KELP - Sailors for the Sea

KELP

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans 

KELP are free, downloadable marine science activities that encourage curiosity in kids and help them explore their surroundings. With simple materials and minimal preparation, these dynamic lesson plans address important ocean health issues including plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change.

KELP Activity Spotlight

Join the thousands of organizations and families across the globe who have inspired children to learn the importance of preserving healthy and abundant oceans through Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana’s KELP program.

Ages 6 to 12

Living Underwater

A Shark’s Sixth Sense

Did you know that sharks have a sixth sense? Using magnets, kids can mimic how sharks use a unique sensory system to locate their prey. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 9 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

A Story of Sand

A hands on activity that illustrates the different sources of sand including biological, geological and man-made.

Ages 12 and up

Chemistry of the Sea

Acidic Ocean

Students use thier own exhaled breath and a red cabbage pH indicator to visualize how our oceans are becoming more acidic. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Living Underwater

All that Glitters

An activity that plays with light at different depths of the ocean and discusses adaptations organisms have made for different light conditions.

All Ages

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Beach Bingo

Kids will discover their natural surroundings by playing an interactive game of bingo with items that can be found at your beach or shoreline

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt

A fun scavenger hunt that gives students understanding of what can be found on beaches, giving an introduction to beach ecology and the role of manmade objects.

Ages 9 to 12

Pollution & Marine Debris

Beach Contamination

In this simulation, students are challenged to find and remove a baking soda contaminant from a plastic shoebox filled with damp sand

Contributed By: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Ages 9 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Beach in a Pan

Students construct a beach in a pan and investigate the effects of wind and waves on beach shape

Contributed By: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Ages 6 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Beach Sculptures

Using materials and sand found on the beach, kids can create pieces of art

All Ages

Aquatic Animals

Become a Naturalist

Students will explore their outdoor surroundings to discover and learn about local flora and fauna. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Pollution & Marine Debris

Biomagnification Game

A tag inspired game that demonstrates how plastics and the chemicals in plastics are biomagnified to reach our dinner plates.

All Ages

Aquatic Animals

Build a Coral Polyp

Students will learn about the anatomy of coral and the unique symbiotic relationship between corals and zooxanthellae by building an edible coral polyp.

Ages 6 to 9

Aquatic Animals

Build Otto the Sea Otter

Students will create a sea otter puppet and act out how this species is essential to kelp forest habitats.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 12 and up

Climate Change

Carbon Cycle Game

An interactive game where students cycle as carbon between the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem.

Contributed By: Rutgers University

Ages 12 and up

Aquatic Animals

Clam Jigsaw

Students create a cutout model of a clam to investigate the anatomy and physiology of these animals.

Ages 12 and up

Climate Change

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

Which type of ice causes a rise in sea level when it melts: formations on land, like glaciers, or formations in the water, like icebergs?

 

Ages 9 and up

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Cloudy Waters

Students create a simple scientific instrument and learn about the role of sediment in their local waters.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 6 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Coastal Matching

Learn about what is found in your coastal environment with this fun matching game.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Aquatic Animals

Coral Reef Spawning Snow Globe

Students build a globe to demonstrate a mass coral spawning event.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Ocean Fun Packs

Coral Reefs

Through word searches, matching and other fun games learn about these bustling cities of marine life and how to protect them. 

Ages 12 and up

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Density Currents

This activity demonstrates Thermohaline Circulation throughout the world’s oceans and the relative densities of cold and warm waters.

Ages 9 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Dirty Water Challenge

Students learn about the water cycle and the principles of filtering water by designing and building their own filters, then testing them with “dirty water.”

Contributed By: New England Aquarium

Ages 9 to 12

Living Underwater

Drying Out on the Rocky Shore

A hands on activity that illustrates how marine creatures have adapted to survive the extreme conditions between the rocky shoreline tide marks

Contributed By: SEA Semester

Ages 9 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Estuary Salt Front

Students create mini-coastal environments and introduce nutrients to see what happens in the estuaries where fresh and salt water meet.

All Ages

Pollution & Marine Debris

Everything Flows Downstream

Students illustrate the effects of the land use in a watershed by simulating development of their own riverfront property. 

