Science for Kids: Create an Under the Sea World to Explore Ocean Zones - Edventures with Kids

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Science for Kids: Create an Under the Sea World to Explore Ocean Zones

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We've been enjoying some fun books about the ocean and sea animals this summer.  My kids have always been big fans of ocean life.

There are so many wonderful creatures that live in the seas and did you know that so much of the ocean world is still undiscovered?!

We decided to make our own model of the ocean in order to explore the different ocean zones and the animals that live in these areas.  I've included a detailed tutorial on how we put ours together along with affiliate links to some of the products we used to create our own ocean world.



 Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

Create an Under the Sea World & Explore Ocean Zones

This is such a fun and hands-on project for kids -- they'll love helping to put it all together! 

We first read the book Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) to learn more about the various zones of the ocean.  The book also introduces a variety of animals that live in each zone. 



A great book we'd recommend that discuss ocean zones is the Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia which includes real photos of ocean animals and marine life.

When you create your ocean container, it won't be able to hold ALL of the animals you'd like to put in it. 

One of the lessons kids will quickly gleen from this activity is that most of the marine life live primarily in two zones in the ocean (in fact, our sunny zone got crowded very quickly). 

This is a wonderful discussion and learning experience but the kids will also need to choose which animals they would like to include in their sea-scape.


Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

Project Materials

• (1) large plastic container with a wide neck

• (5) differet colors of Blue Cardstock Paper (from light to dark) for each ocean zone

• Stickers of Ocean Animals

• (1) Toob of Sea Animals -- one type would be the Safari Ltd Ocean Toob

• blue string or thread

• tape

• water


Here's an example of the animals in the Safari Ltd Ocean Toob that we used for our project.  The animals from one toob could be used for up to three ocean containers since they are fairly large and you will only use a few.


They also make a  Safari Ltd. Deep Sea Creatures toob (new for 2015!) so this would be awesome to have for the lower ocean zones.


 Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

First, overlay the different colors of blue paper from lightest to darkest so that they can cover half of your container from top to bottom.  Each of these colors/layers will represent one of the ocean zones.

The 5 different ocean zones include:

  • Sunny Zone
  • Twilight Zone
  • Dark Zone
  • Abyss
  • Trench


Related Activity: Draw a Life-size Whale


Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

The next step is to have the kids use the Stickers of Ocean Animals to decorate the paper -- place the marine animals in their correct zones.  We used the book to help remind us which animals might live in different areas. 

For example, we decided to use our seaweed-looking stickers as Tube Worms which are found in the trench zone.  Most of the stickers will be placed in the sunny zone.

Once decorated, you can attach the papers to the OUTSIDE of your container using tape.  Trim the ends as needed.


Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

Next we'll put in the plastic marine animals from our Safari Ltd Ocean Toob .

Choose a few of the animals and tie a string/thread around each one. We used the dolphin, whale, eel and octopus for ours.

Then cut the thread at the appropriate length so when it's taped to the top of the container, each animal will hang in the correct zone.


Learn the Zones of the Ocean with this ocean biome science & craft idea

You can see that our dolphin stays in the sunny zone, the whale resides in the twilight and dark zones and the eel is the lowest in the dark zone.  Our Abyss has some stickers of sea tubes but there's not much that hangs out waaaayyy down there ;)

The last step is the most fun -- fill the container with water!

This not only makes the inside of the container look like a 'real' ocean but it also acts as a magnifier for the animals, stickers and labeling.  The water also helps the animals to 'swim' around in their new home :)



There are more creative ways to explore the zones of the ocean too:

We LOVE the Melissa & Doug Under The Sea - 100 Piece Floor Puzzle -- the pieces are large & sturdy; it's been used over and over as we put it together and then search for all the animals that live in variours layers of the ocean.  You can also use it with the ocean toobs as a matching game!

And one book series that's always a go-to resource when studying habitats are the DK books as they have amazing photography!  DK Eyewitness Books: Ocean will take you under the sea to every layer of the ocean so you can get a close-up look at who lives there.



ocean activities for kids


Draw a Life-size Whale: Math & Science Fun

8 Ocean Books & Activities


Head over to these great blogs for more ideas on Beach & Ocean Fun too!



  • Guest
    Emma July 30

    Such a creative idea! And a great way to teach about the ocean:)

  • Guest
    Jodie July 30

    What a clever idea!

  • Guest
    Carla July 30

    I love how you suspended the animals in the different zones--way cool!

  • Guest
    Lina July 30

    Great idea! Perfect for the cottage and striking up conversations about what's down in the water in the lake!

  • Guest
    Suja Balaji July 30

    Such a creative activity!

  • Guest

    This is amazing! What kid wouldn't love to make their own underwater world. The activity is such a wonderful extension of the book, too! I'm featuring this tomorrow at the After School Linky Party. Keep sharing; I love to see what you've linked up each week!

  • Guest

    Great idea! I'm sure my son would love something like this-I best not throw away the little plastic fish currently sitting by the back door...!
    Thank you for linking up to Mom's Library, I'll be featuring you this week at Crystal's Tiny Treasures. Have a great week!

  • Guest

    This is a really great learning project. Thanks for hopping over to my blog and commenting. It means a lot. And now I found another cool blog that I like...I am following you now.

  • Guest

    We really enjoy the cat in the hat learning series but we haven't read this one. I love how you included the different zones in the model with creatures suspended in their zone. Such a wonderful idea.
    Thank you for linking up to Keeping it Real: Nonfiction Reading Adventure.

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