National Rubber Duck Day—January 13
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What is yellow, squishy, easy-to-grasp, and provides an instant smile? A rubber ducky, of course!
For most children, bath time or backyard pool time experiences are enhanced by the simple plastic (not rubber) cartoon version of the famous water fowl. From the ever-familiar Ernie and his tiny rubber ducky to the giant smile maker created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, rubber ducks have a way of creating positive memories.
January 13 is National Rubber Duck Day. Why not celebrate by bringing a dozen or so of these cute creatures into your classroom to create positive educational memories for the little ones in your life?
Below is a list of Rubber Duck-themed Activities to use to celebrate National Rubber Duck Day with the fanfare it deserves:
1. Conduct an internet exploration of the story of what happened to 28,000* rubber ducks in 1992.**
A brief summary of the event:In 1992, a cargo ship from China was transporting a container with 28,000 plastic bath toys—ducks, frogs, etc, to the United States. The container fell overboard, spilling the plastic animals into the Pacific Ocean. Since that time, the rubber ducks have appeared all across the globe. Many of them, however, continue to be trapped in the North Pacific Gyre, a vortex of water that circulates between western North America and Asia.
*Many online resources state that there were 28,000 ducks. However, upon further research, I have found that ducks were only part of the set of plastic animals that were lost at sea.
**This is a great opportunity to discuss how myths are often generated from facts. Encourage children to establish credibility of the source. For example, one site listed the ducks as originating from Japan. They began their journey in China, not Japan.
2. Using the images provided with this resource or a set of rubber ducks and a world map, practice identifying the continents and countries where the ducks have been spotted. Children can match the international ducks to the region or use the ducks to trace the path the ducks took to reach their destination. List the oceans that the ducks traversed to get to their final locations.
This is another opportunity to demonstrate the connection between oceans.
3. Conduct an internet search to identify locations where the giant rubber duck created by Florentijn Hofman has been displayed. Mark those locations on a globe or map.
*There are some great videos of this giant duck. Most recently, the giant rubber duck was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.4. Use the information obtained with the internet search in number 3 to compare the size of the ducks children play with to the giant rubber duck. This activity can be easily modified for different levels. For example, estimate how many small rubber ducks it would take to equal the height of the giant rubber duck. For younger children, provide the estimate and practice rote counting. For older children, measure the ducks and calculate the answer.
5. Give a duck to each of your children. Ask them to track the path the duck takes to run an errand. For example, how many left and right turns does it take to go from home to the grocery store? Instead of listing oceans, list the street names where their duck traveled.
6. Read 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. This book addresses the following concepts:
· Positional words
· Compass directions
· Comparing items (living ducks with rubber ducks)
· Target audience: Pre-K-1
7. Provide each child with a rubber duck to write a story about where that duck could travel.
8. For older children, connect the great rubber duck disaster to environmental awareness. Conduct an internet search to learn of other items that are trapped in the North Pacific Gyre. Create a list of ways to reduce the impact humans make on the world in which we live.