Contributed By: New England Aquarium

All Ages

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Explore the Shore

Create a shoreline scavenger hunt utilizing local identification books for shells, seaweed, birds and other coastal things.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 6 to 9

Aquatic Animals

Hermit Crab Game

Through a “musical chairs”-like game, learn about hermit crabs and the challenges they face when they need to find a new shell home

Ages 9 and up

Aquatic Animals

Hitching a Ride

Students will mimic how boats can quickly spread invasive species to new bodies of water. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Living Underwater

Hold Your Breath – Let’s Dive

Discover one of the ways marine mammals are able to hold their breath for long dives underwater.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 6 to 9

Catching Fish

Hooked on Conservation

A creative game that shows the effects of longline fishing on the health of the ocean ecosystem.

Contributed By: The Pew Environment Group

Ages 6 to 12

Aquatic Animals

How Long am I?

With just a simple rope, students can gain perspecitive on how big some of our ocean’s largest animals are. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Pollution & Marine Debris

How Long Till It’s Gone?

In this eye-opening activity, students discover how long it takes for different materials to degrade by putting items (i.e. orange peel, plastic straw) along a timeline. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Living Underwater

How to Hide in the Ocean

A fun game teaching students how fish and other ocean creatures camouflage into their surroundings.

Contributed By: SEA Semester

All Ages

Food Chains

Ooey Gooey Animal Guts

Students identify what kind of consumer their marine animal is by examining the prey items they find in a Jell-O filled “stomach”.

Contributed By: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Ages 9 to 12

Chemistry of the Sea

Osteoporosis of the Sea

An interactive activity demonstrating the effects of ocean acidification on shelled marine organisms, the ocean food web and to humans.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

All Ages

Pollution & Marine Debris

Oyster Tag

A game of freeze tag that gives an understanding of the interaction of oyster reefs and toxic waste (pollution) in the water.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 9 to 12

Pollution & Marine Debris

Plastic Beach

Students carry out a beach transect, learning about the prevalence and sources of plastic pollution in the oceans. 

Contributed By: 5 Gyres Institute

All Ages

Ocean Fun Packs

Polar Regions

Learn about our polar regions’ unique habitat and wildlife through crossword puzzles, word searches and other fun activities. 

Ages 12 and up

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Rock Cycle Roundabout

A fun board game designed to learn the three ways rocks can form.

Ages 6 to 12

Chemistry of the Sea

Salty Ocean

Learn why the ocean is salty and why it’s easier to float in seawater.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 9 to 12

Climate Change

Seasonality in the Ocean

Students figure out what season it is based on maps of sea surface temperature and phytoplankton growth. 

Contributed By: Rutgers University

All Ages

Living Underwater

Seeing with Sound

With a slinky, discover how dolphins and whales use echolocation to navigate and find food. 

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 9 to 12

Beaches, Bays & Rivers

Shower Curtain Watershed

Students create a watershed model using a plastic shower curtain, a spray bottle and themselves!

Contributed By: Monterey Bay Aquarium

All Ages

Aquatic Animals

Sinking Races

Students create plankton with craft materials and race them in a large container of water. Slowest plankton wins!

Contributed By: SEA Semester

Ages 9 and up

Catching Fish

Sustainable Matching Game

A simple matching game for visually identifying fish and gaining an understanding of which can be sustainably harvested.

Ages 9 and up

Living Underwater

Symbiosis

In this fun matching game, kids will learn about the symbiotic relationship between different marine creatures.

All Ages

Catching Fish

The Deadliest Catch

Using candy, students mimic the effects of advanced fishing methods on the population sizes of fish.

Contributed By: The Pew Environment Group

All Ages

Aquatic Animals

The World is YOUR Oyster

Students will learn about the importance of oysters to estuarine ecosystems and to the community with live oysters. 

Contributed By: Tabor Academy

Ages 6 to 9

Living Underwater

Whale Blubber

Students create a “blubber glove” to mimic the importance of blubber to whales living in frigid water.

Ages 6 to 9

Living Underwater

Whale Feeding

An activity that demonstrates how baleen whales, such as Right Whales, use skim feeding to capture their prey.

All Ages

Food Chains

Whale Jenga Food Web Game

A game of Jenga that demonstrates the marine food web and the impacts humans have on the food web.

Contributed By: NOAA

Ages 6 to 9

Living Underwater

Whale of a View

Students build monoculars to view their surroundings from the perspective of a whale.

Ages 9 to 12

Aquatic Animals

What’s Hiding in the Water?

Students learn what plankton are living in their local marine or freshwater habitats by building plankton nets.

Contributed By: Sailors for the Sea

Ages 12 and up

Pollution & Marine Debris

Who Dirtied the Water?

This activity uses an interactive narrative to illustrate the different sources of pollution, historic and modern, to a body of water.

Contributed By: New England Aquarium