COVID 19 Things You Can Do to Connect Kids to the Ocean

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#5 A Whale’s World

Whales are beloved across the world: their size alone is enough to capture our attention, not to mention the mysterious lives they lead beneath the water’s surface.

Scientists categorize whales into two groups: toothed whales and baleen whales. Toothed whales include beaked whales, sperm whales and orcas. Baleen whales include blue whales, humpback whales and right whales. Toothed whales are unique, because they use echolocation to navigate their way through water and locate possible food. In this activity kids will learn more about whales and more specifically how toothed whales use echolocation in the ocean.

Smart phone or computer
Blindfold or bandana
An open space


  1. Have your kids watch this video that explains how whales use echolocation.
  1. Use this game (adapted from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s echolocation game) to help kids better understand echolocation. This game requires at least two people.
    1. Choose one person to be the whale. Have this use a blindfold or bandana to cover their eyes. The other person, or people, will be the fish. (If you have more than two people, you can also take turns having more people act as whales, mimicking for example how orcas hunt in pods.)
    2. The person who is the whale will call out “fish” and all of the fish will reply “fish,” mimicking how sound echos in the water. The whale can call out as frequently as they like and will follow the sounds of the fish until the fish get caught.
    3. Now create sound interference: The video described how human noise creates interference for whales using echolocation. To mimic this experience put on music or some other noise (if you have enough people, they can make noise by clapping and stamping) and repeat the game, this time kids can experience the difficulty of having noise interference.
    4. After the game, take some time to reflect on how the sound made it more difficult to locate each other.
  1. Learn other interesting facts about whales through these fun games, videos, quizzes and art shows!
    1. Video with more information about whales
    2. Whale Facts Quiz
    3. Identify these whales as baleen or toothed whales
    4. (Optional Art Extension) Join the Conservation Law Foundation for their Right Whale Road Show Webinar: Digital Art Exhibition + Q&A with Experts, to learn more about the iconic and endangered North Atlantic Right Whale on April 9, 6-7:00 pm EDT. Right whales are baleen whales and do not use echolocation. Eventbrite description: “Join us for a webinar edition of the Right Whale Road Show and learn about this majestic species through a digital tour of artwork from local students and artists. You’ll hear stories from right whale experts, and we’ll even show you how you can take action to protect these incredible whales.” Link to register 

      Word Bank
      Echolocation: the location of objects by reflected sound.Don’t miss another blog post!

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      Arcadia Davies, Ocean Matters Youth Advocate Leader, recently graduated from Miami University with an interdisciplinary degree focusing on marine ecology and community engagement. She is passionate about connecting communities, especially youth, in ocean conservation projects. During college she practiced communicating science to the public through serving as the communication intern at The Island School in The Bahamas and taking numerous classes in marine ecology, creative writing, journalism, photography and community engagement. Arcadia has loved the ocean since a young age and strives to share that love with others.