In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of sharks. I adore swimming in the ocean, and thinking about sharks swimming around me makes me nervous. And I’ve never even watched Jaws! Still, one of my coworkers is a total shark person, so I decided to celebrate Shark Week pretty much because of her. And, as it turns out, I learned a lot about sharks in the process…and may even appreciate them a little bit more. Besides, she brought in cupcakes. So there’s that.
There are a lot of very good shark books out there, especially in the nonfiction realm. While I tend to choose picture books be early readers, I made an exception this time and displayed and read a combination of both. Here are my favorites.
- Amazing Sharks! was, in my opinion, pretty much the perfect nonfiction book for kids. Easy to read and with great pictures, it made me realize I had probably judged sharks unfairly. They really are pretty amazing!
- A fun little picture book, I’m a Shark by Bob Shea is actually more about fear than about sharks, but it was a great book that had both me and the kids laughing out loud.
- Also a picture book, Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale was a stand out title which I recommend highly for kids who sometimes just can’t be calm.
The craft this time was such a blast! We made a trio of clothespin sharks, each one great by itself or as part of a ocean scene. You should have seen the kids swimming their sharks around and making them eat everything. It was fabulous!
I have done clothespin animals before, and I knew sharks would be perfect. But I had a very difficult time finding good templates online. There was one from the folks at Kix Cereal, though, so I used that one, then altered a couple others I found until I got something I liked. Here’s the template I used.
The supplies are so simple. Just a copy of the template, coloring tools, scissors, a toothpick, and some glue. You can add a wiggle eye, if you’d like, and I let the kids use pinking shears to make teeth on one of the sharks, but that’s optional.
The kids just colored the sharks and then cut them out, gluing half a shark onto each side of the clothespin. I generally lined up the end of the tail so it just covers the spring portion, but you can play around with it to see what works best for you.
They were much more creative with color than I was. And that’s always a good thing!
One of the sharks was just a cut and glue job, but the other two required just a little more work to make them super fun.
For this shark, we added a wiggle eye and also glued the little fish to a toothpick which we glued inside the shark’s mouth. It’s actually glued on to the clothespin on the side away from the paper shark so that the fish doesn’t get in the way of the mouth opening and closing. I tried a myriad of placements, and this worked the best. After the fish is glued on to the toothpick, let it dry. Then figure out the best angle of the toothpick so the fish will be in the mouth when opened. Then glue it down and let it dry. Perfect!
For this shark, I didn’t put in a cut line, instead giving each kid a chance to pick their favorite pinking shears which they used to cut the front half of the shark, making some very cool teeth. Regular scissor cut through the rest and it’s ready to glue. Super fun!
The kids ended up making very cool sharks and walked away with a far greater appreciation for this truly magnificent fish.