Cian, aged three, asked for the sea animals and some water to play with. I got the water tray out, gave him a jug of water and waited to see what he would do.


  • Sea animals
  • Shells
  • Water tray
  • Hedge cuttings


“This is the sea grass for the manatee…”

“This shark has got sea grass on him. Should we make it go off?”

The walrus went for a ride on the sea turtles back.

“This shark is beautiful, because he can snap his teeth at tusks. And this walrus can say, “Snappy, snappy, snappy, snappy, snappy…”

Cian used some shells to make an extra long tooth for the narwal.

Cian showed me how fish clean a sea turtles back. He had seen this in his National Geographic magazine, where surgeonfish graze on the algae on the sea turtles back and flippers. The fish get a nutritious meal; and with smoother shells, the turtles can swim more easily, saving energy on their migratory journeys back to the beaches where they were born.

“His tusks are very smooth, shall I make them very big?”

While Cian was getting changed for bed, Ioan came and had a go making some long tusks for the walrus and a long tooth for the narwhal. I asked whether Ioan could find a rough shell, and Cian found one for us.

Now that the turtle’s shell was clean, Cian placed a large shell on it’s back to show how clean it was. Following on from the conversation above, Cian gave the manatee a shell horn and said, “Look the manatee isn’t a sea cow now, it’s a sea unicorn like a narwal.”

Cian asked Ioan to help him take some pictures so it looked like the manatee was eating the sea grass.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Communication and language

ELG 03 – Speaking:

Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

Personal, social and emotional development

ELG 08 – Making relationships:

Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

Understanding the world

ELG 14 – The world:

Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.