World Ocean Day is a great way to positively engage your kids toward a sustainable future. Here are some easy and fun activities to get them involved.

By Torben Lonne
June 04, 2021
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An image of boys playing and laughing in the ocean.
Credit: Getty Images.

For parents, raising the next generation of environmentally-conscious individuals isn't an easy task. With all the doom and gloom about climate change, it's hard to talk about the planet in its current state.

Just take a look at the following statistics:

No wonder real solutions are hard to come by, while the youth are increasingly losing patience with the lack of progress (Greta Thunberg being just one of them).

But all is not lost yet, and the seas are central to any solution. With timely intervention—and education of the little ones—we can reverse the trend.

Celebrating community-driven events like World Ocean Day on June 8, 2021 is a great way to positively engage the next generation toward a sustainable future—and so is teaching them some basics.

Teach Kids About the Ocean's Importance

Before you propose any activities to your kids on this day, it's crucial to explain why they should get involved in the first place. While it might seem like a no-brainer to you, chances are they're not yet steeped in climate issues and the impact they have on the oceans. Here are a few things to talk to your kids about.

Oceans provide us with oxygen and food

Since oceans account for more than 70 percent of Earth's surface, it's obvious how dependent on them we are. They help provide the oxygen we breathe and are a major source of nourishment while cooling the planet. Without them, all living organisms, including humans would not even be alive today.

Oceans have to be kept clean for the marine life to survive

Fish, sharks, crabs, and corals need oceans to stay alive. If the oceans are polluted—with either plastic or other harmful chemicals—they are more likely to die and cause our planet to become less diverse. This is a bad outcome as oceans without fish would disrupt the food chain and the human food supply.

Oceans are the reason why vacations are more fun

It wouldn't be half as exciting to go on holidays and miss out on swimming, diving, snorkeling, surfing, and fishing. Clean oceans give us the opportunity to enjoy it all and explore the underwater world too.

How to Celebrate World Ocean Day

World Ocean Day is a worldwide holiday that raises awareness about the importance of preserving oceans and encourages everyone to keep them blue and clean. It's also a great occasion to learn about the negative impacts we humans have on our oceans and ways to reduce them. Consider some of the following activities to do with your kids to get them engaged.

Make your home more eco-friendly

Education begins at home and it's up to you to make it count. Start by replacing your single-use kitchen and bathroom implements for those made from glass, cork, and metal, and get your kids to use them too. Setting an example will help your kids form green habits from a young age.

Watch a child-friendly documentary

Reading books is one thing, but animated visuals are a different ball game. Many kids learn better from videos, so it makes sense to put on an entertaining documentary that's easy to view. Disney's nature production, Oceans, is one of those films that really illustrates the life of the oceans of the Earth and conveys a strong conservation message too.

Organize or participate in the local clean-up drive

To make it even more fun, take your friends' kids along to a beach clean-up. Seeing how much litter ends up in the ocean will give them a good idea about how important it is to keep the ocean clean while socializing at the same time. And this can be a great socially distanced activity during the pandemic too.

Have an ocean-themed arts and crafts competition

Speaking about teamwork—another great way to get your kids thinking about preserving the oceans is to arrange an ocean-themed arts and crafts competition in, say, your backyard. Kids of all ages could join and display their artistic side while also learning more about marine creatures that inhabit our oceans.

Teach responsible ocean leisure activities

They might not be the ones booking the holidays yet but the itinerary you make for family holidays sets the tone for the future ones they'll be responsible for. Make an effort to teach them that throwing stuff overboard is never a good idea and nor is touching corals or picking up shells when diving. You can also emphasize the importance of choosing to stay at eco-friendly hotels by booking one yourself for your next vacation.

The Bottom Line

It's true when they say that kids are like sponges—they absorb the information they get on a daily basis quicker than adults. And, while climate change might seem a little abstract, they can learn how litter directly affects the oceans and to take care of the environment, starting today.

Use World Ocean Day as a vehicle for raising awareness about oceans and marine life while your kids are still young. This will lay the groundwork for the future, for a sustainable planet populated with individuals who take climate change seriously and work together to make the world a healthier place.

Torben Lonne is a dad, a scuba diver, and an ocean lover who is deeply concerned with how we are treating our oceans. He runs Divein.com, an online magazine about scuba diving and about how divers can make a positive difference for the environment.