33 Ocean Activities, Experiments, and Crafts for Kids To Dive Into

Everything’s better under the sea!

Examples of ocean activities, including assembling ocean zone bottles and creating an ocean using egg cartons.

Have you ever watched as a child stares into an aquarium with awe? Whether it is the song “Baby Beluga” or the movie Finding Nemo, kids love all things ocean! So you know they’ll be eager to dive into this collection of ocean activities. Whether it is a science experiment to see how fish breathe underwater, an art lesson where students create their own underwater scene, or a writing prompt about the ocean, students will learn all about our watery planet. Come on in … the water’s fine!

1. Read an ocean book

Ocean Activities Books

Whether you’re looking for picture books or chapter books, fiction or nonfiction, our list of terrific ocean books has got you covered.

2. Make an ocean in a bottle

small plastic toys of different sea creatures are inside and outside some containers of blue water.

Turn an old water bottle into a mini-aquarium. Sand, shells, and plastic sea creatures bring the ocean to you anytime.

Learn more: A Little Pinch of Perfect/Ocean in a Bottle


3. Dive into an ocean-themed sensory bin


A child's hands are reaching into a bin filled with water, toy sea creatures, shells, etc. (ocean activities)

Round up shells, toy sea animals, and maybe even a boat or two, then drop them into a bin of water. Every kid will enjoy splashing around while they learn!

Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids

4. Take a virtual aquarium field trip

Jellyfish are shown under the water (ocean activities)

Can’t get to the aquarium? No problem! Take a virtual field trip instead with live webcams and video tours. See our list of virtual aquarium trips here.

5. Create an ocean in an egg carton

An egg carton is painted dark blue and filled with shells and has sea creature stickers stuck to it.

Ask your friends and family to save their egg cartons in the weeks before you plan on doing this project. Once ready, have your students paint their cartons. Finally, have them decorate their scenes using a variety of underwater objects and stickers.

Learn more: The Imagination Tree

6. Check out the Smithsonian’s Ocean site

A screenshot of a website on ocean life is shown (ocean activities)

Just as you’d expect from the Smithsonian, this website is full of information, photos, and more ocean activities. You’ll even find free lesson plans for teachers—score!

Learn more: Smithsonian Ocean

7. Assemble ocean zone bottles

Five bottles of water are shown with different sea creatures in them. They go from lighter blue water to dark and are labeled sunlight zone, twilight zone, midnight zone, abyss, and trenches.

Learn the zones of the ocean with these clever bottles. Simply use food coloring to dye the water deeper shades of blue to represent the amount of sunlight that reaches each zone, then add a representative sea animal toy.

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

8. Turn paint strips into ocean layers

A blue paint sample has different shades of blue on it. They are labeled sunlight, twilight, midnight, abyss, and trench.

Grab some blue paint sample strips and label them to represent the ocean layers. Then add stickers or drawings of corresponding animals to each layer.

Learn more: A Little Pinch of Perfect/Ocean Zones Crafts

9. Study how fish breathe underwater

A bowl is filled with water and coffee grinds (ocean activities)

This simple science experiment will help kids better understand how fish breathe underwater. Before beginning, pick your students’ brains to see what they already know or suspect about how fish breathe.

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands

10. Upcycle an ocean zones craft

A jar is covered in blue crepe paper and has sea creature stickers on it.

Here’s one more way to learn about the layers of the ocean. Use crepe paper to upcycle a plastic container, then get free printables at the link to add to your creation.

Learn more: Living Porpoisefully

11. Watch an ocean documentary

A screenshot from the opening scene of a documentary shows under the ocean with the words Wildest Pacific across it. (ocean activities)

Every streaming service is loaded with nature documentaries. Disney+ has an especially robust collection that’s perfect for kids. On Amazon, try Wildest Places or Ocean Mysteries. Netflix’s new Our Planet series has episodes on coastal seas and high seas.

12. Peruse the Marine Life Encyclopedia

A screenshot of an online sea dictionary shows 9 images of different sea creatures all labeled with their names like beluga whale, california sea lion, etc.

Looking for online ocean activities? Try the Marine Life Encyclopedia. Kids will get in-depth information about all their favorite sea creatures, from sharks to otters.

Learn more: Marine Life Encyclopedia

13. Assign an ocean-themed writing prompt

A paper reads Ocean Themed Writing Prompts. There are lines on the bottom of the page and a space to draw at the top (ocean activities)

Pair this ELA lesson with a science lesson on ocean life.

Learn more: 3 Dinosaurs

14. Learn how ocean currents work

A tub of purplish, blue water has plastic whales and sharks in it (ocean activities)

This cool demo uses hot and cold water mixed with a little food coloring to demonstrate how ocean currents form. (The plastic sea animals are just for fun!)

Learn more: Life Over Cs

15. See ocean waves in action

A Mason jar is laying on its side and filled with blue water.

A layer of oil floating on the water helps make wave action more obvious. You can do ocean activities like this one in person or as an online demo.

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands/Ocean Waves

16. Explore saltwater density

Four clear glasses are labeled baking soda water, sugar water, control plain water, and salt water.

Kids may be surprised to learn that it’s actually easier to float in salt water than fresh water. This experiment proves it!

Learn more: Science Kiddo

17. Fish for numbers

A little boy is seen standing over a water table. He is holding a fishing pole.

