A Fun Summer of Seabed Activities
06 August 2021 / By Loveday Trinick, ReMEDIES Education Officer
With the Summer Holidays in full swing, we are all looking for fun things to do, whatever the weather. The Ocean is a great source of inspiration for activities, both outdoors and inside your homes. Here are five ways to spend your time over the summer while learning a bit more about seabed habitats.
Go to the beach and look in the rockpools
Rockpooling is a great activity for the summer. By simply sitting by a rockpool and observing quietly, we can watch these tiny ecosystems come alive. Small fish dart out, looking for food and shelter. Even seemingly motionless sea snails will creep slowly by, grazing on algae. Observing wildlife and enjoying a peaceful moment at the same time is a fantastic way to connect with nature and increase our own wellbeing. Remember, if you do catch animals, do so carefully and avoid using nets as they can damage delicate skin and scales. Always keep aquatic animals in water in your bucket and return them to the same rock pool as soon as you have all had a good look.
If you want to help look after these places and have fun at the same time, look at joining the Marine Conservation Society for a beach clean!
Make an Aquascope
These simple devices can help you see underwater without getting wet. You can purchase them online, but it is a fun to make your own. You will need:
- A 2-litre plastic bottle (or similar)
- A leftover sheet of clear plastic – from packaging or a ziplock bag
- Rubber bands
- Strong tape such as duct tape
- Firstly, cut the ends off your bottle to make a tube. Keep this as long as you can so you don’t have to lean too far over the water. Be careful cutting and get an adult to help!
- Stretch your clear plastic sheet over one end of the tube and secure with an elastic band.
- With it stretched as tight as you can, secure the plastic sheet in place with tape.
- You can use a little extra tape to cover the edges of the other end of the tube. This will make it less sharp!
Take your homemade aquascope to some water and try it out. Submerge the clear plastic end in water and peer down at an underwater world. Always check your footing and make sure you don’t lean too far.
Try out snorkelling
If you would prefer to get wet, try out snorkelling. Just off our coasts, you can find amazing life in a huge range of habitats. From flatfish hiding in the sandy seabed to crabs and lobsters hiding in rocky caves, you can find something new every time. Many seaside shop and supermarkets sell snorkelling kits. In the summer, all you need is a snorkel, a mask and something to swim in! Take lots of care and, if you are unsure, they are ways to try snorkelling with a professional to help you. Look here for ways to try snorkelling with The Ocean Conservation Trust in Plymouth.
Shoebox habitat craft activity
A fun indoor activity which helps you to remember all the amazing things you saw outdoors. When the rains come or you just need to escape the sun, try making your own shoebox habitat. You will need:
- An old shoebox
- Any craft materials or upcycled household bits and pieces
- Glue or sticky tape
- Colour pens, paint or crayons
- An idea!
- Remember one of your favourite things you saw on a day out. It could be a woodland walk, a river or the seaside. Maybe you saw something amazing down your homemade aquascope.
- Create your scene inside your shoebox. You can build up the landscape with papier-mache or you can made it a drawing or painting around the flat sides.
- Decorate your habitat however you like and add animals made from craft materials.
- Show off your amazing creation!
Visit an aquarium
Remember, zoos and aquariums are great ways to see habitats and animals and are a fun way to spend a day. Check out your local zoo or aquarium and look out for fun holiday activities they run.
If you are visiting, or are local to, Plymouth why not plan a trip to the National Marine Aquarium? It is home to our partner the Ocean Conservation Trust where you can visit our ReMEDIES seagrass growing lab and find out more about the partnership’s restoration programme.
If heading outdoors, to the beach, river or lakes, here are some of the ways you can keep yourself, and the environment, safe:
- Always check the tide if going to the beach. It is best to visit on a falling tide, especially if rockpooling. This helps you to not get cut off with the tide.
- If you are heading into the water, stay within your own limits and those set by any lifeguarding service. The RNLI will lifeguard many beaches in the summer, making them the safer option. Stay within their marked swim zones to help them keep you safe.
- Remember, water can be cold and can have currents. If in doubt stay on your feet and paddle.
- Avoid touching wildlife. Observing animals in their habitats can be incredibly rewarding but try to watch without catching or disturbing them.
- Take your rubbish home with you if you can’t find a suitable bin.
- If you can, walk, cycle or catch public transport.