Have you ever wondered about the effects of ocean pollution and other waterways?
Beware of Ocean Pollution
It’s important that we bring it to our children’s attention now so they can make responsible choices and be part of the clean up solution!
The best way to do this of course is through a fun hands-on activity that lets them see first hand how easily water is polluted, how difficult it is to clean it up and to make it like it was before.
This project can be done with things around the house; you may just need to grab a couple items from Dollar Tree or somewhere else.
First, gather all your materials before you bring in the kids. Kids lose interest quickly if they spend a long time waiting at the table for you to find everything.
Better yet if you have an older kid who knows everything right now (wink) get him or her to do the gathering of supplies.
Next, here is the list of supplies for the hands-on ocean pollution science activity.
- A large shallow container
- Blue food coloring (optional)
- sea shells
- clean sand (optional)
- plastic sea creatures
Teaching Kids About Ocean Pollution
Then, here is the list for the pollution items and the list for cleaning items.
- cooking oil
- food crumbs
- pieces of plastic bag
- dish soap
- cotton balls
- paper towels
- coffee filters
- cotton swabs
- small nets
- coffee grounds
Water Pollution Exploration
Start by adding items to your container that belong, explaining to your child that these are the items that naturally occur in an ocean and are part of its ecosystem.
Fill your container with several inches of water.
If you like add a few drops of blue food coloring to your water and mix in.
Place sea creatures, seashells, and sand if you are using them.
Next, talk about what happens when we visit the beach or travel on the water.
As you talk about oil the spills from ships, trash that is tossed aside instead of being safely placed in trash containers let your child add each of the pollution items you have provided.
Stir it all up together. What has happened?
- The once nearly clear and pristine water is now discolored.
- Creatures are covered in oil and dirt.
- The water no longer looks appealing at all to play in does it?
- Turtles, dolphins, sharks, and other animals get plastic wrap around them.
- Sea animals choke on items that don’t belong in the ocean and die or are suffering from the effects.
What can we do to clean up the ocean?
Ocean Pollution Clean Up Activity
You can pick up bigger items if they are floating on top with a net or tongs, but what about items that sink to the bottom of our deep oceans?
Demonstrate how to use cotton balls to absorb some of the oil on the surface of the water.
Toss in a few feathers to demonstrate what happens to water birds when they pick up oil and other undesirable things from polluted water.
Use Dawn dish soap, a toothbrush, and other items to try and remove the oil and debris from the feathers.
Dawn has a program for cleaning up animals that have been injured due to oil spills. You can read a bit more about it here at Dawn Helping Saving Wildlife for Over 40 Years.
Be Ocean Explorers
Examine clean ocean water, polluted ocean water, and “cleaned” up water.
Grab 3 clear glasses and place water and food coloring in one.
Take some of your polluted water and place in the second.
Finally, after you have cleaned up your water some, put a coffee filter over the third glass and run your cleaned up polluted water over the coffee filter.
Compare the difference in water color and quality.
Even the water that has been cleaned up is still not left unchanged, it is cloudy, dark, and still contains trace amounts of debris.
This makes a big impact on my kids as it allowed them to understand how big an impact peoples actions can have on our water sources.
Look at some pollution vocabulary and spelling words to use for an ocean or water unit study.
- Waste water
If you are looking for read aloud or independent reading books for your child that go along with the theme you need not look any further than your bookcase or library and grab something anything that has an ocean theme like Island of the Blue Dolphins, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Treasure Island, or Swiss Family Robinson!
Continue with your study using some great books to look through or use as living text books.
Earth Science Activity for Kids
This hands-on activity can easily lead into learning about all the fascinating creatures who live in the sea.
Lastly, teaching kids to learn how to care for our earth by not polluting the oceans empowers kids to be part of the solution and no the problem.
You’ll love these other resources to keep expanding how to care for the ocean and enjoy the beauty it provides:
- Oceans Unit Study and Lapbook
- Ocean Unit Study – Ocean Layers
- Ocean Unit Study Language Arts: Message in a Bottle
- Humboldt Who? Hands On to Understand Ocean Currents & Their Effect On The Galapagos Islands
- Super Seashore Watching Unit Study and Beach Lapbook
- Edible Geography – Sea Levels
- How to Dissolve a Seashell – Beach Hands-on Fun Activity
- From Egg to Sea Turtle Nature Unit Study & Lapbook
- Winter Homeschooling – Look to the Sea. 17 Hands-on Activities for Two to Teens.
Hugs and love ya,