Parents | Raising readers & learners.

Home of Parent & Child Magazine

Life in a Fishbowl

Encouraging your baby to look closely at living things brings plenty of learning opportunities.
 

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Attention and Focus
Vocabulary
Reading
Observation

What you need:

  • Fishbowl with cover 
  • Fish 

What to do:

  1. Buy a sturdy fishbowl and some colorful, easy-to-care-for fish. Babies and toddlers adore goldfish with long fancy tails, so a small fishbowl is a wonderful and soothing learning experience! (Be sure to buy a heavy top for the fishbowl, or else loving and enthusiastic toddlers may want to "take fishie out for a walk.")
  2. Watch the fish. Sit with baby on your lap and the fishbowl on a table in front of you. Talk softly about how the fish swims back and forth. Be sure to label the things you see: the fish's gills, tail, mouth, eyes, and so on.
  3. Invite toddlers to feed the fish. As Mr. Rogers often demonstrated on his TV program, feeding the fish just a little bit of food every day is one way to care for another creature.
  4. Talk about the fish. Read a story like Swimmy by Leo Lionni, or look at colorful nonfiction books so that your toddler becomes aware of the different sizes and styles of fishes. Be aware that little children are very puzzled by some natural events, such as the death of a fish. Use such opportunities for talking about life cycles and how important nurturing is.

Learning benefits:

  • Strengthens observations skills 
  • Builds vocabulary 
  • Encourages nurturing

The Reading Toolkit