The best way to teach your children about endangered animals is to get hands on! Check out these 30 fun sea turtle facts for kids plus how to make your own sea turtle craft that can actually float!
My kids, like almost every other kid on Earth, love animals. They even love the gross ones because, well, they don’t know they’re gross yet. And they really love the ones they don’t see often – like sharks, pandas, monkeys, and sea turtles.
Oh yes, sea turtles have always been fascinating to both of my girls. I think cute little Crush from Finding Nemo played a big part in that.
My love of sea turtles goes back a long way – and on my honeymoon in 2008, we actually got to get up close and personal with some baby sea turtles!
We stayed in the Le Méridien Resort in Bora Bora, which houses the Bora Bora Turtle Center! All efforts are made to make sure these little guys don’t become extinct. It was so cool seeing them so close. The pictures you see in this post are of my husband and me at the resort and some of the sea turtles we saw!
To get our conversation about sea turtles going, we decided to make some of our own. This floating sea turtle craft is so easy, but so fun for the kiddos to make and then play with after because the sea turtle they create will actually float in water!
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Here’s what you’ll need to make the floating sea turtles:
- Green Craft Foam – You can buy this on Amazon but unless you’re buying a lot, it’s way cheaper at Hobby Lobby or Walmart.
- Plastic Containers – I reused applesauce and fruit cups!
- Googly Eyes [optional]
- Craft Paint
My girls loved playing with their sea turtles in our water table, but you can simply fill up a small tote with with water for them to play in – or even the bath tub! But be careful, depending on the type of paint you use, it may come off the plastic cups after lots of water play. Just keep this in mind!
Let your children paint the plastic cups any shades of blue or green. While they’re painting, print out this template then trace your seat turtle onto green craft foam.
Once the painted cups are dry, glue them onto your foam turtles.
These turtles will actually float, which makes them a ton of fun especially in the bath tub or even in a water table like we did!
- Green Craft Foam
- Plastic Containers
- Craft Paint
- Googly Eyes [optional]
- Sea Turtle Template
- Paint Brush
- Hot glue gun [if needed]
- Print out the sea turtle template [linked above] and cut out onto green foam sheets.
- Let your child paint the plastic cups any color - sea turtles range from green, blue, and even black!
- Once the painted cup is dry, glue upside down onto the foam turtle cut-out.
- Add googly eyes, if you choose, to the turtle's head.
- Once glue is dry, you're ready to play! The foam sheets actually make these turtles float in water!
If you find that the plastic cups aren't sticking to the foam sheets, you can use a hot glue gun.
Washable paint may come off your cups in water, so keep that in mind with painting!
Another thing my girls love is learning about their favorite animals. Sophia’s favorite type of books are animal nonfiction books. And both of my girls are always amazed at fun facts, which is what inspired me to share these sea turtle facts.
30 Fun Sea Turtle Facts for Kids
1. Sea turtles have been on Earth for more than 220 million years.
Yes million years. That means that sea turtles were around when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!
2. Sea turtles can live to be 100 years old.
3. Unlike land turtles, sea turtles can’t hide their heads and legs inside their shell!
This makes them much more vulnerable to predators in the ocean.
4. Sea turtles have stronger muscles than humans!
5. Green sea turtles are the world’s largest species of hard-shelled sea turtle, with most weighing about 300 to 400 pounds.
6. The largest sea turtle ever discovered weighed around 2,020 pounds with a length of 9.8 feet.
7. Sea turtles cry!
They have eye glands that help them get rid of excess salt in their eyes and when they do, it looks like they are crying!
8. Male sea turtles spend their entire lives underwater.
9. Sea turtles have a form of GPS.
Ok, maybe not exactly like the navigation systems we have in our cars, but sea turtles do use vibration to know where they’re going. They also have excellent eyesight and sense of smell.
10. Females return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.
See… that GPS must work pretty well because this means they may travel hundreds of miles to return to the beach where they hatched.
11. Sea turtles are well known for migrating long distances.
It’s been recorded that they have traveled distances longer than 2,600 kilometers or 1,615 miles! That’s as long as
12. Sea turtles lay 100-200 eggs at a time.
13. Only 1 in 1,000 baby sea turtles survive.
14. Sea turtle eggs stay on land for 2 months before they hatch!
This makes the eggs extremely vulnerable.
15. After about two months, the babies will use a special “egg tooth” to break their shells and hatch from their eggs.
16. Once the eggs hatch, the baby sea turtles must find their way to the ocean all by themselves!
Their flippers are made for swimming not walking, which makes them very slow and a bit clumsy and vulnerable! They have to avoid predators like crabs and birds during their slow trek to the ocean.
17. Sea turtles don’t need a supply of fresh water. They get their water intake from the food they eat.
They can also ingest salt water because of their eye glands that we learned about in Fact #7!
18. Male sea turtles have longer and thicker tails than females.
19. There are 7 species of sea turtles: Green sea turtles, Hawksbill, Leatherback, Flatback, Loggerhead sea turtles, Kemp Ridley and Olive Ridley.
20. Leatherbacks sea turtles are the fastest sea turtles.
They have been known to swim at over 20 miles per hour!
21. The Leatherback sea turtle doesn’t swim in shallow waters, it swims deep! They can reach as deep as 1000 feet deep in the ocean.
22. The biggest type of sea turtle is the Loggerhead that can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds!
23. The smallest type of sea turtle is the Olive Ridley turtle, which can be as small as 100 pounds at full grown size.
Want a free printable version of these interesting facts?! Click the image below!
Green Sea Turtle Facts
24. Green sea turtles breathe oxygen just like us! But they can hold their breath for way longer – up to 2 hours!
25. Green sea turtles are unique — they are one of the largest species of turtle and the only turtle that is strictly herbivorous as an adult.
26. Green sea turtles get their name from the layer of green fat that lies under their shell.
Scientists believe this unusual quirky-coloured fat is the result of their veggie diet.
27. Green sea turtles’ shells can include shades of different colors, including dark brown, green, olive, yellow and black.
28. Green sea turtles in the Eastern Pacific actually have darker shells and are known locally as “black turtles” even though they still are green sea turtles!
29. Sea turtles can be found nesting along the coastline of more than 80 countries around the world, with the largest nesting populations found in Costa Rica and Australia.
30. Sea Turtles are endangered.
There used to be millions of sea turtles in the ocean, but now there are only thousands.
The main reasons that these beautiful creatures have become endangered is due to: poaching, loss of nesting or feeding areas, ocean pollution [like plastic bags] and weather changes caused by global warming. Fishing also poses a danger, too, with thousands of sea turtles accidentally caught in fishing nets and other equipment every year.
If you want to learn even MORE about sea turtles, you can visit some of these great resources:
- The UK version of National Geographic Kids has a great article sharing even more facts about sea turtles, plus a free printable teaching resource that would be great for homeschooling families or teachers.
- I am OBSESSED with watching this live webcam at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. You’ll often see Mavis the sea turtle swim by!
- While it’s not live, this Youtube video of Kirby the Loggerhead sea turtle is pretty awesome too!