongs, and a small container of water. I always include a bin of water when we play with shaving cream so that there is somewhere to rinse hands!

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love


7 | Clean The Ocean

Clean the ocean! We did this activity for Earth Day one year and it was such a hit. We used pasta for our sand and water with blue dye. We added our sea animals and then lots of garbage (pieces of paper, bottle caps, straws, and other odds and ends). The goal was to clean the garbage from the ocean and place it in our make-shift garbage can. This activity was also a great conversation started about the importance of being kind to our Earth and not littering, recycling when possible, etc.


8 | Ocean Themed Sensory Bottle

We love a good sensory bottle! This one in particular turned out so beautifully. What I did here was toss our sea animals, shells, and seaweed from our Ocean sensory bin, into a sensory bottle, and then just added water! We love recycling our activities or changing them up into something fresh, this was a great example of that! Turn your sensory bin into a sensory bottle, so quick and easy!

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love


9 | Feed The Shark

This activity was created for Shark Week one year. A make-shift shark made out of some old cardboard. My daughter was young when we did this one so it was a simple “feed the shark” game, however, if you have older toddlers you could easily turn this into a learning activity by assigning numbers to the fish, rolling a dice, and feeding the shark the correct number.


10 | Ocean themed Jell-O

This activity was lots of fun, and tasty too! I set some ocean creatures and accessories in a pan of blue Jell-O, and once ready let my toddler go to town! She loved helping the animals escape, and she loved eating the Jell-O too! A taste-safe sensory play idea great for all ages.

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love


11 | DIY Ocean themed puzzle

Have you ever tried playdough puzzles? So much fun! I roll out some play dough and then stamp different objects into it. This time it was our ocean animals! Then I invite my toddler to come and place them into the correct spot. The best part is that play dough puzzles typically evolve into playdough free-play, extending the length of time my toddler is occupied! Win-win!

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas That Your Toddler will Love


12 | Ocean Themed Ice Block

A great idea for a hot day! Grab a dish and toss all of your ocean creatures in. Now add water and a splash of blue food colouring. Place your dish in the freezer for a few hours and once frozen, invite your toddler to “free the animals” by squirting the ice with warm water. We use squeeze bottles or our favourite fine motor droppers for this activity!

So there you have it! 12 fun Ocean Invitations to explore with your toddler. I hope you found some inspiration or ideas within this post that you think your toddler will love! If you give any a try, drop a comment below and let me know how it goes!

12 Ocean Themed Play Ideas