Once you start exploring the ocean with your kids, it won’t be long until their curiosity is soaring. Grab these free resources to explore the layers of the ocean to teach your kids about the regions of the water that cover so much of the Earth’s surface. Don’t miss our free instant download at the bottom of this post that will help your kids learn about the layers of the ocean.
Study the Layers of the Ocean
Since I live on an island, I can’t help but want to teach my kids all about the ocean. My kids have grown to love the ocean so much that my daughter (13) wants to pursue a career in marine biology.
The island where we live is in the Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean on Earth, covering around 30% (or 1/3) of the Earth’s surface. Pacific means Tepre Pacificum in Latin, “peaceful sea.”
It is no wonder why my daughter loves the ocean. It is peaceful, its beauty surrounds us, and we have seen its power during storms. The ocean remains a mystery to her, to me, and every other human on Earth. Literally, every human. These stats will blow your mind.
We can see that oceans cover around 70% of the Earth’s surface. There is no doubt in studying the oceans. Your kids will ask you some questions like how big the ocean is, how deep is the ocean, etc.
👉 Scroll down to download our Free Layers of the Ocean Worksheet Pack
Exploring the Ocean
As vast as the ocean is and vital for the source of living things (70% of our oxygen comes from the ocean, NatGeoKids), a whopping 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, never been observed, or explored.
It is way too difficult still and way too expensive to explore the ocean in its entirety with the current underwater vehicles and sonar technology that exists today. Therefore only 10 percent of the entire global ocean waters have been mapped my sonar technologies.
Even adults are curious about what else is out there then? It boggles my mind. What sea creatures haven’t we discovered? How cool must they look, and how do they live? Are there huge sea animals out there? Could they have beautiful or even neon colors?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working to increase understanding of this ocean realm, which will remain a mystery to humankind for quite a while.
The Five Ocean Zones
So, where do we begin our ocean unit study? The best place to start an ocean unit study is learning ocean terminology and then with studying its layers – also called ocean zones. Different animals live within each layer of the ocean, so you can incorporate the animals with each layer you teach your kids.
Basic Overview of the Five Layers or Zones of the Ocean:
Layer 1 – The Trenches (Hadalpelagic Zone)
Layer #1 is the deepest layer of the ocean located in the basin or below. Of course, it is darker than dark, colder than cold. No light can even penetrate this layer at all.
Even though these conditions may seem impossible for creatures to thrive, some creatures live here. Mostly the animals living in the trenches are starfish and other invertebrates.
Layer 2 – The Abyss (Abyssopelagic Zone)
This layer or zone has temperatures that are near freezing, and there is no light at all. It is home to creatures, including sea stars (starfish) or squid.
Get this – 75% of the ocean floor is in this zone, the Abyss.
Layer 3 – The Midnight Zone (Bathypelagic Zone)
This layer is super cool, as some of the animals here produce their very own light. These are called bioluminescent creatures.
Many of the creatures here are either red or black due to the lack of sunlight. Whales often go hunting in the Midnight, or Dark Zone, for food.
Layer 4 – The Twilight Zone (Mesopelagic Zone)
This layer has faint sunlight and is home to cool sea creatures like the swordfish, the wolf eel, and even some bioluminescent creatures.
Layer 5 – The Sunlight Zone (Epipelagic Zone)
This is the tangible part of the ocean. It is where we can swim, where we find the coral reef, and where photosynthesis occurs.
Can you believe this is the only layer of the ocean that most of us will only ever have access to?! That is pretty amazing.
Now, let’s get some resources to teach our kids all about these mysterious layers of the ocean.
Recommended Resource: Ocean Notebook, a companion to Ocean Anatomy by Julia Rothman.
In the Ocean Notebook students follow along with the topics in Ocean Anatomy to learn all about life in the ocean, layers of the ocean, the ocean floor, coral reefs, tide pools, and much more.
Ocean Zone Worksheets
Check out these free resources to explore the layers of the ocean.
These free resources will help you teach your children about the layers of the ocean. Your kids will learn about the high pressure and lack of light in the abyssal zone. They’ll also learn about the twilight and sunlight zones of the ocean. It’s a fun and interesting way to explore the ocean’s layers.
Ocean Zone Teaching Aid
Free – KS2 The Layers of the Ocean PowerPoint | This is a free PowerPoint and is a fun and engaging way to teach kids about the different zones of the ocean.
Free Ocean Zones Activity
Oceans-Its Layers Free | Kids learn details about the oceans, the layers, and the different creatures that live in the various layers. You’ll also find an activity for you and your children to complete.
