There’s Never Been a Better Time to Teach Kids About Threats to the Ocean
Ocean ecosystems play a vital role in our planet’s environment. Unfortunately, our oceans are facing serious threats such as plastic pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction, putting our oceans—and the marine life they hold— in grave danger.
The issues threatening our oceans are a result of decades of irresponsible behaviors, like commercial whaling and fishing and reckless consumption of single-use plastics. Just as it took time to create these problems, we won’t be able to save our oceans overnight. It’s going to become an ongoing effort for generations to come.
That’s why teaching kids about living sustainably is a must if we want to save our oceans (and our planet!) for future generations. After all, today’s kids will become future leaders and policymakers who will have the power to protect our oceans.
3 Ways to Talk About Ocean Life for Kids
It’s important to instill environmentally friendly habits in children at an early age. The older we get, the more challenging it becomes to create and stick to new habits. Still, it’s important to teach kids about ocean conservation in ways that allow them to absorb new ideas and concepts— without feeling overwhelmed or stressed by the conservation challenges we all face.
It's especially important to tailor how we communicate these challenges with children. The key is communicating in a way that’s fun, digestible, and retainable. Approach these discussions in a manner that makes sense for their age, keeping the information comprehensible and engaging. Here are three ways to do just that!
Make Ocean Conservation Fun for Kids
One of the easiest ways to get kids excited about learning is to make it fun. Try finding new ways to use activities that your kids already enjoy to teach them about ocean conservation.
If your children love arts and crafts, put together some eco-friendly DIY crafts for them to do at home! Using upcycled items from around the house, these craft projects are affordable and sustainable. While making the crafts, you can teach your children about how upcycled projects help keep trash and other waste out of our oceans and away from marine life.
Another great way to teach your kids about sustainability is through fun ocean conservation games. Plan a family game night filled with games like Pollution Jeopardy and Ocean Animal Pictionary. By creating some friendly competition, your kids will stay engaged while learning about how to save our oceans.
If you have a free weekend, you can also plan a fun family field trip! If you live near a beach, take your family for a family beach day. While you’re there, you and your little ones can help clean up litter while discussing how everyday items like plastic water bottles waste affect ocean animals.
If you don’t live near the coast, plan a day trip to your local aquarium or local conservation center. The excitement of going somewhere new will get your kids eager about learning how to save the oceans.
Read & Talk About Ocean Conservation
Kids care about the things parents show passion for, so reading books and having dinner table conversations on the topic of ocean conservation can be an easy way to engage and educate youngsters.
There are a number of ocean conservation topics you can discuss with your kids in a fun, engaging, and meaningful way. You can discuss endangered ocean animals through pictures and videos of cute marine life animals. They can learn about how plastic pollution from items like water bottles and plastic bags affects our oceans. Most importantly, you can discuss how they can help make a difference in our fight to save the oceans.
When talking to your children about ocean conservation, you want to avoid giving them a lecture. If they find the topic boring, they’ll likely begin to dread the topic and avoid discussing it altogether. Instead, use books and online resources to make the conversation engaging and interesting for your children.
Here are a few kids’ books about ocean conservation to help you get the conversation started:
- “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 Sea with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen
- “Litter, Litter, Please Come Here” by Jacqueline Bordeaux and Ryan Caver
If you need help getting the conversation started, there are great online resources to allow you spark a dialogue about ocean conservation.
Start Shopping Sustainably
Teaching your children how to shop sustainably from a young age can build sustainable consumer habits for life. As a parent, you can serve as a role model by teaching your kids how easy it is to shop sustainably.
Start by planning excitement around weekly outings to the farmer’s market, refill store, or thrift store. While you’re there, explain how shopping at these local establishments with reusable bags and containers helps keep our oceans safe. Turn it into a family tradition, creating lifelong memories that your children will look back upon fondly and want to continue as they grow older.
There are also many great eco-friendly clothes and toys for kids that can help build sustainable habits. For example, Socktopus Ink uses fun ocean characters on our sustainable socks to help kids learn more about the importance of ocean conservation. You can also purchase eco-friendly toys like wooden kitchen sets that make playtime more sustainable.
Help Save the Oceans by Making Ocean Life for Kids Fun
It’s important to start teaching kids about how to live sustainably, even from a young age. The key to making sustainability stick is to make it fun and digestible for kids.
Luckily, there’s a wide variety of easy ways to make learning about saving the ocean both fun and educational. For example, you can use eco-friendly games and sustainable crafts to engage and inspire your little ones. You can also have conversations with your children about ocean conservation using children’s books and other online learning resources. Finally, you can teach them the importance of shopping sustainably with fun, eco-friendly brands like Socktopus Ink.Most importantly, remember that children model their parents’ behaviors. Establish lifelong habits for your children by leading through example. Start by building your own sustainable habits that your children can replicate as they grow older!