Mermaids are not historically a very good female representation for my young kids (creatures who use their physical beauty and singing voices to lead unsuspecting love struck men to a watery death) and while there is less death in the contemporary versions, Mermaids today are certainly not much better in terms of an example for my kids to model their understanding of the world and relationships!
My children however love the whimsy of mermaids, and while it’s a parents job to guide their kids interests to a certain degree, it is also my responsibility to follow their passion and use it to our learning advantage. This is a simple little bonus activity for anyone else who has children who love the watery depths at a fictitious level.
Me as a mermaid:
Have child lay on a large piece of paper (we used brown wrapping paper to get the length)
Trace around upper body.
Finish lower body with a fish like tail.
Draw, paint and decorate with sparkly sequins and glitter.
Cut out and hang in your living room for all the world to see.
As we decorated our mermaids we sung “Yellow Submarine” (the closest thing I know to a sea shanty) and introduced a few of the historical ideas about the stories sailors told of mermaids. We questioned whether mermaids are fact or fiction (50/50 votes in our house), and we looked at a number of historical drawings of the creatures. (By chance I have inherited a book that tracks the art depicting mermaids through the centuries, though similar resources would also be available at your local library.)
NOTE: Yes, I know it’s a stretch to include mermaids under the letter S as a “Singing Siren from the Sea,” but with all this Sea action – some “W= whales and water” to follow – and a little “O= octopus in the ocean” after that – Mermaids had to come now so they could swim in the watery depths with the other sea creatures.