You might also like – Paper Plate Ocean Crafts
I love easy paper plate ocean crafts because they take minimal supplies and don’t make much of a mess. These fun ocean crafts can be made with paper plates.
Ocean Zones Printables
Learn about the Ocean Zones | You’ll find free printables and activities recommended to help your children learn about the ocean zones.
Layers of the Ocean Worksheet
Ocean Zones For Kids: Learning About The Amazing Ocean | This is a hands-on activity to help your kids learn about the ocean zones. Kids will see the different amount of light that reaches the main layers. Also, they’ll be introduced to the different sea creatures that live in each zone.
Ocean Zones Activities
Montessori Inspired Layers of the Ocean for Preschoolers | This is a fun activity for young children. You will make small bottles demonstrating the different layers of the ocean and allow your children to discover which marine animals live there. Plus there’s a painting activity to complete as well.
Layers of the Ocean Worksheet Pack
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to gain access to our Layers of the Ocean Download.
Layers of the Ocean for Kids
These worksheets and printables can be printed out and used to teach your children about the ocean zones and sea creatures that live there.
Layers of the Ocean Worksheet
Layers of the Ocean Free Printables | These free printables are perfect for exploring the different zones from the surface to the deepest parts of the ocean. Kids match the marine animals that live in the extreme depths plus the animals that live at the ocean surface.
Ocean Layers Worksheet
Ocean Layers (Elementary Level) Free Coloring Page | You’ll find a full-size coloring page to introduce your children to the layers of the ocean and the different sea creatures that live there.
Ocean Zones Worksheet
Ocean Zones Free Practice Questions | You’ll find a worksheet of questions about the ocean zones. These are great for starting a discussion and reviewing what your children have been learning.
Free Ocean Worksheets for PreK and Kindergarten (8 Pages) | This is a PDF packet that includes activity worksheets for your children to complete. These sheets include tracing, color by number, cutting and pasting activities, and more.
Ocean Zones Worksheet PDF
Ocean Zones Free Worksheets for Kids | These are great worksheets for introducing kids to the marine life that lives in the different zones of the ocean. For instance, they’ll learn that sea turtles live in the sunlight zone while tube worms live in the trenches.
Make Ocean Zones in a Jar
Kids love to make ocean zones in a jar. It’s the perfect way to demonstrate the different zones of the ocean by creating a water column of different densities. These jars can be simple showing only 3 zones to more complex showing all 5 zones of the ocean.
Make Your Own Ocean Zones In A Jar | Make your own ocean zones in a jar is a fun and easy activity for you to do with your kids. First use corn syrup that’s been tinted black to show the constant darkness in places like the Mariana Trench. Then you’ll show how the next layer isn’t quite as dark. Keep moving up the layers until you reach the surface layer of the ocean. When you’re finished, you’ll have all five layers in a jar.
Simplified Ocean Zones in a Bottle (3 Zones) | This is a simplified form of the ocean zones in a jar as you are only making three zones instead of five. Here you’ll make the sunlight zone where a large number of creatures live. Then you’ll make the twilight zone and the midnight zone.
DIY Ocean Layers! | Make more zones in a jar with your children. It’s a fun activity to show how the light in the dark zone is dramatically different than the light at the surface of the ocean.
Recommended Resource: The Ocean Student Notebook, a companion to The New Ocean Book by Master Books.
The ocean is teeming with life and with evidence of God’s design and the Genesis Flood. Your students can learn all about this world under the surface of the water through vocabulary, written narration, notebooking, and copywork as they use The Ocean Student Notebook alongside The New Ocean Book by Master Books.
Dive deep with written narration, sketching, labeling and diagramming, and more today!
Layers of the Ocean for Kids
Kids love learning science through different activities. These activities give you a variety of options from soap making, sensory bottles, 3-part cards, and more.
Layers of the Ocean Lesson
Layers of The Ocean Lesson And Soap Making For Kids | This is a fun soap-making activity that also teaches children about the layers of the ocean. They’ll see how the amount of light that each layer receives changes as you dive down into the deepest parts of the ocean.
Ocean Zones for Kids
Ocean Zones for Kids and Ocean Activities | Use food color and small bottles to demonstrate how light decreases in deeper water.
Ocean Zones Printable
Ocean Zones and Animals Free Activity | This is a fun activity that uses gelatin to help kids see which creatures, such as blue whales, live in various zones of the ocean. This is especially fun if you get a deep water set of animals. This set will show even the bioluminescent creatures of the deep sea.
