1. Get local
Kids are experts at living and playing in the present. So finding a familiar or nearby beach to visit and help clean may be more effective than discussing oceans half a world away. If you are landlocked, look for local efforts to clean rivers, lakes, or streams. Precious and valuable ecosystems exist in backyards and down the street. Observing, cleaning, and learning about them will help spark an appreciation for the wider, wetter world.
2. Open your kids’ eyes to life under the sea-in person and on the screen
Visit aquariums that support marine conservation and education. Staff are trained to be able to educate kids and adults on various species and info including dietary habits and habitats (which my son took advantage of by asking about a million questions about hammerhead sharks). Make a movie night with older kids and watch The Blue Planet or one of the Planet Earth episodes that focuses on the oceans. Even watching a more commercial movie such as Finding Nemo can lead to discussions about sustainability and climate change and how these terms affect the ocean and its inhabitants.
3. Appeal to their other senses too
Put on the eerily beautiful sounds of whales or dolphins “calling” while cooking dinner or doing homework. Give kids crunchy nori seaweed to smell and then munch. Let them explore the texture and weight of shells.
4. Make the ocean come alive-at home!
Kids love science experiments, and they are a great example of active and memorable experiential learning. So learn how waves work, simulate oil spills, or even make a recycled lava lamp with your kids in order to show them how oil and water do NOT mix.
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