Unit Study on the Ocean

Today I wanted to share one of our unit studies with you. I’ve been asked a few times where do I get my unit studies. After answering honestly with Pinterest, I get an ‘oh’ and the conversation seems to kind of fizzle out. I’m going to guess that it’s because putting together a unit study seems intimidating and stressful combined with a whole lot of “I have no clue where to start or what to cover!” and the nice and neatly packaged ones look way more appealing. [True story.]

I’m here to tell you that I, too, was totally overwhelmed back when I started planning studies for Rosie and I to do when she first came home. I scoured the internet and other blogs but sometimes I just couldn’t find everything I needed or it just didn’t fit with where we were at in learning. So I timidly jumped in and started making my own unit studies. Once I started finding things to do, I found that it wasn’t as hard as I had made it out to be!

Little Man playing with ocean slime and ocean creatures.

Side note about our unit studies: Some of our units would take awhile because it was a much loved topic, and I would let it go as long as they were interested. Other topics didn’t take too long because we would cover the basics and the girls were done. And that was fine too. My goal with unit studies was to expose them to the information, go as deep as they wanted to go, and hope that something would stick. Thankfully, plenty of the information did stick because what we were doing was interest-based learning, or ‘delight learning’ as I’ve also heard it called. If your kids are curious about it and want to know about a topic, the information they come across is way more likely to stick than when I pick every topic and “force feed” them the knowledge.

Rosie and Ladybug wanted to learn about the ocean, so I put together a unit study for it. I started out with finding, listing out, and saving activities.

Creating salt dough models of the ocean floor.

Oceanography Activities


*With each experiment, my kids did a scientific write-up in their science notebooks. I wanted them to practice handwriting and work on putting what we did down into words.



We looked for and found some of these at our local library.


We like to incorporate videos into our units so that the kids are getting knowledge from a variety of different sources. YouTube.com is a great source for videos about the ocean and various ocean animals.


I’m sure that you noticed there aren’t any math suggestions. The girls use a separate math curriculum and we use that while we are doing unit studies.

Click here to follow my ‘Learning Oceanography’ board on Pinterest. There are a lot more craft ideas there, as well as toddler and preschooler activity ideas so your whole group can learn together. I am still adding more to it daily because my girls are still captivated with this topic. 

Once I’ve gathered all of my ideas for activities, books to read, crafts, and videos to watch, I compile a lesson plan. For these lesson plans, I figure out where do I want to start with this topic. There is a lot of information to sort through but I try to find a beginning, of sorts, and start there. For oceans, I started with a world map and pointing out all of the oceans. Then I found some books that talked about the zones and that mentioned some animals that lived in each and this was followed with making our own ocean zones in a bottle.

Then I look at what all I have and figure out how to proceed and navigate through all of the information without it being too dry and without squashing their interest. [I made that mistake before. :/ ] With some topics, you’ll get a feel for what your kids find interesting and what they don’t and you’ll be able to decide what to introduce them to next.


There you have it! Our unit study about the ocean! This was a favorite in our house and we are now in the process of round 2 with it, only this time from a different angle. I promise to share what round 2 involves after we’ve figured it out. 😉

Do you have some unit studies that you love? I’d love to hear about them! Are there some sources of information I didn’t list out? I would love to know about it! I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by!



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