By Beth Jenkins
Art Studio Assistant, Children’s Museum of Phoenix
It’s Earth & Sky month at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. This project introduces the sea turtle, an endangered species.
Ages: preschool (with assistance) & up.
Materials: 6” X 9” piece of white construction paper, 4” X 5” piece of green construction paper, paper fasteners, scissors and markers or crayons.
Show a picture of a sea turtle to your child. Have them draw and cut out a turtle from the green paper. Decorate with markers or crayons.
Help your child draw an egg shape larger than the turtle on white paper.
Cut out the egg and decorate it.
Draw and cut a jagged line in the middle of the egg, cutting the egg in half so it looks like it was cracked in two pieces.
Use a paper fastener to attach the two egg pieces on top of the turtle.
Open and shut the shell to demonstrate the hatching of the baby sea turtle.
A good way to begin this project is to read your child a book about sea turtles. Two of our favorites are One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies and Jane Chapman, and I’ll Follow the Moon by Stephanie Lisa Tara and Lee Edward Fodi. This is an optimal time to introduce the topic of endangered species and what we can do to protect them. The following information can be reviewed with your child:
- Sea turtles are an endangered species that live in warm oceans around the world.
- They are the largest of turtles and can grow to 7 feet long, weigh 1000 lbs., and live to be 100 years old.
- The life cycle of the sea turtle begins when a mother turtle travels thousands of miles to the beach where she was born.
- She digs a pit in the sand and lays about 100 eggs, the size of ping-pong balls.
- She covers the pit and leaves.
- Baby turtles hatch in 50 to 70 days, crawling across the sand to ocean.
- It is a dangerous journey since they can be eaten by predators such as birds and fish. They can also die from ingesting plastic wrappers floating in the ocean.
- Those babies that survive eat fish, seaweed, and algae and grow to adulthood.
- Certain beaches are designated as protected habitats for turtles that are nesting.
ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF PHOENIX
The mission of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children and the grown-ups who care about them. With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children ages birth to 10, the Museum focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.