Monday, July 9, 2012

Word-Eating Whale [Nouns & Verbs]

Did you see? Stores are already putting school supplies out!! To keep my son from forgetting some of the valuable information he learned in first grade, I thought a recap of parts of speech was in order.

My inspiration was the amazing recycled whale I saw on Growing Up Gardner

Once our empty gallon-sized plastic milk carton was rinsed out and dry, I outlined the mouth on the bottom of the carton and cut it out using a craft Exacto knife. 

Then I added the eyes and fins (oops, I forgot a blowhole!!) with a permanent marker.

I took the cap off the milk carton and grabbed a stash of plastic lids I’d been saving (21 in all). I divided the lids into two (almost even) groups and, with a permanent black marker, wrote verbs on about half of the lids and nouns on the rest.

Now I filled up the bathtub with a few inches of water and threw the lids in, word-side up.

Before doing anything else we read Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day, a playful book about what nouns and verbs are and how much they need each other to make sentences. Super fun!

After reading, my two boys headed into the bathroom, stripped off their socks, and my oldest waded in the tub (the youngest joined in the fun shortly thereafter). I explained: “The whale is hungry. He only eats verbs for lunch. If he accidentally eats a noun, he’ll spit it back out into the water in disgust.”

My son steered the whale through the water, carefully scooping up lids. He held the whale upright to drain the excess water out of the milk jug lid’s hole before putting the verbs he’d caught into a plastic bin that I'd set out.

He made a few mistakes and really had to think when I told him “baseball” was not a verb. “But I can do it, Mom!” To which I responded, “You play baseball. And play is a verb, not baseball. It’s a thing.” Now he understood and made the whale spit the lid back out.

This whale has been loads of fun. Not only have we practiced nouns and verbs, but it's a great bath toy (my toddler loves it too!).


  1. Love this idea! So much more interactive an a regular sort!

  2. I've got a similar activity pinned for Jonah. The sharpie is smart because paint just slips right off.

  3. This is such a cute idea! Just pinned it onto our Sight Word and Word Family Board

  4. Oh yes, I find that verbs upset my tummy too... ;0)

  5. I love this idea! It seems very engaging! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Ooohhhh so much fun! I love how there are so many different possibilities to use this for preschoolers too. Thanks for another amazing idea!

  7. What a fun idea! Thanks for mentioning Growing up Gardner! Your whale turned out great! -Amanda