10 Tips for Educating Youth About Ocean Plastic Pollution

 

Photo by Biljana Martinić

Every generation has the power to change the world, but only if they get involved. Teaching youths about taking care of the planet so they feel personally invested is the first step to inspiring them to join ocean conservation efforts when they’re older. Parents, teachers and other potential educators like tourism businesses can make that happen with the following tips.

1. Read Picture Books Together

Picture books introduce the visual concept of pollution so young children understand why it’s bad for anything that lives in the ocean. As each child ages, ocean conservation volunteer opportunities or careers could become much more of a priority in their lives.

2. Play With Marine Life Toys

Toys modeled after ocean wildlife make kids feel bonded with the creatures that live in the sea. Those children will already feel personally connected to nature when they grow up and want to help reduce ocean plastic pollution.

3. Utilize New Technology

Kids are tech-fluent younger than their parents and even their older siblings. Parents and teachers can combine that skill with new tech, especially if the technology helps the kids with school projects.

Grade schools utilize new technology to create future-ready learning environments, which allow for more interactive lessons that kids take to heart. Tablets with high processing speeds could enable equal access to lessons like videos about ocean plastic pollution or the harm it creates for wildlife.

4. Make a Visual Demonstration

 Kids can learn how recyclable materials don’t always reach recycling plants with a visual demonstration. The example will be easier to understand compared to a lengthy textbook explanation.

Pour a cup of hard candies or berries into a bowl for each child. Tell them it’s a snack, then separate 70% of their portions into different bowls closer to you. The example will make an impact after you explain how that’s the equivalent amount of materials that never reach recycling plants after people put them in recycling bins.

The kids will remember being disappointed that they didn’t get more of their promised snack, much like how people are disappointed that their recycled waste doesn’t get reused.

5. Visit the Aquarium

Children love going to aquariums as field trips or fun weekend activities. It’s an opportune moment to talk about how pollution harms those animals in the sea. The kids will combine the positive memories from that trip with the lesson about pollution, resulting in a personal investment in the well-being of oceanic wildlife.

6. Try a New Craft

When children try crafts that invent new things with old materials, they better understand the idea of recycling. They could make paper towel rockets or glue cork butterflies together at home or school. Once they know what happens after ocean conservation groups remove pollution from beaches and the waves, they may become more interested in joining them one day.

7. Adopt a Fish

Teachers and parents can adopt a pet fish to educate kids about ocean plastic pollution. Showing children how to clean and fill the tank with treated water is a learning opportunity. Kids will see how animals depend on people to maintain their environment. They wouldn’t want plastic straws and wrappers in their fish’s tank, so they shouldn’t be in the ocean.

8. Schedule a Beach Cleanup Day

Older elementary and middle schoolers can get involved with conservation early by picking up trash on the beach for a field trip or weekend afternoon activity. If they see coastal waste in real life, it will become a more pressing issue they’ll care about. They’ll also feel a rewarding sense of fulfillment after restoring their beach to a clean state.

9. Point Out Plastic Objects

Something as simple as pointing out plastic objects around the room demonstrates how much people rely on plastic. Kids might otherwise not recognize plastic in their lunchboxes, toys, houses and classrooms. Ending the lesson by talking about how it could all end up as ocean pollution will drive home the magnitude of the problem.

10. Sponsor a Boat Race

Make boats out of plastic bottles to have a fun lesson for everyone. Instructors should mention how the plastic bottles float when dropped in the ocean. They don’t disappear or break down for a long time, so they eventually look like food to unsuspecting wildlife. The winner of the race would get a prize according to their age and where they are, like a free show-and-tell day at school or an extra scoop of ice cream after dinner.

Educate Kids About Ocean Plastic Pollution

Children will feel empowered to join ocean conservationists after their parents, teachers or other educators use these tips to help teach them about ocean plastic pollution. The lessons will inspire the next generation to care about the planet and make it a better place for everyone.

Author Bio:

Jane is the editor-in-chief and founder of Environment.co. She is passionate about helping people understand the importance of sustainability and actionable steps to live a greener lifestyle. To read more posts from Jane, sign up for Sea Going Green’s newsletter!

Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy working to spread awareness on the challenges facing our oceans through our work with clients in the marine tourism industry.


Would you like to get young guests involved in marine conservation activities? We have some inspiration for you.

 Every generation has the power to change the world, but only if they get
involved. Teaching youths about taking care of the planet so they feel
personally invested is the first step to inspiring them to join ocean
conservation efforts when they’re older. Parents, teachers and other
potential educators like tourism businesses can make that happen with the
following tips.Read MoreEducationBlog – Sea Going Green

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