The octopus has fascinated humans for hundreds of years- likely because for many years, humans couldn’t dive deeply enough to learn much about these deep-ocean animals. But with modern technology, we know more about the octopus than ever, which is why these educational octopus activities for kids are the perfect way to teach your students about our clever eight-armed friends.
Teaching about octopuses offers numerous benefits, providing valuable lessons in biology, ecology, behavior, science, technology, engineering, math, and even subjects like art and literature!
So keep reading to find out some amazing facts about octopuses and some of the things kids can learn while learning about this fascinating and squishy sea creature!
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What Do Students Learn Doing Octopus Activities for Kids?
Not surprisingly, since an octopus has nine brains, it is one of the most intelligent species on the planet. That means that by studying different varieties of octopuses, kids can learn about a wide range of topics!
Here is a sample of what kids can learn about octopus by doing these octopus activities:
Firstly, octopuses serve as an excellent portal into marine biology. They introduce students to the concept of invertebrates, showing how not all animals need a skeletal structure to be remarkably complex and efficient. Octopuses can change color, squirt ink, and even regrow limbs, sparking fascination about adaptation and survival strategies.
Ecology and Habitats
Studying octopuses can also be an engaging way to discuss habitat and ecology. Students can learn about the octopus’s role in the food chain, its predators and prey, and the environmental factors affecting its survival. This can stimulate discussions about biodiversity and the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems.
Problem Solving and Logical Thinking
Octopuses are known for their problem-solving abilities and use of tools, challenging the preconceived notions about the cognitive abilities of non-mammals. This can prompt interesting discussions about animal intelligence, behavior, and the variety of ways in which different species interact with their environment.
Climate and Oceans
Octopuses are found in oceans all around the world, providing a unique angle to teach geography.
Students can trace the habitats of different octopus species on a world map, inadvertently learning about continents, oceans, and different climatic zones.
Octopus Shirts for Teachers
Check out these super fun octopus shirts you can wear during your octopus lessons!
Art and Design
Octopuses have long been a source of inspiration in art and literature, from ancient mythology to contemporary children’s books.
Incorporating octopus-themed art projects or reading stories featuring these creatures can add a creative element to your curriculum, fostering imagination and expression.
Teaching about octopuses is a great example of how a single topic can be used to explore numerous subjects. It’s a way to bring all STEAM elements together while studying one animal in octopus activities.
All About Octopus for Kids
There are so many things that kids can learn about octopus science and more while doing these octopus activities. Here is a brief overview of octopus science before we dive into the octopus activities to do in a classroom.
Octopuses are part of the kingdom animalia, which means they are related to all animals.
Getting more specific, an octopus is in the phylum Mollusca which also includes creatures like snails and clams. Mollusks are invertebrates, which means they don’t have backbones.
Octopuses are further classified into the class Cephalopoda along with cuttlefish and squids.
Next, octopuses are further classified by the inclusion in the order Octopoda. Even though all octopuses are related, each species will have a little bit different look, size, or skills.
Octopus science facts
An octopus is a member of the cephalopod family, which also contains creatures like squid, sea snails, and clams.
The octopus is an invertebrate, meaning it does not have a backbone.
The octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. One of its most known abilities is to change its color and even its texture, to blend in with its surroundings. This is possible due to special cells called chromatophores in its skin, which can expand or contract to show different colors.
An octopus has a well-developed nervous system and a large brain compared to its body size. In fact, two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons (nerve cells) are located in its eight arms! Each arm can act semi-independently, exploring, touching, and tasting their environment with its own brain.
The central brain of the octopus located in the head can also send messages to the different arm brains to coordinate activities and movement.
Do octopuses have bones?
An octopus does not have bones. The only hard part in an octopus’s body is its mouth, which looks similar to a parrot’s beak.
The lack of an octopus skeleton allows the octopus to be incredibly flexible and squeeze through tiny spaces that would be impossible for animals with a rigid skeleton. The lack of bones also helps an octopus withstand the incredible pressure of the water in the deep ocean.
Octopus Resources and Tools for Teachers
If you’re teaching about octopuses, then you won’t want to miss these creative and clever resources that you can use alongside your hands-on octopus activities!
Octopus Lesson Resources
Use these octopus classroom supplies and products to go along with your octopus STEM lessons!
If you need more inspiration for your octopus lessons, check out these octopus lesson plans!
Octopus Books for the Classroom
Here are some of our favorite non-fiction octopus books for kids to learn more fun facts about octopuses!
The Ultimate List of Octopus Activities for Kids
Want an octopus activity? Find it in this comprehensive list of octopus activities for kids of all ages.
Octopus Activities with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
We prefer STEM activities above all other types of learning here at STEAMsational, which is why you’ll find an excellent list of octopus STEM activities right here.
These octopus science activities will help children learn all about the science of octopuses and many different scientific concepts along with that.
Octopus Activities by Grade
Here are some octopus activities that are suitable for kids in certain grade levels or learning levels.
Check out this list of octopus preschool activities.
For kids 5-6, these octopus activities for kindergarten will be a hit!
If you’re teaching elementary students, don’t forget to check out this list of octopus activities for elementary.
And middle schoolers will enjoy these octopus activities for middle school.
Octopus Crafts for Kids
If you want a lighter activity, check out our favorite resources for octopus crafts! You’ll find all our favorite octopus craft ideas here.
Follow this tutorial to learn how to make an egg carton octopus.
Follow along with this perler bead octopus pattern to make a beaded octopus friend that you can take anywhere!
Here is a fun octopus craft o is for octopus handprint craft.
More Fun Octopus Activities for the Classroom
Here are even more fun octopus activities to try!
If you are reading the book Inky the Octopus, check out this list of Inky the octopus activities.
When you’re learning about the octopus, why not make an octopus classroom door?
And these octopus worksheets can go along with any octopus activity you try in the classroom!
Octopus STEM Kits
These octopus STEM kits teach kids how different parts of an octopus works and offer another fun hands-on octopus STEM activity for kids to learn about the amazing octopus!
If you need even more extensions for your octopus STEM activities, check out these octopus lesson plans!
Why should kids learn about octopuses?
Implementing a unit about octopuses not only will keep your students excited and engaged, but also it can lead to a more inclusive and interdisciplinary style of teaching.
So, why not dive in and explore the wonderful world of octopuses with your students?
It’s an educational journey that promises to be as intriguing and dynamic as the creatures themselves!