Monday, 8 September 2014

10+ ideas for learning about Turtles

I love watching my children learn. It is always exciting to see what they find interesting and what direction their learning takes next. Over the past few weeks, my children have been interested in turtles. Although my children's ages range from three to eight years of age, they all explored this topic at their own level of understanding.

It started with a trip to a reptile park earlier this year. We had gone there to see the saltwater crocodiles and discovered more reptiles, such as the turtles. My youngest daughter (3yrs old) took a liking to the turtles instantly and wanted to know their names. 

When we got home from our trip, my children continued to talk about turtles. My son was eager to search YouTube (the perfect learning tool for the visual/auditory learner) for turtle information. He found a YouTube clip on sea turtle hatching as well as a documentary on Turtles and Tortoises the we watched. Taking a more Montessori approach to this interest-led learning, we used these Montessori Life Cycle of a Sea Turtle cards together with the Life Cycle of a Green Sea Turtle Safari pack that I had purchased from Mini Zoo.

My daughters used the sea turtle figurines to extend their learning about the life cycle of a turtle further through play. With my help, they built a small sea turtle world where they spend many hours role playing how the turtles lay their eggs on the beach, the babies hatch and swim out to sea.

At this stage my son took his learning in a different direction as he wanted to find out the differences between turtles and tortoises. He spent sometime reading through reference books as well as searching the internet. With my help, my son put together a Venn Diagram (pictured below) of what he had learnt about turtles and tortoises and how they are similar and different.

During his search on the differences between turtles and tortoises, he discovered that there are some turtles that look like tortoises but were in fact turtles. So we looked at different parts of their body. I put together these two turtle shaped felt puzzles. I found the FREE template for the sea turtle from here and the other FREE turtle pattern from here. We also used the parts of a turtle cards from the FREE Zoology Nomenclature set at The Helpful Garden.

My son also discovered the different names of turtles, like the ones we had seen at the reptile park a few weeks earlier. He started researching on the internet, different types of turtles. Prior to this, I had purchased the Frog and Turtles Safari Toob from Mini Zoo's online store so my son took these turtle figurines and set out to discover more about them. In doing this, he made his own three-part cards, mainly for his younger sisters to use, without realising he too was learning as he researched the information.

During his search, my son used a few different books to research information about turtles. These books include DK Animal Encyclopedia, DK Eye Wonder Ocean, DK Eye Know Reptile, True or False: Reptiles and My Animal Kingdom: Turtles.  

A few weeks earlier, my daughters had made an octopus and jellyfish craft and suggested that we add turtles to our underwater sea. I had seen some turtle paper plates on pinterest so we set out to design our own turtles with flippers.

For now, it seems as though our learning about turtles has slowed down but I am sure, like other interest-led topics, the interest in turtles will resurface at some other time. So I would like to share with you the Types of Turtle cards as well as our Venn Diagram. You can download both of these printables by clicking here.

For my wonderful readers, Mini Zoo has kindly offered a chance to get 10% off ALL of their products. Mini Zoo ships worldwide and has a large range of figurines from leading world brands such as Schleich, Papo, Safari and Mojo. Just add the coupon code SUZIE when you check out! Please note that this offer is available to be used only ONCE per customer.

If you'd like some more ideas on different animals, you can see my hand picked resources on my Zoology - All About Animals pinterest board. 

This blog post has been linked up with: Every Star Is Different


  1. Thanks Suzie, this is awesome. I love all the activities you have done with your children. I have wanted to invest into some toobs so with the 10% off I might just 'have' too. Haha

    1. You're welcome Jessica! I hope the discount helps. Mini Zoo also offer free postage to Australian residents who spent over $50 (which is really easy to do). Their figurines are of the best quality so you won't be disappointed.

  2. Thank you for sharing your resources! I am using a lot of them for my unit on turtles. I clicked on your link for the turtle cards, but they weren't there.

    Thanks again! :-)