Cut and Paste Ocean Patterns

This month we have been featuring summer worksheets to help you get your kids motivated to do “work” during the summer…or to use in a Summer occupational therapy session. Today we are adding another one to the toolbox!  Cut and Paste Ocean Patterns is yours to download for free. 

We also recently added our Ice Cream I Spy activity to our free downloads. We have other ocean and fish themed free OT worksheets as well:

Ocean animals cut and paste worksheet

Cut and Paste Worksheet for Summer

It is no secret that I love summer.  I love it even more, now that I am working in the schools and have nine weeks off!  I spent 25 years working year-round in a clinic. During those years I witnessed the struggles parents had keeping their learners engaged during the summer.  Parents (and their teachers/therapists) also had to contend with summer learning loss.

As a parent of grown children, I spent many summers keeping my girls active and cognitively engaged.  I have mentioned it several times, but I want everyone to understand the impact summer learning loss has on your child.

Hint- our ocean animals pattern activity is a cut and paste worksheet that is perfect for Summer!

Summer Learning Loss Facts

  • Students lose the equivalent of one month of learning during the summer vacation source
  • Students lose up to 2.6 months of math skills over the summer
  • Reading skills decline by about the equivalent of two months
  • Summer learning loss can be recognized as early as Grade One
  • Teachers spent up to six weeks reviewing past material in the fall to make up for summer learning loss

Those numbers are staggering, aren’t they? This was my panic every summer when my girls were young.  One way to minimize the summer slide is by adding daily routines and seated work. This does not mean eight ours at the kitchen table.  It means 20 minutes daily of targeted work.


One way to get started is by gathering resources to meet the needs of your learners. This Cut and Paste worksheet is a good start! It’s an ocean animals pattern activity so it’s a great therapy theme for the Summer months.

Pair the cut and paste worksheet with the I Spy and Handwriting worksheets offered this month, and you are well on your way to developing a summer home program or treatment plan.  To get your FREE Cut and Paste Ocean Patterns PDF, simply enter your email in the box below. By the magic of the internet, your PDF will travel from our creator at the OT Toolbox, to YOUR inbox.

Want to avoid having to enter your email address below?  Become a member today.  Not only will you get these free cut and paste worksheets at your fingertips, but there is a ton of member only content available to you.  As a bonus, the materials in the member section are gathered into topics and categories for easy browsing.


The directions are simple and straight forward on this one. 

  1. Color the animals on the worksheet.
  2. Then ask learners to cut the images.
  3. Glue them into the correct spaces to create patterns on the worksheet.

STEAM learning, or science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is at the forefront of learning.  Adding the “A” is new, to expand the reach of the program. Pattern learning is an important math concept. We are adding a dynamic component to it with scissors, crayons, and glue.

Take your project to the next level by asking learners to color the objects they see in matching colors.  Not only does this help build visual motor skills, but sorting items by color will aid your learners to understand the pattern concept.

If you are like me, you may have 100 kids on your caseload, all in different levels.  Even if you only have ten, they are likely to have different abilities. As a busy caregiver or practitioner, it is important to streamline your offerings to meet the needs of as many learners as possible.


There are some great ways to grade or modify this cut and paste ocean patterns worksheet to meet your learners where they are:

  • Precut the shapes for your learners who are not able to cut the squares
  • Shorten the activity by skipping the coloring section
  • Use Bingo markers or stickers to match the pattern instead of coloring. Using different colors will help them solve the pattern easier
  • Take out the motor component by adding to a smart board and moving the pieces with your pointer or finger
  • Higher level learners can write the matching words to the pictures, then create a story or memory.  This turns into a multilevel activity to use during many sessions.  They can also draw about their ideas, or copy the designs.
  • Laminate the page for reusability. This saves on resources, and many learners love to write with markers! Note: while some learners love to use wipe off sheets, others become upset they cannot take their work with them.  For those who want to save their work, consider taking a screenshot of it. 
  • When you laminate the worksheet, you can vary how you do it.  Precolor the shapes to make matching easier, have learners use dry erase markers to color the items, or use grease pencils/crayons to color inside the shapes.
  • Enlarging the font may be necessary to beginning level students who need bigger space to cut and color.
  • Vary the level or types of prompting offered, to grade the activity, to make it easier or harder
  • Drippy wet glue is messy, and not as convenient as glue stick, however it is superior for different reasons.  The added benefit is the sensory input from touching the wet glue, as well as fine motor strengthening from squeezing the bottle is worth the sticky mess.

How to Adapt a Cut and Paste Worksheet

You can use some of our tips (from an experienced OT) to take your ocean worksheet to the next level and meet different levels with the same sheet.

Think ouside the box by turning making this into a new activity all together, or using it as part of a larger plan.

