By Jillian Morris, founder of Sharks4Kids
Sharks have been around for over 400 million years and there are over 500 living species. Getting kids interested and excited about these animals can be challenging because of misinformation and negative stereotypes. As the founder of Sharks4Kids, I’ve worked for a decade creating materials, resources, and experience to help students (and adults) learn about these remarkable creatures. You do not have to love sharks, but understanding their importance to the ocean is vital, no matter where you live. They are not pets, but they are also not monsters.
Here are some tips for changing fear into fascination.
Educate Yourself: Learn some information about sharks either locally or globally in order to engage your kids or students. Make sure to check your sources, as I have seen much misinformation on websites considered legitimate educational resources. For example- there are over 500 known species of shark but lots of sites list 350. Once you have some fun facts under your belt, you can share them with others.
Some fun facts that kids are sure to love
- Yes, sharks poop!
- Tiger sharks can throw up their own stomachs and then suck them back in.
- Baby lemon sharks have belly buttons (really umbilical scars)
- Greenland sharks can live over 400 years
- There are species of shark that can GLOW!!!
Grab a Great Book: Why not encourage your young learner to dive into a book about sharks? You can also find some great stories for bedtime reading or read aloud in the classroom. There are lots of amazing shark books designed for kids and adults of all ages.
Some of my favorites are listed below
Make it fun: Do trivia in the car or during meals. Explore craft ideas to get creative. Whether your kids love to paint, sing, design, or dance, they can incorporate sharks and the ocean!
SHARKS4KIDS has a lot of crafts, activities, games, coloring pages, and more. Perfect for home or classroom learning and deFINitely a lot of fun.
Snorkel and Scuba Dive: Sharing the ocean with kids is really special and there are amazing ways to get them started. In the pool or even a lake. Find out of there is a dive shop locally that offers snorkeling or scuba lessons for kids. If you travel, this is also a great way to make your vacation even more exciting. There are snorkel and diving options for people of all ages and abilities. Take time to do some research and find locations that will fit the needs of your kids.