25 Things to Do With Rubber Ducks
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Did you know the rubber duck has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame? It would be easy to think of the rubber duck as just a bath time or water table toy. However, this brightly colored buddy deserves a presence in your program because of its versatility and simplicity. Here are 25 things you and the children can do today with rubber ducks.
- Write a story. Provide rubber ducks in the writing center and encourage children to write duck stories. What sort of adventures could the rubber duck have? What is the duck’s name?
- Learn about buoyancy. What does it mean to float or sink? Encourage children to predict what will happen to ducks that are filled with water or have denser materials attached.
- Build alphabet knowledge and memory skills. On the bottom of 26 rubber ducks, write a capital letter using a permanent marker. On index cards, write the same capital letters. Have children match the ducks to the index card with the same letter. Concentrate on a few letters at a time until you’ve offered the whole alphabet!
- Stamp with rubber ducks! Pour paint in a shallow container or plate, then dip the bottom of the rubber duck into the paint. Stamp away on construction paper. After the paint has dried, draw eyes, beak, and feet with markers. Use different size ducks with different colored paints to make beautiful, unique designs!
- Read with rubber ducks. Add a basket of ducks and the books 10 Little Rubber Ducks, by Eric Carle, and Baby Duck’s New Friend, by Frank Asch and Devin Asch, to the literacy center.
- Focus on geography. Did you know that thousands of rubber ducks once escaped en route from Hong Kong to America? Read Ducky, by Eve Bunting, to learn all about the duck escape of 1992 and all of the different places the ducks ended up!
- Fish for a duck! Attach magnets to ducks floating in the water table and use poles with magnets tied to the strings to fish them out.
- Explore the letter D. What other words begin with this letter and the /d/ sound? Discuss during circle time or in small groups. Add the words to the word wall.
- Take a bath! Provide water, soap, and towels so the children can give the ducks a bath. Use this as a jumping-off point to talk about health and hygiene.
- Pin the beak on the bird. Help children build fine motor skills while playing a popular game. Children can attach a duck’s beak on a larger-than-life-size duck!
- Name the body parts. Humans have different body parts, and so do ducks! What other animals have wings? What about beaks or bills? How do ducks use their different body parts?
- Hold an indoor scavenger hunt. Choose ducks of different colors and find what matches in the classroom. If rubber ducks are yellow, what else is yellow?
- Release stress and enhance focus. Rubber ducks are smushy and squishy. They make great toys to help children relax, relieve tension, focus, and stay calm.
- Compare and contrast. Ask children to search the room for items that are larger or smaller than rubber ducks.
- Teach directional vocabulary. Have children move their ducks left, right, up, down, backward, and forward as they listen to directions. Next time, ask for a volunteer to give the directions.
- Have a puppet show. Children can use rubber ducks as puppets to tell and retell stories.
- Count the ducks! See how high children can count as they pull one rubber duck at a time out of a container.
- What does the duck say? Identify different animal noises during circle time. What do you think rubber ducks would say if they could talk?
- Create rubber duck necklaces. Provide ribbon, string, or yarn, and help children tie a piece around a duck’s neck. Add as many ducks as you would like! Wear the necklace for fun.
- Create a pattern with the ducks. On a flat surface, set six rubber ducks in a pattern—some facing left, right, forward, and backward. Encourage children to fill in the next duck(s) in the pattern. When completed, have children create their own patterns.
- Create an obstacle course. Have children run, jump, and twirl through rows of rubber ducks and other materials found in the classroom.
- Practice balancing. Invite children to place a rubber duck on their heads, and then see how long they can keep it there without touching it. To increase the challenge, direct children to raise their right foot, left foot, and so on. This helps children learn directions and build oral comprehension skills.
- Sing a song of ducks. Incorporate music by singing songs about rubber ducks. If the children enjoy being silly, encourage them to create their own odes to rubber ducks!
- Practice shape recognition. Make squares, rectangles, circles, and octagons on the floor with masking tape. Have children toss their ducks into the shapes as you name them.
- Let the children decide! Have each child choose a duck and an activity. Watch their imaginations soar as they plan ways to play with their new friend.