It’s no secret that kids love going to the beach and showing Mom and Dad all of the cool “treasures” that they find. Sometimes they are empty shells and special rocks that look like diamonds. But sometimes those “treasures” are living creatures such as crabs and periwinkles and sand dollars. Teaching kids about the importance of preserving marine life can be really challenging in the heat of the moment, so it might be something to consider before you head to the beach on the hunt for treasures.
Marine life is best in the sea
Your little one may not understand how marine life can be impacted by a human. If you’re interested in helping them to understand it in a classic educational way, you can focus on some of the following important and easy-to-understand points.
• Crabs should be left in their holes: Crabs live in holes to protect them from predators. If kids find their holes, it’s important to leave them, and their inhabitants, alone. Not only can crabs hurt children easily with their pinchers, they
• are also not creatures to add to your aquarium
• at home.
• Leave turtle eggs where they are: Turtle eggs are sensitive and should be left undisturbed. Even though your little one will want to watch a turtle egg hatch, it’s important to remind them that they are babies and they need to be safe and sound with their brothers and sisters (as well as Mom).
• Do whatever you can to protect dolphins, manatees and whales: While your child isn’t likely to find dolphins on the beach, explain about proper boating and how it is our responsibility to protect dolphins, manatees and whales. This can also be a great way to explain the human impact on marine ecosystems on a larger scale.
• Be selective in fishing net use: If you do go fishing with a net or use fishing line, explain about how the larger netting is better because it traps only the big fish rather than the little ones that you throw out anyway. This is responsible fishing.
• Don’t litter at the beach or in the water: Make sure that they understand how human destruction occurs through litter. From trash floating in the ocean to animals being stuck in plastic bags and other waste, it’s important that they understand how little it takes for them to make a positive (or negative) difference.
Show them human interaction with marine life
If you want to really help this message hit home in an age-appropriate and educational way, consider reading Zoe the Crab - Mystery Island with your little one so that they can understand how Zoe’s true place is her hole with all of her marine friends. It will help them understand what to do if they ever see a real life crab or the other marine friends that she references in her story.
While treasures may be exciting, proper education on the importance of marine life preservation should never being compromised just for a trophy they bring home. Zoe’s story will help make that much easier for your little one to understand and appreciate.