Excerpted from S.O.S. Songs of the Sea by Lynn Kleiner.

Looking for creative and musical ways to keep your young children entertained (and learning!) for the remainder of the summer? What if you spent some time under the sea? Incorporating the perfect mix of music, creativity, yummy snacks, and fun will keep both you and your kids busy, while immersing them in a joyful, creative learning experience (without them even knowing they’re learning)!

Song: “Down by the Bay”


This traditional song is great for echo singing and solos. Solos give children a chance to make up their own verses as well as hear their own voice. The song can also be sung without the echoes, or as a call and response as shown in the music.

Fun suggestions for verses:

  • Have you ever seen a fish, swimming in a dish?
  • Did you ever see a rock, wearing a sock
  • Have you ever seen an eel, wrapped around a seal?
  • Did you ever see a hand, poking in the sand?
  • Did you ever see a squid, dancing with a kid?
  • Did you ever see a goat, sailing a boat?
  • Did you ever see a whale, with a polka-dot tail?
  • Did you ever see beans, as big as submarines?
  • Did you ever see a clam, eating a ham?

You can also make up verses using the children’s names:

  • Did you ever see Lynn, sitting on a pin?
  • Did you ever see Marie, climbing up a tree?
  • Did you ever see Paul, stumble down and fall?
  • Did you ever see Claire, looking rather bare?
  • Did you ever see Sam, trying to ride a lamb?
  • Did you ever see Camille, swimming with an eel?
  • Did you ever see Heather, playing in good weather?
  • Did you ever see Mike, riding on his bike?


Coloring Activity:

Color and bring these sea creatures to life by making stick puppets. Then go back and make them dance when you sing “Down by the Bay!”


Craft: Make an Ocean Drum

What You Need:

  • Clear plastic round food container with a ridged lid—the larger the container, the better
  • Small colored beads, rice, tiny shells, small beans or seeds
  • Colorful electrical or masking tape
  • Paper and paint or markers
  • Glue or tape
  • 2 Pencils or chopsticks for mallets

What You Do:

  • Cut the paper the same size and shape as the bottom of the container.
  • Paint or color a design or picture on the paper.
  • Glue or tape the paper to the inside bottom of the container.
  • Fill with ¼ cup of tiny beads, rice, seeds or beans.
  • Place the lid on the container.
  • Tape the container shut using the colorful tape.

Ways to Play

  • Ocean sounds: Slowly tip drum from side to side.
  • Shaker: Move the ocean drum up and down or side to side, or any combination of these.
  • Drum: Use two chopsticks or pencils to play on the top of the lid.
  • Guiro (pronounced wē-rō): Use a chopstick or pencil to play the ridges on the side of the lid.

Snack: Octopus Hot Dogs

What You Need:

  • Hot Dogs
  • Cooking Pan
  • Water
  • Stove top
  • Knife

What You Do:

  • Leave the top inch of the hot dog whole.
  • Cut rest of the hotdog lengthwise into eighths.
  • Boil hotdogs.
  • Optional: Make eyes with ketchup or mustard.

While summer vacation is a long-awaited break where kids can finally kick back and relax, it’s also important to keep children engaged with hands-on and creative activities such as these. So keep those brains, hands, and bodies moving with music this summer and have some fun under the sea!

Songs-of-the-SeaThe content from this article is excerpted from Songs of the Sea, by Lynn Kleiner. S.O.S. Songs of the Sea is the perfect mix of music, creativity, and fun for music teachers, classroom teachers, child care providers—and kids! Students will enjoy learning about the sea and its creatures through the engaging songs and reproducible activities. Classroom curriculum, music, crafts, and snacks are integrated, overlapped and joined to immerse students in a joyful, creative learning experience.