  • Velcro the back of the squares, after laminating and cutting them, to create a matching game.  Velcro adds fine motor resistance for improving pincer skills and hand strength.
  • Make this cut and paste ocean worksheet part of a larger lesson plan, including gross motor, sensory, social, executive function, or other fine motor skills
  • Talk about the pictures, describe their characteristics, and give context clues to help your learner understand why certain pictures match
  • Learners can explore other games they could make using this activity 
  • Gross motor – run across the room collecting pieces to add to the cut and paste ocean activity. This is a great activity for an OT obstacle course.
  • Sensory – put the pieces into a sensory bin with an ocean theme. Use aquarium gravel as the base to your ocean themed sensory box.
  • Executive function – hand the papers out with very limited instruction. Record how well your learners can follow instructions and make the picture look exactly like the example.

The possibilities for grading and modifying activities like this free cut and paste ocean patterns worksheet are endless.


Do you think about the materials you offer to your learners as you hand them out?  Something as simple as changing the writing tool, type of scissors, or paper weight can make a big difference.  I mentioned glue above. Changing from a glue stick to wet glue can have a big impact on how the project goes.


  • small toddler scissors are just right for tiny hands. 
  • Self-opening or loop scissors are another way to make cutting easier for those learning to cut, or lacking the intrinsic hand muscles to open and close scissors.  
  • Did you know left-handed people cut in a clockwise direction while their right handed friends cut counter-clockwise?  This allows the helper hand to support the paper adequately while cutting.
  • See this article on developing scissor skills.


  • lightweight paper is much more difficult to stabilize than heavy weight construction or cardstock paper.  
  • Colored paper may be easier or more difficult for children to work with because of color contrasts.
  • The page can be laminated first, using wipe off markers to color in the design.  This is a great way to make this page reusable. Cutting the pieces before coloring it may be necessary.  Although this takes away the cutting task, it may be a great adaptation for children who are not able to cut yet.

Types of writing utensils:

  • There are endless possibilities for coloring and writing. Markers, highlighters, crayons, colored pencils, paints, watercolor, chalk, or dry erase pens all provide different input, and require different levels of fine motor skill to manipulate. 
  • Small one inch crayons are excellent for developing those tiny hand muscles.  
  • Chalk, with its grainy texture, provides sensory feedback and can be a positive (or negative) experience
  • Markers glide easily, requiring less precision and grip strength.  Pipsqueak are smaller versions of traditional markers and are easier for smaller hands to grip.  They now come in fat and skinny versions.
  • Dot markers (Bingo pens) are great for making big marks
  • There are several different types of pencils and grips to try. Try the different types of pencil grips and see what works for each learner. 
  • Change writing utensils to appeal to different students, and improve their level of motivation. 

When you first begin to break your treatment plan down into its parts, it can seem like a lot of work. As with anything new, there is a learning curve.  Many of the adaptations and modifications come easily to me at this point in my career.  By doing this work, I am more efficient and effective. 


Teachers know what they are doing when they create fun lesson plans. It engages their students, and adds meaning to their work.  You can do the same with this cut and paste ocean page, along with some other fun activities:

  • Create an ocean themed sensory bin – there are many variables to this fun idea
  • Use our ocean animals matching game. You can use it virtually with the slide decks, or open the slide deck and print off the pages as a PDF.
  • Use hands on activities from our beach activity ideas.
  • Outdoor sensory paths – take your learning outdoors
  • Beach Therapy Kit -This Beach-themed Therapy Kit has everything you need to work on handwriting, scissor skills, self-regulation, motor planning, gross motor skills, and visual motor development…all with a Beach theme!
  • Pattern Activities for Kids Math Play
  • Learning Pattern Mats
  • Mermaid & Sandcastle Activity– Another free Google slide deck, this one is a fun interactive activity where kiddos can move the mermaid’s accessories. Have them write the words, recall the items they added, all while working on sequencing, motor planning, fine motor work & more. Then, use the interactive sandcastle slides to decorate a sandcastle. There’s also a writing prompt slide to address more handwriting or typing skills.
  • Scissor Skills Printable Pack – need to work on scissor skills?  Here you go!
  • Narwhal craft– great for scissor skills!
  • Beach crafts and activities– sensory & fine motor play ideas with a beach theme
  • Sensory diet activities at the beach– a sensory lifestyle incorporates the environment into sensory needs. When vacations or travel take sensory families on the road, self-regulation can occur anywhere.
  • Executive function at the beach– Use beach experiences to develop executive functioning skills in fun with the family.
  • This Narwhal craft is great for scissor skills and challenges graded scissor skills in cutting simple and complex shapes.
  • Beach ball seating idea– Need a sensory solution that doesn’t break the bank? Use a beach ball as an inexpensive sensory seat!
  • Beach play dough– Create a sensory play experience with a beach theme and challenge fine motor skills.

Hopefully this post inspired you to create an amazing ocean themed or summer lesson plan based on our latest freebie: The Cut and Paste Ocean Patterns worksheet.

Free Ocean Pattern Printable

Get the printable here, by entering your email address into the form. This one is also found inside our Membership club.

FREE Ocean Animals Cut and Paste Worksheet

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at anytime.

    Victoria Wood, OTR/L is a contributor to The OT Toolbox and has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.

    Ocean animals cut and paste worksheet