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How To Teach Children About Ocean Conservation

Teaching kids about the importance of wildlife conservation has never been more important than it is today. Ocean life is challenged in unique ways by a changing climate and other factors like the altered acidity that comes with it and learning how to contribute to preservation efforts early helps build character and good citizenship. If you are wondering where to start, the good news is that there are a few accessible ways to get into the discussion with kids. Just remember to engage children with age appropriate ideas and activities so that they are able to get excited and learn. 

Read Books About Marine Life

Any time you’re looking to engage kids with new knowledge, it helps to get them involved with books. Not only can they get the facts before engaging with other activities, it helps them develop the literacy skills they need to be successful at teaching themselves down the road. Here are some great suggestions for children’s books to get the conversation rolling:

  •     “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister
  •     “Somewhere in the Ocean” by Jennifer Ward
  •     “What if There Were No Sea Otters?” by Suzanne Slade
  •     “A Swim Through the Sea” by Kristin Joy Pratt
  •     “Down to the Sea With Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen

All these books are top picks with teachers and ocean conservation professionals alike. You will even find many of them in the gift shops at zoos and aquariums in the San Diego area.

Watch Ocean Documentaries

Not every kid learns best by reading, although it is good for every kid to spend some time learning through reading to build those reading skills. When you need to engage kids with new information that might be hard to understand via text or you’re dealing with kids that learn best from a more active visual example, ocean documentaries are a great choice. Pick ocean documentaries that reinforce and expand on the topics from your choice books to extend kids’ knowledge even deeper on key issues.

  •     Disney’s Dolphin Reef
  •     Relevant episodes of Nova on PBS
  •     A wide variety of National Geographic specials on Disney+
  •     My Octopus Teacher
  •     A Plastic Ocean
  •     The Cove

If none of these examples look quite right for your next lesson, there are always new choices popping up if you search your streaming service of choice.

Visit Aquariums

There’s nothing like engaging with wildlife to help kids understand the importance of preserving it. Aquariums are often the only way to put kids where they can see some of the world’s more fantastic creatures because of their remote habitats. Of course, after going to the local aquarium you can also take them out to those habitats. You won’t see huge animals like gray whales in captivity, you need to see them as they migrate, either from shore or from aboard a tour ship with Next Level Sailing.

Play in the Ocean

Making memories that involve all the senses is always a good idea. While aquariums provide you with a chance to show kids the sights they might not see out at the beach, they do not provide a lot of hands-on opportunities. That’s where tide pools, shoreline snorkeling, and other ocean activities come in. Adding in a few beach trips to see the different kinds of tide pool ecosystems in the San Diego area can work wonders to demonstrate how much ocean life depends on specific conditions to thrive.

Volunteer With Them

The final level of engagement is to actively participate in being part of the solution. Shoreline cleanup, volunteer activities at local aquariums and museums, or even fund raising for preservation efforts can make a difference. The key is to get involved alongside your kids, modeling the importance of proactive engagement when it comes to good global citizenship. Get started by checking out the opportunities for engagement nearby.