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Delightful Dolphins
(God's Animals)
by Sandra Harris

Dolphins seem to be happy creatures who enjoy life. They are good at reminding us to rejoice in the Lord.

Characteristic: being glad; rejoicing

Bible Verse: Be glad in the Lord. Psalm 32:11


Dolphins are very intelligent animals who are also very playful. From our viewpoint, they seem to really enjoy life, and to enjoy people and making others happy. The Bottle-Nosed Dolphin is the star performer at many zoos/aquariums. Common Dolphins swim together in “schools.” They are often seen leaping around ships in joyful fun. Some sailors regard this as a sign of good luck and therefore refuse to kill dolphins.

The Bible tells us to be glad. We can be glad because of who God is. We can be happy being who we are.

Center Activities

Puppet Play: Use puppets to guide conversation and creative play around the topic of emotions. When do we feel happy, sad, angry, thankful, etc.?

Art Center: Use face paints or watercolors and baby shampoo to paint happy clown faces on the children. Provide mirrors so that the children can do some or all of the painting themselves. Alternative: provide paper plates and various art materials so children can draw/paint clown faces on the paper plates. Eye holes can be pre-cut in the plates; when children finish, attach a piece of elastic to either side of the paper plate to make a clown mask.

Table Games: While playing simple games like Chutes and Ladders, Lotto, Candyland, Checkers, etc., encourage children to think about and discuss the following:

Am I always happy when I’m playing, or only when I’m winning?

Do I get upset when I’m losing? Is this a good thing to feel? Why?

Do I help others have fun while we play? How can I do this? How can I help another player enjoy the game even when they might be losing?

Note: this activity is best for ages 5 and up.

Crafts: Dolphin Mobile

(Author’s Note: I really wish I had a scanner for this one. I’ve tried to make my directions explicit.)

From heavy construction paper, cardstock/cardboard or craft foam, cut out 3-5 dolphins per child. Punch a hole near the top of each dolphin and tie a piece of yarn or string to each, varying the lengths (like 5”, 6” and 7”). Have children decorate dolphins with markers and/or collage materials, if desired. For each child, cut two 4” x 12” rectangles of blue paper or craft foam. Have children glue stretched out cotton balls on one (clouds in the sky) and cut a wavy edge on one long side of the other (ocean waves).

To assemble: Punch a hole near top center of waves and near bottom center of sky. Tie one end of 12” length of yarn to sky, the other end to waves. Punch a hole 4” from each end of sky; tie 8” piece to each hole to form a hanger. Punch one hole near bottom edge of sky for each dolphin; tie dolphins to sky. Hang mobile from ceiling or beam.

Variation: Use the bottom of a 2-liter plastic bottle for the sky. Tie ocean waves to center of bottle bottom; tie dolphins around the edge.

Story Time:
Borrow a library book about dolphins or borrow or rent a video about dolphins. In case you can’t find something, here are a few basic facts about dolphins to share with the kids.

Dolphins are small, whale-like mammals whose snouts (noses) look a lot like beaks. They are swift and graceful swimmers who can make sharp turns and sudden stops in the water and high leaps into the air. They are the acrobats of the water world.

Dolphins can locate underwater objects by echolocation, a natural sonar system. They cannot smell, but they have very good senses of sight, hearing and taste.

Dolphins communicate or talk with other dolphins by barking, whistling and making clicking sounds. These sounds are made by blowing air through their blow hole and other air passages. Some dolphins can even make human speech sounds.

Enrichment Ideas

1. Read about Paul and Silas being in prison, Acts 16:16-25. Why were they able to sing in prison? Do we sometimes have to do tough things? Can we learn to be glad even when we have to do things we really don’t want to do?

2. Do a comparison study of dolphins and porpoises. Make a chart of their similarities and differences.

3. Watch an episode of Flipper. Is Flipper a dolphin or a porpoise?

4. Dove begins with the letter D. Read the story of Noah’s Ark. How did the dove cause Noah to be glad?

5. Frame a sheet of clear plexiglass (12” x 12” or larger) and put in a table frame (so that it stands upright on a table like a mirror). Sit two children opposite each other with the plexiglass in between. Have the children: a) try to make each other laugh by making silly faces, b) take turns drawing each other’s expressions on the plexiglass with washable crayons or a bar of soap. In good weather, this activity can be done using a storm door or glass patio door.

6. Make happy face/sad face stick puppets: glue a paper circle to each side of a craft stick. Draw a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. Decorate with yarn hair, etc. if desired.

7. Name things children often do, like go to bed, brush teeth, watch a video, read a book, eat broccoli, eat ice cream, etc. Have them use the happy face/sad face puppet to show how each activity makes them feel.

8. Cut out several paper dolphins. Have children form the letter D or d with them. Review other letter shapes with your “acrobatic” dolphins.

9. Children's Books about dolphins:
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell, 9-12
Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House series), Mary Pope Osborne, 4-8
DK Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and...Mark Carwardine, 4 and up.
DK Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and..., Renee La Bloas, 4-8
Splash! a Book About Whales and Dolphins...Splash!: A Book about Whales and Dolphins, Melvin and Gilda Berger, 4-8
Meeting Dolphins : My Adventures in the..., Kathleen Dudzinski, 9-12
Daniel and the Ivory Princess, Kevin Martin
Dolphins for Kids (Wildlife for Kids..., Patricia Corrigan, 9-12
A Ring of Endless Light, Madeline L’Engle, 9-12
Stormy The Baby Dolphin / A Gulf Coast..., Deb Adamson, 4-8
Discovering Whales and Dolphins..., Janet Craig, 9-12
Whales & Dolphins Coloring Book, John Green
Dolphins Stained Glass, John Green
Whales and Dolphins Stickers (Dover..., Nina Barbaresi




Copyright 2002 Sandra Harris. All rights reserved.