Toddlers are at the age of discovery and tend to be curious about everything they can see as well as the things that they cannot see. One fascinating subject that toddlers often want to learn about is the ocean. The ocean is filled with wonders such as colorful fish, huge whales and slightly scary sharks. These four resources will help you to teach your child about sea creatures and the ocean.
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Borrow Books from the Library
Your community library is an excellent resource for teaching your child about the Earth’s oceans and the sea creatures living inside of it. You can find books about the oceans in general or a specific ocean. There are also books specifically about certain creatures, such as whales and sharks, or you can choose a more general book about fishes and sea mammals. Consider choosing an array of books to demonstrate the variety of sea creatures, such as books about seals, penguins, whales, sharks and sea horses. You may also wish to choose books about the stationary sea creatures, such as corals. Kids may be excited to learn about vast life structures such as the Great Barrier Reef of Australia or massive geographic features such as the Marianas Trench.
Go to the Ocean
If your home is within driving distance of the ocean, consider taking a family vacation to the beach. Your toddler will be able to see for himself or herself the waves, sand and seashells. Take your time and examine the shells together, checking out the different sizes, shapes, colors and textures. Explain how each grain of sand is formed and how the waves sculpt the beach. Building sand castles together and watching the waves roll in will help your little one to get an idea of the size and power of the ocean. Allow your child to take home a few shells as a souvenir. Be sure that the shells are larger than the diameter of a toilet paper roll in order to avoid a choking hazard.
Visit a Professional Aquarium
When you are not able to visit the ocean, a professional aquarium is a great alternative. Professional aquariums are staffed by ichthyologists, oceanographers and others who have a deep understanding of the ocean and the creatures that live within it. Many of these facilities, like a Las Vegas shark aquarium, offer viewing tanks that are at a child’s eye level, making it easy for toddlers to see colorful tropical fish, the majestic jellyfish, creeping starfish, and surprising sea worms. You may also be able to see some of the larger creatures of the sea, such as sharks and manta rays. Many aquariums offer educational exhibits and demonstrations that are short and interactive to keep your child’s attention. Aquariums often feature hands-on activities and places for your child to explore.
Watch Movies Together
There are many movies about sea creatures and the ocean that you can watch with your toddler. Animated films such as Finding Nemo and Finding Dory offer a story line and creatures to entertain your child.
These movies include educational tidbits that will not overwhelm a youngster with too much information. You can also find shorter movies that are actual recordings of the oceans and creatures in them. Look to sources such as National Geographic or the Discovery Channel for brief videos that will help your toddler to learn about the oceans.
Teaching your child about the oceans and creatures living within them can be an enjoyable experience for both of you. From books to aquariums, there are many resources to try. These tips may help to make the ocean and its creatures seem less scary while also inspiring your child to develop a love of nature.