Games to Complement the Next Beach Cleanup - Sailors for the Sea

Games to Complement the Next Beach Cleanup

 October 11, 2018  | By: Oceana

Beach cleanups can provide an eye-opening experience for many with the collection of all types of waste from food and beverage containers to fishing gear to cigarette butts. Many of the items folks find along the shore are composed of plastic, which is a pervasive and growing problem for our oceans. Plastics are meant to last forever and when exposed to environmental conditions, break down into smaller and smaller pieces, but don’t get absorbed into our natural systems. Below are KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) that address the plastics issue and would complement a beach cleanup:

1. Plastic Beach 

marine science, plastic pollution

While at the beach, children can dive deeper into the plastics issue by looking for smaller pieces of plastic, also known as microplastics. In a small designated area along the wrack line, students use a sieve to sift through sand to find and identify microplastics. These findings highlight how larger items (i.e. plastic bottles) break down into smaller and smaller pieces. 

2. How Long Till it’s Gone?

marine science, plastic pollution

Using items found at the beach or items listed in the activity, students place try to determine how long they think the different items take to degrade. Children will learn that some materials (i.e. orange peel, paper towel) can break down into nutrients to be used again by plants, but other materials (i.e. plastic bottles) will stay in the environment forever. 

3. Biomagnification Game

marine science, plastic pollution

This tag-inspired game demonstrates the concept of biomagnification as it relates to plastics, and how chemicals and plastics can make it onto our dinner plates. Some plastics act as sponges for toxins and chemicals. When these toxins increase in concentration in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in the food chain, it is known as biomagnification. For this activity, children will either be fishers, salmon or krill, with some krill starting off with pieces of plastic. During the activity, the plastic pieces will move up the food chain highlighting biomagnification.

By the end of any of these activities, children will hopefully be more environmentally aware of the items they use and make a commitment to help protect the ocean. For other fun marine science activities, head to our KELP page