As discussed in my last post, teaching your children to love the ocean - and eventually to protect it - requires exposure. If you live near the coast, many trips to the beach over time can spark this love. If you live too far inland for frequent visits, you can still engage your children in thinking about our oceans and the great variety of creatures that live there.
Play recordings of dolphin and whale songs and ask your child to think about what their sounds might mean. If you want to learn more, watch this TED talk, and then you can explain some of it in an age-appropriate way.
Take your child on an undersea journey by watching this clip together. Then pretend to go scuba diving.
To make the scuba equipment, take a couple of one or two liter soda or water bottles, hot glue them to a square of cardboard (or cut a couple of slits in each and pull a piece of string or ribbon through, then glue the ribbon to the cardboard. Duct tape works, too. Then poke some holes in the cardboard and thread some yarn through to make backpack-like arm straps.
Your pretend air tanks don’t have to be fancy to be fun; here’s what ours looked like (we also made a submarine out of a big appliance box):
If you’re ambitious, you can add some tubing for the hose, and put on swimming goggles. Here’s a link to instructions for a much more elaborate scuba costume. Don’t forget that your child will be more interested in playing than in a precise replica of the real thing.
Once your equipment is ready, dive in! Find the coral reef, swim with dolphins, hide while you watch a shark swim by. Don’t forget to bring a bag to pick up some trash while you’re undersea.
Have fun, and let me know how it goes.