Photo: fizkes via 123RF

While the past year has kept many of us from traveling and taking educational trips to zoos and museums, it has greatly increased online opportunities for children to learn about and explore their world. Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth and are home to 94% of our living creatures! These apps and websites will provide your learners with unique and fun ways to explore the ocean depths.

Educational apps for kids

  • In Explorium – Ocean For Kids, your young explorer can select a character and go on an adventure to find Atlantis! Along the way, mini-games teach fun marine facts. Best for kids 4-8 years old.
  • MarcoPolo Ocean, winner of the 2014 Parent’s Choice Award, allows kids to build a coral reef or aquarium and fill it with aquatic animals. “Ocean is playfully narrated and animated to reinforce vocabulary, physical attributes, and ocean concepts.” Best for kids 4-8 years old.
  • Ocean Forests by Bright World Media provides adventure-packed realistic ocean environments for kids to explore and learn more about! Best for kids 5-8.
  • The Amazing World Ocean app is an encyclopedia of ocean knowledge, straight to your device! It makes learning about ocean life fun with HD graphics, 3D images, audio narration, and authentic animal sounds. Best for kids 4 and older (iOs only).
  • In NASA NeMO-Net, players help NASA create maps of the ocean floors. Users can explore using real NASA tools and level up as they assist with classification. Best for kids 6 and older.

Real ocean data apps

  • Interested in the surf and tides? Magicseaweed App provides accurate and up-to-date 16-day surf reports. Watch live webcams and explore photos of surfs from around the world!
  • This Ocearch Shark Tracker app may prevent you from ever going into the ocean again. But, your shark-loving kids will be fascinated by how these feared and respected creatures migrate and are monitored.
  • Or maybe See & ID Dolphins & Whales is more up your alley?
  • Your environmentally-conscious kids will both appreciate and be dismayed by the Marine Debris Tracker app. They can do their part by reporting trash in their community, picking up litter when it’s safe, and learning more about organizing litter clean-ups.
  • The SeaSee app “uses bathymetric data to generate 3D views of the underwater terrain which reflect the angle and viewpoint of where the user is pointing their phone and their GPS location.” Users can see what it would look like if there were no ocean!
  • Don’t forget about Google Earth that allows visitors to travel all over the world for underwater views.
a pod of dolphins  in the ocean
Credit: picsguru via 123RF

Aquarium apps

Want to bring ocean life to your home without the maintenance and work of taking care of an aquarium? This Best Virtual Pond and Aquarium Apps list provides reviews on apps that allow you to create your own underwater worlds. Take your pick from realistic or cartoon, ability to accessorize, ones for visual enjoyment, or tanks that require maintenance like feeding and cleaning.

Live cams has an app that can be downloaded with 38 live ocean streams, including aquariums, underwater, and beach views. Visit BonaireCatalina Marine Reserve, or our favorite, the manatee cam at Blue Spring State Park. You can even tune in live on Wednesdays for nature adventures at Channel Islands Live.

Virtual visits

Did you know that you can visit some of the country’s best aquariums without leaving home? We Are Teachers has a list of 15 Fascinating Virtual Aquarium Visits. Each listing provides information on what the visit entails and links to their websites. Some have downloadable activity sheets or experiments you can do at home, like the Ripley’s Aquariums Educational Materials page.

If you have an ocean or animal lover, engage and encourage their interests with these apps!