World Ocean Day is an international day that takes place annually on 8 June. It's designed to bring people together from all around the planet to celebrate and honour our one shared ocean.
With our love for nature and looking after the world around us, we've enjoyed many sea-themed play ideas over the years. With the half term holidays this week and the Summer holidays not too far away either, we've put together just some of our favourite ones to inspire you around this year's World Ocean Day.
Float your (ice) boat
Freeze some water in a bowl or tupperwear with a toothpick or ice lolly stick right in the middle. Add a little flag and then float them in a big tray of water. This is great to enjoy in water trays in the garden, or you can try it in the bath or sink on a colder day.
Make your own sea creatures
This is a lovely activity to do after a beach day! Collect a variety of shells, then paint them (we used our favourite, and slightly less messy, Little Brian paint sticks. Grown-ups can then help to add googly eyes and pipe cleaners for legs.
Want to make your very own ocean at home? Add drops to food colouring to a bowl of full fat milk, then using cotton buds and washing up liquid, swirl the surface to watch the colour speread and move around like magic.
Create an ocean sun catcher
This is really simple but such a fun activity, especially on a sunny day! Put sticky backed plastic, sticky side up, on a window and then invite children to stick tissue paper on top. We then cut out ocean animal shapes such as crabs and turtles, and added them on top to create an ocean sun catcher.
Whisk up some sea foam
This messy bowl of fun is popular in our house! In an electric mixer, add washing up liquid, a few drops of food colouring and a splash of water and mix on a high speed until you have a big bowl of foam. We added sea shells, pebbles and our ocean-themed Schleich animals for hours of play.
Never mind the children, this is one of my favourite messy play activities! Cook up some spaghetti and add food colouring to the water, then cook and drain as normal. Remember to add some oil to it to stop it sticking together, and once it's cool, add it to a bowl or tray for your very own seaweed spaghetti!
An ocean made of jelly...
Again, such a simple activity but so easy to adapt to any theme you're enjoying. Here, I set some animal figures into blue-coloured jelly and asked my little ones to release them. In the spirit of honesty, it took all of a few seconds for them to realise it was yummy - and it all kind of went down hill from there!
I know what you're thinking... most parents really dislike slime. But this The Imagination Tree recipe is our favourite as it's a great texture and doesn't stick to surfaces. Another really open-ended play idea, you can add a variety of sea and beach-themed accessories and children will love getting stuck in.
We hope that these ideas help you start conversations with our next generation about the important role the oceans play and how important it is for us to all do our part in looking after the nature around us. For more resources and information on World Ocean Day, please visit their website here.