Bodies of Water Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Is it a lake? Is it a river? No, it's an ocean! The games and activities in this lesson will engage your students in learning about different bodies of water while having fun.

Water, Water, Everywhere

With so much of the planet covered in water, it makes sense that children should learn where to find water and what types of bodies of water exist on earth.

Do your students know which bodies of water contain fresh water and which are salty? Do they know the difference between an ocean and a sea? These games and activities will familiarize your students with lakes, rivers, oceans and seas through engaging and interactive play. Students do not need to be familiar with the names of these bodies of water at the beginning of an activity, but there will be much more guessing involved the more unfamiliar they are. However, this also means there will be much more learning happening during the games.

For the majority of these activities you will need index card sets including:

  • names of major lakes, rivers, oceans and seas, without the body of water type clarifier (such as 'Indian' instead of 'Indian Ocean')
  • the words 'lake,' 'river,' 'ocean' and 'sea' (one of each for each student)

You will also need a pre-printed fact sheet for students listing the full names of each lake, river, ocean and sea with a brief description of the body of water (include its general location and anything specifically unique about it, such as 'The Nile is in Egypt and flows north').

Moving Around a Watery World

The following games are ideal for medium or large-sized groups.

Note: All of these games require lots of space for students to move around.

Leaping Lily Pads

  • Materials: index cards showing types of bodies of water
  • Preparation: spread the index cards, face up, around the activity area

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