This fun activity works equally well for little ones who are working on number recognition and slightly older students who are already working on addition. It will require a little bit of preparation on your end, but the end result is so fun!

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

18. Dive and Discover

A screenshot of a website says DIve into Deeper Ocean Discovery

Here’s another website full of online ocean activities. It simulates the thrill of joining actual underwater explorations, from coral reefs to deep-sea trenches.

Learn more: Dive and Discover

19. Put together an ocean animal notebook

A hand is shown drawing sea creatures in a notebook.

Want to explore a wide variety of sea animals? Then grab this free printable 60-page notebook. Each page includes space for kids to fill in the information and add their own illustrations.

Learn more: Homeschool Giveaways

20. Do an ocean animal research project

A large poster board says ocean research project. There are 6 papers that say habitat, predators, diet, behavior, appearance, interesting facts, and sources. (ocean activities)

Here’s another way to explore sea creatures. Each student chooses their own favorite, then dives deep to learn all about it. Have kids give a presentation, design a slideshow, or even make their own documentary!

Learn more: 2 Literacy Teachers

21. Create an underwater scene using chalk and tempera paint

Two paintings are shown of different ocean scenes.

We love that this art project shows students a different way of using both paint and chalk or pastels. Begin by creating the sunset or ocean water with chalk or pastels, then dip your finger in white tempera paint and watch as the color spreads. Finally, cut out ocean animals, coral reefs, or boats to add to your scene.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

22. Transform eggs into sea creatures

Wooden eggs are painted to look like various sea creatures include a fish, a crab, a whale, and a turtle (ocean activities)

How adorable are these? They were made using wooden eggs, but plastic ones would work well too.

Learn more: Craft Play Learn

23. Build LEGO sea creatures

Various sea creatures are built from Legos

Pull out the tub of LEGO bricks and set kids free to create! Show them these pics for inspiration, then see what they can come up with on their own.

Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands/LEGO Sea Creatures

24. Use a fork to paint a puffer fish

A puffer fish has been painted on a blue background using yellow and white paint. A fork has been used to make the fins.

You’ll be surprised at how easy this impressive painting is to create. Pick up a bag of disposable forks and get ready for undersea fun!

Learn more: Crafty Morning

25. Paint a coral reef with sponges

underwater plant life has been painted in bright colors on a canvas.

Here’s another surprisingly easy ocean craft for kids. Cut disposable sponges into coral shapes, then stamp an underwater scene.

Learn more: Primary Theme Park

26. Make a tasty ocean-themed snack

Little cups are filled with blue pudding and graham cracker crumbs. They have flamingos and little umbrellas in them.

If allergies aren’t a concern, you can whip up these adorable snacks for your students. If allergies are a concern, you can always send the recipe home. Vanilla pudding dyed blue makes for perfect water, and graham cracker crumbs are the perfect stand-in for sand. Add some Swedish Fish and a little umbrella for good measure!

Learn more: Hunny I’m Home

27. Sculpt sea stars from salt dough

Starfish have been formed. They are shown on a blue background (ocean activities)

Starfish, more properly known as “sea stars,” come in a wide variety of sizes and designs. Have kids sculpt their own from salt dough or Play-Doh.

Learn more: Crafting Chicks

28. Craft a whale from a paper plate

Two whales are shown that have been made from paper plates.

No whale craft is complete without a spout of water from the blowhole! All you need is a pack of paper plates to get started.

Learn more: Krokotak

29. Draw a life-size whale

A large whale has been drawn with sidewalk chalk on a black top. There is an arrow and text that reads 100 feet away.

Did you know that blue whales are the largest creature ever to have lived on Earth? They’re even bigger than dinosaurs! Head to the playground with some sidewalk chalk and a tape measure to see if you can draw a life-size blue whale model.

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

30. Create a colorful seahorse

A colorful seahorse craft is shown. It has a googly eye. Holes have been punched in the head and red yarn has been strung through it (ocean activities)

The secret to this cool marbleized pattern? Shaving cream! This is one technique that never fails to impress.

Learn more: I Heart Crafty Things

31. Create a beach scene

clay has been used to create sand on a paper plate. The ocean is painted blue. Various beach scene items have been added like a palm tree, umbrella, etc. (ocean activities)

Kids will definitely love personalizing their beach scenes. You can use air-dry clay or salt dough to create the sand side of your ocean scene.

Learn more: First Palette

32. Hang suncatcher jellyfish

A jellyfish is shown. The bdy is made from different colored tissue paper pieces. It has ribbons hanging from the bottom.

Re-create the translucent bell of a jellyfish with tissue paper, then hang ribbon tentacles for a pretty ocean craft you’ll love to display.

Learn more: I Heart Arts ’n Crafts

33. Make a cereal box aquarium

Boxes have been transformed into aquariums. They have stones on the bottom and cardstock fish, etc.

We love that this craft encourages reusing rather than throwing away since kids will be upcycling their favorite cereal’s box. Be sure to provide kids with plenty of variety in stones, colored card stock, etc., so they can really personalize their aquariums.

Learn more: The Best Ideas for Kids

If you enjoy these ocean activities, check out 20 Wild Ways To Explore Animal Habitats With Kids.

Plus, 16 of Our Favorite National Geographic Activities Kids Can Do at Home.

These activities take your students under the sea to learn about ocean layers and currents, marine animals, saltwater density, and more.