Tide Pool Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

At the ocean shore, rising and falling tides create tide pools. Learn about tide pools and the plants and animals that live there, including anemones, crabs, and sea stars (starfish).

Tide Pools

How would you like it if your house was sometimes underwater and sometimes on land? Well, that's what life would be like if you lived in a tide pool.

At the seashore, the water is sometimes higher and sometimes lower. This water flow is called the tide. On a rocky seashore, the water will sometimes rise to cover the rocks (high tide) and sometimes go down (low tide). But the rocks can be bumpy, and sometimes there are hollows in the rocks. The hollows can trap some water even after the tide goes down.

A tide pool is a small amount of water left in low places on the shore even at low tide. Each tide pool has a whole community of different plants and animals living there. There are tide pools all around the world, wherever there's a rocky seashore.

Plants and Animals in Tide Pools

Lots of different plants and animals live in tide pools. Let's learn about some of them.


Starfish, or sea stars, live in tide pools. In spite of their name, starfish aren't actually fish. Instead of having fins and scales like fish, they have bony skin that they can harden to protect themselves from danger. Starfish can also re-grow their arms and legs if one gets cut off.

A sea star (starfish). Starfish live in tide pools.


Anemones also live in tide pools. Anemones are related to jellyfish. They have poisonous tentacles, which they primarily use to hunt for food. If anything attacks the anemone, the tentacles also work for defense.

Anemones in a tide pool.

Animals with Shells

In tide pools, there's a lot of pounding from waves and wind. Some animals that live in tide pools have hard shells for protection. They can close their shells to avoid drying out when they're exposed to the air. Crabs, mussels, and barnacles are some examples of tide pool animals with hard shells.


Different types of seaweed also live in tide pools. For example, some tide pools have sea palms. Sea palms look like palm trees, but they're much smaller and live underwater.

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