Studying marine life is exciting for kids! Research tells us that kids who are exposed to nature and its inhabitants have a greater chance at becoming responsible adults who care for our Earth and its creatures. This summer, discover and explore the magnificent sea turtle with a Wikki Stix created version of the sea turtle’s life cycle.
WIKKI STIX PAPER PLATE SEA TURTLE LIFE CYCLE CRAFT
Sea Turtle Life Cycle Labels
Materials needed: Assorted Wikki Stix (various sea turtles have different colorings: green, yellow, brown, reddish, or black in color), scissors, sea turtle labels (linked above), and one paper plate per craft.
Discuss with the children the 4 basic stages of a sea turtle’s life cycle:
- EGGS – The sea turtle lays her eggs at night. The female sea turtle leaves the ocean to dig a hole in the sand away from the edge of the water. In the nest, a female sea turtle lays about 100 eggs (on average). After the eggs are laid, the mother uses her front and back flippers to cover the eggs to protect them.
- HATCHLINGS – The sea turtle hatchlings come out of their shell after approximately 6-12 weeks in the sand (depending on the species of turtle). The hatchlings dig their way to the top of the sand and quickly head to deeper water in the ocean.
- YOUNG or JUVENILE SEA TURTLES – Young sea turtles have an initial growing phase of up to 10 years. While they are growing, the young sea turtles eat plankton, jellyfish and fish eggs. Young turtles stay in the deep ocean waters until they join other turtles near the coastline to continue growing.
- ADULT SEA TURTLES – Sea Turtles make their home near the coastlines of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Sea Turtles can live to be 100 years old and some species grow to be over 3 feet long.
Give each child a paper plate and invite them to divide the paper plate into four sections by placing one Wikki Stix vertically across the center of the plate and one Wikki Stix horizontally down the middle (see photo above).
In the upper left hand corner, have the children use brown Wikki Stix to make “sand” and place small white Wikki Stix balls (or pieces) to resemble the sea turtle’s eggs on top of the sand. Have the children place the EGGS label inside this section.
In the upper right hand corner, invite the children to create the hatchling. Remember there is no wrong or right way to create with Wikki Stix. Children may wish to make a green ball for the sea turtle’s head and a white ball for the turtle’s egg shell. Older children may wish to make the sea turtle’s front flippers coming slightly out of the shell. The HATCHLING label goes in this section.
For a basic sea turtle design, have the children roll a small green Wikki Stix ball for the turtle’s head. The sea turtle’s neck can be formed by wrapping a green/yellow Wikki Stix around a pinky finger/pencil and pulling it off to create a tight coil. The shell for the turtle can be made by wrapping 2-3 green Wikki Stix around itself to form a spiral. The front flippers are created with one Wikki Stix cut in half. Each half is then shaped to resemble a flipper and attached to the spiraled turtle shell. The back flippers are made from half of a green Wikki Stix: fold each end toward the center as indicated by the photo above. The children may desire to add two black eyes, a mouth, or fill in the flippers with additional Wikki Stix. The YOUNG/JUVENILE label should be placed in this section.
In the lower left corner of the plate, invite the children to use white Wikki Stix to create a shell pattern on the basic turtle design. Scientists can identify different species of turtles by the patterns presented on the sea turtle’s shell. The ADULT label can be placed in this final section of the life cycle craft.
Remind the children that the sea turtle’s life cycle repeats itself. As the sea turtle matures, the female lays more eggs and the cycle begins anew.
SEA TURTLE LIFE CYCLE SEQUENCING CARDS
Download WS Sea Turtle Sequencing Cards PDF here
Extension Activity: Have the children cut out the sequencing cards (linked above) and place the cards in the appropriate life cycle order.
After the four basic Wikki Stix sea turtle models are created, invite the children to explore and play with their turtle creations in a sensory bin!
Materials needed: One large plastic bin or drawer, real or commercial sand (if desired, white sugar or salt will work for the sand), the 4 Wikki Stix sea turtle life cycle creations (eggs, hatchling, young turtle, and adult turtle), and “water” (place blue hair gel inside a gallon size plastic bag and seal the opening with duct tape). If desired, other items can be added to the bin – suggestions might include: other Wikki Stix created ocean items (coral, algae, fish, etc.), real or pretend shells, magnifying glasses, ocean-themed small toys, and a small shovel, rake, or spoon.
The children will have hours of fun using their imaginations in the sensory bin: laying the Wikki Stix eggs in the sand, pretending their turtle eggs are hatching, leading their young turtles to deeper water, and bringing mama turtle out of the water to lay more eggs in the sand.
Sea Turtles are on the endangered list due to environmental and human threats:
• predators to the nest (raccoons, dogs, humans, ants, crabs, and/or sea birds)
• sea turtles can get caught in fishing lines from boats
• poaching and illegal sale of sea turtle eggs, shells, or turtle meat
• pollution in the water or debris/litter from humans
Additional Resources for Sea Turtles:
Additional Wikki Stix Ocean Activities:
Ocean Diorama, Fish Math, and Fish Template
Counting Crabs, Sensory Bags
5 Little Fishes – a Counting Rhyme