Why sea turtle activities?
I was thrilled to see that my daughter, Annie (almost 3), loves sea turtles! When we went to the Science museum a few months ago, she was excited to see some freshwater turtles. She picked out a small sea turtle figure from the gift shop. She carries her sea turtle around with her everywhere!
We recently watched a few short videos on YouTube together about the life cycle of sea turtles. Annie loves animals and was amazed at the sea turtles! We watched:
- a female sea turtle laying eggs on the beach
- the baby sea turtles hatch from the eggs
- baby sea turtles start their journey across the sand and swim in the ocean
- adult sea turtles swimming in the ocean
If you search on YouTube for the life cycle of a sea turtle, you’ll find a lot of excellent short videos.
In This Post
Note: to download the Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle Printables, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to sign up and download from the Resource Library.
Hands-on exploration with sea turtle activities
Since Annie expresses interest in sea turtles, I decided to further her exploration with some hands-on Montessori-inspired sea turtle activities. Ideally, we’d love to explore and see real sea turtles at the beach or an aquarium or sea turtle conservatory. I realize that is not possible for us now, and it’s not possible for everyone.
Before Annie was born, we lived in Jupiter, FL, and we often visited the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach, where we got to see the sea turtles in rehabilitation.
We’re in North Carolina now, but we hope to visit again with Annie one day. She would love it! Exploring sea turtle activities is perfect for our ocean theme! Check out my two previous blog posts about how we started and progressing with our ocean theme.
5 Montessori-inspired sea turtle activities your child will love!
1. Sea turtle beach
Annie loves her adorable sea turtle beach! If you have a low bin or container, sand, and seashells, you can pull this sensorial activity together quickly. Even if you don’t have the life cycle of a sea turtle figures, you could use other ocean creatures you may have around the house for your beach; crab, dolphin, shark, fish, or similar.
This was an experiment for me. I was afraid that all the water would soak up in the sand, even with the seashell barrier. But if you pour enough water in slowly, you still get a pool of water that stays put. The sand will soak up as much water as possible to allow for a pool of water.
Annie explored the sea turtle beach for a long time! You can even have your child help you put together the beach and pour the water in, especially the older kids!
2. Mystery Bag: matching sea turtle object to picture
One of the lessons in the Montessori Sensorial curriculum is the mystery bag. Sensorial explores the five senses: touch, seeing, hearing, taste, and smell. With the mystery bag, your child feels for objects in the bag by touch only, not seeing. It makes it more challenging for your child to match an object to a picture when she isn’t looking but feeling for the right object in the bag.
A mystery bag reminds me of trying to find my car keys at the bottom of my purse! But really, it’s an excellent activity for young children to explore their sense of touch, isolating that one sense.
It is optional to use a blindfold, as well, to make sure your child doesn’t peek into the bag. I haven’t tried this with Annie yet, but maybe when she’s older.
We put the life cycle of a sea turtle figures into the mystery bag to match the corresponding pictures.
The pictures are from the three-part cards I made, which you can download for free (scroll down to the end of this post to sign up and download).
You can do the mystery bag activity with anything! We also did this with seashells, trying to find the matching seashells in a book. You can use any drawstring bag for the mystery bag. I ordered 11x 13 muslin bags which work well.
3. Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle Chart
I created a life cycle of a turtle chart showing the four phases: the sea turtle eggs, the sea turtle hatchling, the juvenile (or baby) sea turtle, and the adult sea turtle. The chart is a circular pattern with arrows. It shows that the pattern continues with the circle of life.
I also created a chart with blank spaces, which is more challenging to sequence the four life cycle phases. You can print out two charts with the pictures and cut out the images from one of them to make cards and match the cards to the chart or the blank chart if you do not have the life cycle of a sea turtle figures.
This is a fun activity that incorporates science and language. Your child is learning the life cycle phases, new vocabulary words, and understanding of sequence.
4. Three-part cards: Life cycle of a sea turtle
I also created three-part cards for the life cycle of a sea turtle. Three-part cards are a language matching activity that is used to explore new topics and learn new vocabulary words. They’re named three-part cards because there are three cards that go with each picture match: a control card (picture with label), picture-only card, and label-only card.
Annie loves these cards. They are more challenging for her age and I wouldn’t go more than 4 pictures at a time. You could also omit the label-only cards for the littlest children, and try matching object to picture first. Your child doesn’t need to be reading in order to do this activity – yes, they are matching words with the labels, but they can match them visually.
5. Parts of a sea turtle craft
Learning the sea turtle parts is another excellent activity that incorporates science and language. You can have three-part cards for details of a sea turtle, too, but since I already made three-part cards for the life cycle of a sea turtle, I wanted to come up with something different and more hands-on.
Making felt pieces is a great idea. I’ve made parts of a flower with felt details, and it came out great! But I wanted something more 3-dimensional.
I’ve done a paper plate sea turtle with the kids in my classes. I like making a sea turtle craft with a recycled paper egg carton cup; it’s more hand-held and not as flat. So I tried it with Annie, and of course, she loved it!
First, I cut out the paper egg carton cups. We painted them with green tempera paint and let them fully dry. I make one, too, alongside Annie. This way, I model how to paint it. She follows along, and I help her when she needs help.
To make the flippers and tail, I drew by hand a shape on green card stock that had the front flippers, back flippers, and tail. I drew this shape alongside the egg carton cup to ensure it was the right size.
It’ll be easier to glue the egg carton cup on one card stock shape (rather than four separate flippers and a tail). So imagine you’re drawing the five pieces you need and connecting them. Then cut out your shape.
We painted the shape with green tempera paint to get that scaly flipper look.
We also added dark green dots on the shell (egg carton cup) to look at the sea turtle shell texture.
Once all of the paint dried, we glued everything together. We glued the shell on top of the flippers and tail shape and then glued the green pom-pom as the head and glued on two googly eyes. Check out my blog post about how to set up a glue tray.
It was so exciting to see the sea turtle completed! We let it fully dry. We used regular white school glue, but if you find the pieces come off easily, you could always go back and glue with a stronger glue or glue gun.
You can name the parts of the sea turtle with your child as you paint and glue the pieces together and label the parts. Even if your child isn’t reading yet, it’s a great way to show your child that there are names and labels for the parts of a sea turtle. There are names and labels for everything! As they grow and can read more words, they can try to label parts on their own.
Now Annie has new sea turtle friends she likes to carry around with her!
Concluding Thoughts on sea turtle activities
As I expected, the hands-on sea turtle activities were a big hit! Annie especially loved the sea turtle beach. She loves to get her hands in the sand and the water and explore. The sea turtle craft is adorable, and I love that you can incorporate learning the parts of a sea turtle while painting and gluing the pieces together. It brings hands-on exploration, science, and language together.
Based on my observations, Annie loved everything! She couldn’t do everything independently. I will keep this in mind for future themes and lessons that I plan. We could do the same skills and type of activities again, but for a different piece. It keeps it interesting for your child!
Since Annie loves hands-on exploration so much, I will keep that in mind as I choose new activities for her next week!
Have you tried any ocean activities, and have you tried the planner? You can download the planner by signing up below. How did it go?