A Kid’s Guide to the Ocean and Its Animals in Spanish
Learning about the ocean in Spanish makes for a super interesting lesson for your children or students.
Kids love the ocean and the animals that populate it, so it makes sense to introduce them to the amazing marine world, while also introducing them to new Spanish vocabulary.
Read this lesson for fascinating information about the five oceans on Earth (yes, there are five now), vocabulary about the ocean in Spanish, and a quick grammar exercise with comparative adjectives. We’ll also explore the three ocean zones and the animals that live in each one. Finally, I added a colorful and entertaining activity to maintain your kids’ interest in the topic and have some fun with them.
Oceans of the World
The ocean is an amazing and mysterious world that catches the kids’ attention like few other things. In my experience as a teacher, the ocean is right up there with dinosaurs and outer space as the most exciting topics for children.
Use this guide to introduce your kids or students to this marvelous world and to teach them about the ocean in Spanish and the spectacular diversity of animals that live there.
Although, broadly speaking, there’s only one global ocean on our planet, for practical purposes scientists have divided it into different oceans to make it easier to study and refer to them.
For a long time, scientists recognized 4 oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. However, since June 8, 2000, which coincides with World Oceans Day, National Geographic announced a fifth ocean: the Southern Ocean.
1. Atlantic Ocean
El Océano Atlántico (the Atlantic Ocean) is the second largest ocean on Earth, covering almost one-fifth of the entire global ocean. The North Atlantic separates North America from Europe, while the South Atlantic separates Central and South America from Africa.
Overall, the Atlantic Ocean includes six seas:
- El Mar Mediterráneo – Mediterranean Sea
- El Mar Negro – Black Sea
- El Mar del Norte – North Sea
- El Mar Báltico – Baltic Sea
- El Mar de Noruega-Groenlandia – Norwegian-Greenland Sea
- El Mar Caribe – Caribbean Sea
What’s the difference between an ocean and a sea? (Find the answer at the end of this lesson.)
2. Pacific Ocean
El Océano Pacífico (the Pacific Ocean) was discovered by the Spanish conquistador Vasco de Balboa in 1513, but named by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520. Magellan was the first European to navigate its waters, which at first sight looked quite “peaceful” or pacíficas in Spanish.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world, and it covers one-third of the Earth’s surface. It separates Asia and Oceania from the Americas, and includes a lot of seas and islands.
Perhaps the most unique detail about this ocean is that it also hosts the deepest spot on the ocean: the Mariana Trench, which is 10,911 meters below sea level!
3. Indian Ocean
El Océano Índico (the Indian Ocean) was named after the Indian subcontinent that it surrounds. It’s the third largest ocean in the world, with about 20% of the Earth’s water surface.
Among other features, the Indian Ocean includes the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, which are crucial for international trade, as well as island nations such as Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, Indonesia, and Madagascar.
4. Arctic Ocean
El Océano Ártico (the Arctic Ocean) is home to el Polo Norte (the North Pole), and its waters are usually frozen. However, they’re starting to melt these days due to el calentamiento global (global warming).
If current trends continue, the Arctic Ocean will become fully navigable in the next decade, opening new routes for international trade, but causing a series of undesirable consequences to the Earth in the process.
5. Southern Ocean
El Océano del Sur (the Southern Ocean) is the newest member in the ocean family. It officially became an ocean in 2000 according to the International Hydrographic Organization.
This is the ocean that encircles Antarctica, and the amount of water it carries varies with the Southern Hemisphere seasons. The Antarctic ice pack grows up to seven times during the winter.
Download FREE Activities Related to the Ocean in Spanish!Type your name and email below to get three Activities Related to the Ocean in Spanish! You will receive: -Flashcards -Ocean-related Grammar Activity -What Kind of Ocean Animal Am I?
Ocean in Spanish: Vocabulary
Now, let me introduce you to some ocean-related words in Spanish that can help you to teach this subject to your children or students.
|el fondo del océano||ocean floor|
|el mar abierto||open sea|
|la corriente marina||marine current|
|la ola del océano||ocean wave|
|el agua salada||salt water|
|la placa continental||continental shelf|
|la concha de mar||seashell|
|la línea costera||coastline|
Use the following adjectives to talk about the qualities of the ocean in Spanish:
Ocean Animals in Spanish by Zone
The animals in the oceans are what really catch kids’ attention. From octopuses, sharks, dolphins, and whales, to all shapes and sizes of colorful fish, ocean animals in Spanish are interesting to students.
The ocean is home to the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Some of the weirdest creatures alive live in the deepest parts of the ocean, such as the anglerfish which creates its own light to attract its prey.
The oceans are divided into three zones according to the amount of sunlight they receive:
- The first zone, the one nearest to the surface, is the euphotic zone, and it receives a lot of sunlight.
- After about 230 feet, you get to the twilight zone which still receives sunlight, but not enough to have plants there.
- Finally, near the bottom of the ocean, you have the deep sea zone, which receives no light at all and has no plants. It’s extremely cold, so few animals can survive there.
Animals in the Euphotic Zone
The sea life in the euphotic zone is rich and spectacular, creating one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth.
Remember, el pez means “fish” in Spanish. Check out the other sea animals in the euphotic zone:
|la tortuga marina||sea turtle|
|la foca marina||ocean seal|
|el pez globo||blowfish|
|el pez payaso||clown fish|
|la orca||orca or killer whale|
|el león marino||sea lion|
|el caballito de mar||seahorse|
Animals in the Twilight Zone
The twilight zone, also known as the disphotic zone, lacks plants. This, in turn, limits the amount of animals that live here.
|el pepino de mar||sea cucumber|
|la estrella de mar||sea star|
|la anémona marina||sea anemone|
|el cachalote||sperm whale|
Animals from the Deep Sea Zone
The deep sea zone, also known as the aphotic zone, is completely dark and extremely cold, which makes life challenging. However, nature always seems to find a way, and a few strange creatures live in the deepest areas of the oceans.
|el gusano flecha||arrow worm|
|el pez linterna||lanternfish|
|el calamar vampiro||vampire squid|
|el tiburón duende||goblin shark|
What Kind of Ocean Animal Am I?
Children love this activity. Download the worksheet above, and ask your kids to identify several of the ocean animals. Once they get them all right, let them have some fun and color the animals on the worksheet.
Explore the Oceans and Learn Spanish
By learning about the oceans and marine life in Spanish, you’re exploring scientific topics that most children like and improving their Spanish vocabulary at the same time. Once you have introduced your kids to these ocean-related words in Spanish, make sure to practice them in interesting conversations about the oceans and the animals in them.
While children are young, they have an incredible ability to pronounce sounds that are foreign and unfamiliar. They’re also capable of understanding complex grammar rules. The earlier they begin, the easier it will be for them to learn—although any age is a great time to start! Sign your child up for a free class with one of our certified, native Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala. Homeschool Spanish Academy has been serving Spanish learners for more than 10 years and teaches more than 24,000 actively enrolled students every month.
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