7 ways to connect kids everywhere to the ocean

Learning doesn’t always happen inside the classroom! 

When groups of kids get together outside of school, it’s a unique opportunity to help them learn and grow. Kids getting excited about nature sets them on the path towards becoming awesome, ocean-protecting adults. The first step towards protecting nature is developing a positive relationship with it, and doing some simple things to help it out. Plus, it’s just fun.

Read more to find activities that can get your group excited about World Oceans Day! Then, share your celebration plans on the World Oceans Day site.

Ways to discuss the environment with youth

  1. Get creative! Organize a community art project, sing-a-long, storytelling, essay or art competition, or craft fair.
  2. Inspire wonder: through engaging movies, videos, and interactions with wildlife.
  3. Go outside: have a picnic, explore a beach, start a children’s garden or a compost station.
  4. Get more involved. Middle- and high-schoolers can organize an event themselves, volunteer in the community with a local nonprofit, or do more research and teach others.

 Activity Ideas: connecting kids with the ocean

Our focus for World Oceans Day this year is ocean plastic. But, we don’t want to scare kids with an info overload on plastic pollution. It’s pretty frightening, even for adults (plastic bags choking sea turtles? Toxin-leeching microplastics? Yikes!). Leave the scary stuff for when they’re older, right now introduce them to the idea that they can make a difference.

The Better Bag Challenge

Ask young people to help their families take the Better Bag Challenge! The goal is to avoid plastic bags for a whole year, and bring a better bag instead. You can even make a tote bag from an old t shirt with kids to help them get started. You can also get your group together to make a bunch of totes, and then give them out to others in the community.

Clean up your community

Get your group together to clean up a natural or community space! It’s fun, beautifies your space, and helps wildlife. You can find a general community cleanup guide here. For older kids, you can play a clean up drill game or do an clean up by ABCs to make it more fun.

Hit the streets to make an ocean connection

Create storm drain art to protect the ocean. Do kids in your group know that they are connected to the ocean – even if they’re hundreds of miles inland?! Teach them, and then hit the streets and share your knowledge. Introduce to kids a few ocean animals they can protect by keeping the streets and rivers clean.

Get crafty

Make fun recycled crafts! Here are over 600 ideas, or check out sites like Pinterest for inspiration. Be sure to talk about WHY we’re doing this. Take it to the next level – hold a yard sale for your crafts and then donate the money you raise to a good cause. Maybe there’s a community solar program in your state, or your group could donate to sponsor an ocean animal.

Learn about cool marine creatures and inspire children with animals

Connecting kids with ocean animals is one of the quickest and most fun ways to get them riled up about protecting the ocean.

Have a sleepover

This may take some planning, but it’s always fun to bring kids for a special sleepover at the aquarium! They’ll get up-close-and-personal with all the ocean’s crazy and cool creatures we need to keep safe.

Meet the Octonauts

You can introduce young kids to conservation through an unlikely source – cartoons! The Octonauts are a team of underwater heroes on a mission to explore, rescue, and protect ocean animals. We have free Octonauts-themed World Oceans Day downloads for anyone who wants to celebrate.

Ocean stories

Have a professional storyteller come to a group meeting and tell stories related to the ocean. If you can’t find a professional, children can bring in their favorite ocean stories and ask a parent or volunteer to read.


— Alyssa Isakower & Lena Champlin

Lena Champlin and Alyssa Isakower 26-Mar-2015