Toddler Activity: Ocean Pollution Cleanup

Water sensory bins are perfect ways to help toddlers understand the world around them. For Earth Day, I wanted to talk to Mila about keeping our world clean. A perfect way to get her to connect was through an ocean pollution cleanup activity.

Since Mila loves the beach, I wanted her to know how not throwing trash away can hurt other living things environment.

Obviously, toddlers can’t understand the concept of the whole world at this age. We still want to teach them about their actions and the results after.

To connect Mila with ocean pollution, I used some toys and trash she sees every day.

Here’s what you’ll need if you try this water sensory bin:

  • A container – I reuse plastic storage drawers
  • Trash or unused crafting materials
  • Ocean animal toys
  • Reusable stickers
  • Strainer
  • Spoon

I placed Mila’s reusable mermaid and ocean stickers to the bottom of the container first. Also, I added some seashells and her favorite aquatic friends we have around the house.

Then, I filled up the container about half way.

We talked about how ocean animals (and mermaids of course) lived in the water. That all the oceans were their home. I asked her what makes a home? She said a clean place to have fun.

I’m pretty sure she saw my bowl full of trash at that moment.

After that question, I started throwing trash in the container. She definitely was a little confused. I told her sometimes the oceans get dirty because trash doesn’t get thrown away and other things don’t get recycled.

Soon, her ocean friends home were riddled with pollution. Until, I gave her the opportunity to cleanup!

I asked her if she wanted to help the ocean out and of course she agreed.

She used the spoon and strainer to fish out trash. Some of the trash was her fruit snacks, caps, and old ball she had in our house.

Honestly, her face seemed a little disgusted by all the trash. Somehow, she pushed through that phase and still had fun playing in the water.

Little by little, her hard work paid off. The ocean pollution cleanup was done!

We continued talking about trash and the ocean. She asked to do the activity again, and was still very concerned about saving her friends.

This water sensory was a great way to put environmental cleanup in Mila’s hands. She felt like she was helping the world around her and it might help teach her to do just that.

We love the Earth and connecting with all parts of nature. Activities, like this, can help our child love our world even more.

To find some other Earth Day activities, check out what these moms have planned:

If you liked this activity or do it in the future, let me know in the comments!