Activity Introduction

blue_ocean_cliff_1q4a1895_photoframeQuick summary: This activity is designed to show children how looking after the land around us means looking after the ocean. Younger children will investigate how fresh water can look different when a range of natural contaminants are added to it. Older children will create a river and a sea, and will experiment with adding contaminants to the river to see how pollution from the land can end up in the ocean. This activity is designed to help connect children to the wonders of the natural world through sensory and play-based learning.

blue-white-logo-120pxBlue is a feature documentary film charting the drastic decline in the health of our oceans. With more than half of all marine life lost and the expansion of the industrialization of the seas, the film sets out the challenges we are facing and the opportunities for positive change. Blue changes the way we think about our liquid world and inspires the audience to action. Find out how to screen or download the film here. Along with the film is an ambitious global campaign to create advocacy and behaviour change through the #oceanguardian movement. To become an ocean guardian, see the website.

EYLF Learning Outcome


Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

3. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners

1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

3. Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another

4. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials

Equipment needed:

Ages 0 to 2 –

  • Clear tub or bucket of water 
  • Range of materials that can be added to the water, including things like sand, dirt, twigs, wood chips, pebbles and stones, paint, etc.
  • Toy animals that can be found in the ocean, such as fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles, crabs, seahorses, etc.

Ages 3 to 5 –

  • Five cups containing five different contaminants. You can use the actual contaminants or substitute the contaminants with less real (and less dangerous or disgusting) contaminants. Examples of contaminants could include – oil, paint, detergent, chook poo and harmless chemicals. In addition, collect a range of waste materials such as food wrappers, plastic bags, straws, bottle tops, etc.
  • River leading to a sea: you will need to direct a flow of water (the river) into a pool of water (the sea). It doesn’t need to be elaborate, i.e. you could use a tub or bucket for the sea and a pipe or tube as the river. Note: the river must flow into the sea.
  • Hose and access to water.
  • Optional: Toy animals that can be found in the ocean, such as fish, sharks, dolphins, turtles, crabs, seahorses, etc.

Unit of Work: Blue The Film: Early Learning

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.

© 2017 Northern Pictures and Cool Australia

The team at Cool Australia continually reviews and refines our Early Learning resources in line with expert advice and current educational practices.


Teacher Worksheet

blue_beach-sea-palm-trees_untitled_1-665-4-edit_photoframeBackground information

Information about Blue The Film:

From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of the universe. No matter where you live on our blue planet – you’re connected to the sea.

But the seas are under threat. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial-scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered.

By international standards, Australia is a marine conservation leader. It has the world’s largest coral reef, the best-managed fisheries and potentially, the greatest network of marine protected areas on the planet. However, the crisis of ocean change lapping on our shores has critical implications for the future of our country and our way of life.

Ocean guardians across the generations and around our coast are speaking out. Blue The Film takes

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