Learning About the Layers Of The Ocean (Paint Sample Craft For Kids) | This is a fun craft to teach your children about the layers of the ocean from the extreme depths to the surface.
Ocean Zones Activities
Ocean Activities for Kids | You’ll find over 30 activities and printables to enjoy with your kids. These will teach your children about the world ocean, sea creatures, and more!
More Free Activities to Study the Ocean Zones
Paint Strip Ocean Depths [Read and Record] | Use paint strips to learn about the different layers of the ocean.
Ocean Zones for Kids: Layers of the Sea Science Project | This is a great science project to show the different zones of the ocean and the animals that live there.
Zones of the Ocean Sensory Bottles | This is a great activity for preschoolers. Create sensory bottles for your children to play with. Each bottle will show a different zone of the ocean.
Ocean Zones Upcycled Kids Craft Free Ocean Animals Printables | This is a great craft for your child to make and keep in their bedroom. It will show the layers of the ocean and the animals that live there.
Free Ocean Zones 3 Part Cards | These cards will teach the names of the oceans such as the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also find 3 part cards to show the different animals, and activities to enjoy.
Free 3D Ocean Layer Bingo | This is a unique Bingo game that you play in 3D to demonstrate the different layers of the ocean.
Exploring Ocean Layers Science Activity for Kids | This is an ocean layer science activity that will also demonstrate the different layers for the children.
Creative Ocean Zones Activity for Kids | Help kids learn about where different creatures such as sperm whales, salmon, and sea urchins live using this fun ocean zones activity.
Free Ocean Layers Animal Printables
There are currently hundreds of thousands of ocean life forms in the sea right now, yet scientists believe there can be millions of marine life forms that we have yet to discover.
Teach your kids about some of the sea animals we do know that exist in the different layers of the ocean.
Ocean Animal Free Printables – for Early Learners | These ocean animal printables are perfect to introduce your young children to the various sea creatures that live in the ocean.
Free Sunlit Ocean (Euphotic) Zone Animal Printouts | Learn about the animals that live in the sunlight zone.
Free Animals of the Deep Ocean Printables | Learn about the creatures that live in the deep water of the ocean where there’s immense pressure and the water temperature drops to just above freezing.
Free Ocean Zone Videos
Sometimes the best way to learn about the ocean zones is to watch videos about these different layers. You can learn about the deep trenches, the sea creates, and the sunlight zone.
Let’s Learn the Ocean Zones! | Learn about the zones of the ocean from the midnight zone to the sunlight surface. You’ll also learn about the deepest fish. These fish are able to survive the crushing depths in this pitch-black bottom layer of the ocean.
What Are Ocean Zones? | Learn about the different ocean zones with this quick video.
Creatures Within the Layers of the Ocean | Kids can watch this video to learn about the ocean zones and the animals that live there.
19 Ocean Videos for Kids that are Teacher Approved | This is a list of 19 ocean videos for you and your children to watch and learn about the ocean zones.
More Free Ocean Worksheet Printables
Ocean-Themed Writing Prompts for Kids – These Free Ocean-Themed Writing Prompts for Kids include 10 fun prompts to get their imaginations going!
Sea & Ocean Life Cycles Cut & Paste – Life in the world’s seas and oceans is incredibly diverse. Help kids learn about the life cycles of 13 of the animals that live there with this simple, no-prep, hands-on science activity.
Ocean Animals Notebooking Research Journal – With this resource, your students will have the chance to learn about 60 different ocean animals and record what they find in this printable notebook.
Ocean-Themed Cursive Alphabet Tracing Pages – Students can practice tracing each uppercase and lowercase letter and can color pictures of dozens of ocean animals along the way if they like.
Animals of the Tide Pool Printables – These animals of the tide pool printables will help you to explore the interesting ocean ecosystems and creatures with your homeschool kids.
Types of Whales Matching Game – This Free Types of Whales Matching Game is a fun way to introduce your elementary students to twelve different types of whales.
Studying the ocean with your children is a great way to explore many topics of science and learn about sea creatures, the deep layers of the ocean, tides, and more. Be sure to print of some fun ocean worksheets and get started today!
Free Layers of the Ocean Worksheets
This cute printable set can pair perfectly with the curriculum you’re using to teach about layers of the ocean. You’ll have a 3-D printable poster, description/informational page and a couple of hands-on worksheets for learning fun. There’s also a STEM activity too!
Instant Download: Layers of the Ocean Worksheets PDF
Sara Dennis is a veteran homeschool mom of six who’s still homeschooling her two youngest kids after the older four have graduated, entered college, and moved on to adult life. She blogs at Classically Homeschooling.