Monday 8th June is World Oceans Day. The aim of World Oceans Day is to inspire everybody – young and old – to understand why oceans are important and to take action to protect them.
- Are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.
- Are home to a diverse range of marine life which is vital for a healthy ecosystem supporting all life on Earth.
- Regulate our climate and weather patterns by transporting heat from the Equator to the poles.
- Are a major food source giving us not just fish but ingredients for other products too – even peanut butter!
- Provide ingredients for medicines including those that fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimers.
Here are some practical activities you can do at home to educate your child about our oceans, encourage them to care and to understand that the choices they make really can make a difference.
Why do we need oceans?
Watch National Geographic’s short film, How to Care for the Ocean.
After watching, ask your child:
- What do oceans provide us?
- What are the problems?
- What could happen if we don’t make changes?
- Can you think of one thing we can do as a family to help care for our oceans?
Know where your food comes from Together search the internet to find out what surprising foods come from the ocean. The National Ocean Service film, What does peanut butter have to do with the ocean? is a great place to start.
Discover what kinds of seafood come from the ocean and ask your child which they have already tried and which they liked best.
Ask your child to make a ‘Delicious Ocean’ poster by drawing and labelling all the things they have eaten that come from the ocean.
Eat sustainable fish
After the film check your child’s understanding by asking them what sustainable fishing is and why it’s important. Together visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website to find out what fish is currently sustainable in the UK.
You could buy a sustainable fish and experiment with a new recipe. To find a recipe type ‘recipe with…’ followed by your fish of choice into a search engine. For example, ‘recipe with coley’.
At the current time it is tricky to buy specific food so this might be an activity to research now and carry out later! Having said that, some local fishmongers will deliver.
Reduce plastic waste
Plastic waste has recently increased due to Covid-19. We are all having to prioritise immediate safety which can mean having shopping delivered in carrier bags and buying long-life food which is often packaged in single-use plastic.
However, even during the pandemic there are steps we can all take to reduce the amount of waste that will end up in landfill. The World Economic Forum’s article Single use plastic in a pandemic: how to stay safe and sustainable is a positive article to share with your child.
To prepare for the end of lockdown your child could make a reusable shopping bag from an old t-shirt – no sewing required. Bags can be decorated with fabric pens or other random craft supplies such as pom-poms, feathers and sequins. Your child’s imagination is the limit!
Care about endangered species
Together look on the Marine Conservation Society’s website to find out which UK marine species are endangered or under threat.
Ask your child to choose an animal they would like to find out more about. Watch a film on YouTube about your child’s chosen animal – we recommend National Geographic Kids’ films. If possible, read books about the animal or discover facts about it online. Your child could make a book or write a short fact file about their animal to teach others about it. They could also make themed crafts.
For example, if your child chose to find out more about the bottlenose dolphin they could:
- Watch National Geographic Kids’ Bottlenose Dolphin.
- Find out more about bottlenose dolphins from National Geographic Kids and write a fact file or make a book to teach others to love them too.
- Make a dolphin craft – there are plenty on Pinterest and inspiration can also be found on Google Images by typing in ‘Bottlenose dolphin craft’.
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