Updated: Sep 20
Below are three simple ways to help your children and students turn a late summer day at the beach into a lifelong passion for the ocean!
1. Spark Their Imaginations
A true love of the ocean can begin right at home. Introducing kids to books about sea life at a very young age ignites natural curiosity. What are their favorite sea animals? Can you learn more about these animals together through stories, pictures, and videos?
Build up a sense of excitement on the way to every beach outing! Instead of spending the car ride answering the question “are we there yet” multiple times, prepare a few thoughts provoking questions of your own to ask:
What sea animals that we read about do you think we may see today?
What else do you think we will see at the beach?
How many shells do you think we will find?
Once you arrive at the beach, stand in front of the ocean together. What do you see? What do you think is out there that your eyes cannot see? Maybe you read stories together about giant sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, manatees, or a mother and baby humpback whale. They are all out there somewhere! What else can your family think of that may be under the water?
2. Ignite Their Senses
Certain scents can instantly bring back wonderful feelings of nostalgia. This is because the sense of smell touches both the memory and emotional centers of the brain.
The smell of freshly cut grass, backyard barbeques, and even the rubbery smell of a garden hose will instantly take me back to warm summer nights growing up in my old neighborhood. The smell of fresh pine still reminds me of laying under the Christmas tree, too excited about the thought of opening presents to sleep.
The next time you are at the beach, encourage your children to stop for a moment and notice everything around them that fills their senses. What do they smell that will remind them of this beach trip later in life? The salty sea air? The tropical smell of sunblock?
What do they hear? The sounds of waves crashing always brings my mind back to a childhood vacation in Cape Cod. Have them close their eyes for a moment. What sounds are around them? The sounds of seagulls calling? Can they hear sounds inside a big shell mimicking the ocean?
What do they feel? What do they taste? What will they always remember?
3. Instill a Sense of Ocean Pride
Volunteering shows kids that they can make a difference. It instills a sense of pride and accomplishment, helps to develop social and communication skills, and has even been shown to reduce stress!
There are so many volunteer activities that children of all ages can participate in. For example, young children can help families pick up trash that may pollute the water and hurt wildlife. Older kids can organize beach cleanups with their friends or classrooms, hold fundraisers, and speak to others about recycling and using earth friendly products.
Even if you don’t live near an ocean, you can still inspire a passion in your kids by reading books, watching videos, and sharing exciting stories of the sea. You can even recreate a fun beach scene in your own backyard or deck with a sandbox and salted wading pool. Add some ocean themed toys to help young imaginations soar! Let your children watch the toy turtles, sharks, dolphins, and whales float in their special sea pool!
Once children open their hearts to the sea, the magic will never go away. Years from now, they will find themselves staring out at the waves with their own kids while reliving their favorite childhood beach memories. Moments like these will be passed down for many generations to come. Pack some sweatshirts and a good sea book and start to share the magic with your children today!
* Add some Twisted Orca Ocean Conservation books to your beach favorites!