Water, Seas and Oceans
Let's dive deep into Water, Seas and Oceans with our children as we teach them about the topic by highlighting the innumerable resources, stunning beaches and gorgeous creatures who call it home. By understanding how everything is connected in the ocean and how we interact with it as humans, children will learn to care about the ocean because they will want it to be a better place – not just for the fish, but for them too.
Colette Barr, a passionate environmentalist, nature lover, author of The Eco-Heroes series and vice president at Azraq speaks about Water, Seas and Oceans and how parents can start raising awareness of the importance of marine protection from a young age.
Children are born with an instinctive curiosity for the ocean, and they love dipping their toes in the water, splashing and looking for baby sharks in the sea. This should make it relatively easy for us to start raising awareness of the importance of marine protection from these early years.
If you have kids in the age group of 0-2, try these easy yet effective suggestions:
- Take your babies to the beach. Let them play with the sand, crawl to the water’s edge, feel the salty water on their faces and the sea air in their hair. Being in nature is the best way for humans to appreciate our beautiful world and no matter what age your children are, if they can experience the touch, smells and sounds of the ocean they will be connected to its energy.
- Develop an appreciation for the ocean in your children by associating it with fun and happiness. Play ball with them, chase them in the sand, laugh and smile with them. Take a picnic and enjoy the experience of being there together. REPEAT often, despite tears, sandy eyes and dropped lollies. (Apparently our ancestors stemmed from fish, so we have an in-built love inside of us already).
- Read stories to your babies about the sea. Help them identify sea creatures by pointing to the colours and names. Show them pictures. REPEAT a million times.
- Watch movies like Finding Nemo. Your babies might not be able to understand but they will learn to love the characters and in time, identify with the storylines.
- Sing about ocean animals and talk about where they live and why they might be sad. (Wouldn’t you be sad if your home was getting too hot to live in and too polluted with plastic to keep your babies safe?)
- Be a role model to your child. Show them to put their litter in the bin, to be kind to animals, to love all beings, to be the best humans you can be.
By the time our children reach 3 years old, most of them have been in the sea, watched Finding Nemo and eaten their body weight in sand. They know what the ocean is and the amazing creatures which live there but how can we help them understand the need to protect our beautiful seas?
Here are a few ideas to get you started if you have kids between the age of 3-5:
- No more balloons! Balloons do NOT biodegrade. They are celebratory, fun and we have an emotional attachment to them but they are polluting our skies and oceans at an alarming rate. They almost always end up in the ocean and are ingested by marine life. If you HAVE to buy balloons, buy only foil and dispose of them responsibly.
- Stop buying straws and juice boxes for your children. They are great for the lunchboxes and kids love them, but we need to discourage plastic straws, so let’s not even start. Explain that straws can be harmful to turtles and sea creatures and your children will totally understand. Reusable bottles are the way to go with Dubai Can filtered water stations all around the city, so let’s start good habits on our water and plastic consumption early.
- Read relevant books, watch nature documentaries, sing songs about the ocean with your children at bath time. Keep them curious about the ocean’s magical energy.
- Take your children to the sea regularly. Develop an appreciation for the ocean in your children by associating it with fun and happiness. Play ball with them, chase them in the sand, laugh and smile with them. Take a picnic and enjoy the experience of being there together. REPEAT often, despite tears, sandy eyes and dropped lollies. (Apparently our ancestors stemmed from fish, so we have an in-built love of the ocean inside of us already).
- Be the best role model and Eco-hero you can be.
Thankfully by the time our children reach 6 years old, most of them are already learning about our oceans in school but they may also have picked up some habits and behaviours which are harmful for our oceans without even knowing. How can we help them understand the need to protect our beautiful seas and make some critical behaviour changes?
If you are a parent to children between the age group of 6-9, give these a try:
- Say no to sequins and plastic stuff stuck to clothes. (YES, that covers almost every t-shirt in the children’s section!) If you already have these on your clothes, wash them in a special guppy bag which catches the microfibres from manmade materials, stopping them from ending up in our seas.
- Why not ask them if they have heard about sustainable or slow fashion? Help them make fashion choices which do not harm our environment. Are they aware of who made their clothes and the pollution in our rivers and oceans caused by fast fashion? Explore this with them, research it and talk to them openly. They are the future consumers of this world so it’s good they have more awareness about these things than we did growing up and that they know that all pollution ends up in our oceans.
- Read relevant books, (like The Eco-heroes and The Plastic Planet), watch nature documentaries and movies. Keep them curious about the ocean’s magical energy and the awesome crazy creatures of the deep.
- Keep trying to be a fantastic example to your children, friends and family. That doesn’t mean perfect. You will make mistakes in your marine conservation journey, but that’s ok. Just be the best Eco-hero you can be.
If you are looking to raise an eco warrior give these suggestions a try and don’t forget to let us know which tip worked the best for you in the comments below!