Into the Blue—Fun Ocean Themed Activities for Kids
From running in the waves at the beach, to exploring aquarium exhibits, and peering into tidepools, time spent interacting with the ocean is sure to ignite a child’s curiosity. At home, little ones can snuggle with a plush octopus, watch Nemo find his way home, or listen to whale songs to fall asleep.
The summer is a great time to foster a love and respect of the ocean in your little one. Rich in biodiversity and containing a multitude of incredible ecosystems, the ocean offers endless opportunities for learning and skill development for children!
So, what can preschoolers learn about the ocean?
Containing around 240,000 kinds of known species and millions of organisms, the ocean is wildly rich in the variety of species and types of life that it houses. From mammals to fish to reptiles, children can begin to build their recognition skills by identifying and sorting the various creatures that call the ocean home by species and even place them in the food chain. Not only will they become more familiar with different species of fish, dolphins, turtles, and crustaceans, to name a few, but they can also start to comprehend the vastness of the ocean, strengthening their spatial knowledge. Coming to terms with just how big the ocean is and just how much life it can hold is a great way for little ones to expand their horizons.
2. Functions of The Ocean
Apart from housing various ecosystems, the ocean is the source of Earth’s unique nickname: “the Blue Planet.” It also provides food to millions of people who make their livelihood through coastal activities like fishing, and has been a means of transportation for people around the world for tens of thousands of years. Furthermore, according to NOAA the ocean is responsible for absorbing almost 30% of Carbon Dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere, making it essential to keeping the global climate crisis under control.
These and the many other functions of the ocean help children understand the importance of this massive waterbody. Recognizing the benefits humans reap from the ocean, from food to transportation to a hospitable climate, builds a respect for nature and encourages sustainable and environmental-friendly practices in little ones.
3. How to Care for the Ocean
Once they’ve grasped how incredible and important the ocean is, children can start to care for it themselves. Parents can help with this by instilling good practices and a spirit of compassion and courage in their little ones. One way to do this is by pointing out whenever you see garbage in the street or gutter. If it’s safe you can model good behavior for your little one by placing it in the trash. Discuss with your child why you want to help to ensure the trash doesn’t end up flowing out to the ocean. Recycling, reducing, and reusing are concepts that can be introduced at an early age to help children think of interventions for keeping the oceans clean.
As children start to understand abstract concepts such as consequences for certain actions, they can start building practices that contribute towards a more sustainable and healthier ocean. Activities for these practices can also hone their problem solving and logical thinking skills by making them work towards practical and creative solutions.
Now, let’s look at some ways children can learn about the ocean while also reaching important developmental milestones.
For example, learning activities for kids ages 3 and up include:
The ocean-themed tile connectors game will challenge your young ones to think of combinations to save their marine mates. It is an exciting game developed by Skillmatics for exploring new strategies and decision-making.
b. Deep Dive
Dive into numbers along with creatures from the sea! This engaging puzzle helps strengthen your little one’s numeracy recognition skills. Included in the Skillmatics learning kit, Deep Dive is designed with precision to meet your child’s developmental goals.
Interactive and imaginative, ocean themed books for children keep them engaged and intrigued. Here are some of our top picks:
National Geographic Kid’s First Big Book of the Ocean: For future oceanographers, this book is a great place to begin. The book is overflowing with vivid graphics and snippets of cool facts about the environment of the deep waters of the ocean.
Ocean–A Peek through Picture Book: A great reference guide for children, this book is a creative and colorful exploration of underwater life.
Protector of the Ocean: A Children’s book about Protecting the Planet: A heartwarming narration of courage and kindness, this book will instill in children the confidence to respect the environment and take care of the ocean.
Big Book of the Blue: Filled with fascinating illustrations of the depths of the ocean, this engaging book teaches children about the predators that live there in a lighthearted and engaging manner.
Similarly, some activities for kids ages 6 and up include:
Guess in 10: An interesting spin on the classic guessing game, Guess in 10—the underwater animal edition—allows children to test their knowledge. A great game to take along on road trips to the beach - it’s engaging for all ages!
The Best Resources: By this age, children start interacting with resources on the Internet. Thus, useful links to introduce them to marine life include Oceana’s Marine Life Encyclopedia.
Themed Printables: Printables are a lot of fun to design and can come in handy on days it is not possible to go out. Ocean themed printables can include engaging puzzles for children that offer them the chance to dive into learning about the sea from the comfort of their home.
Jellyfish Crafts: Undertake a craft-project with your kids as they design beautiful and colorful jellyfish. Using products available at home, they can create artistic masterpieces to capture the ocean’s beauty.
Oceans are an incredibly important part of our lives, affecting us in direct and indirect ways. Learning about the diversity it holds and understanding the steps for its conservation are important as well. This cultivates a sense of gratitude towards nature and positively impacts your child’s enthusiasm toward living an environmentally conscious lifestyle as they grow.