Undersea Plant and Animal Life


Get to know the living things in the great big underwater world.


1. Kindergarten and primary children find out about the relationships between land and water. Use this information to get started: Polar bears, penguins, and seagulls live on land but feed on sea plants and creatures. Sea anemones, crabs, shellfish, and seaweed live on shore between the tides. Phytoplankton and zooplankton float close to the surface. Among the creatures that swim freely in the sea are tuna, jellyfish, shrimp, and herring. Creatures that live on or close to the sea bed are rays, cod, starfish, and sea urchins. Read books such as Very Last First Time to better picture an ocean environment.

2. Intermediate-level students examine this topic in greater depth, studying different conditions and species that are found at various water levels (tidal zone, shallows, coral reefs, mid-ocean, and ocean floor). Consider how light fades into darkness at deeper layers of ocean. At mid-ocean, below 600 feet, no plants grow due to the lack of light. Some deep-sea fish, who live below 3,000 feet, do not have eyes, while others, such as the Lantern Fish, seem to make their own light. Much of the deep ocean floor is cold and empty, except for worms that live near magma vents that ooze through cracks. The average depth of the world's oceans is 12,200 feet. The average depth of seas is 650 feet. Find out what the difference is between an ocean and a sea.

3. Measure an appropriately-sized square or rectangular piece of cardboard to use as a base for a relief board. Cut it out with Crayola® Scissors.

4. On the cardboard base, shape models and build up layers of Crayola Model Magic to depict plant and animal life in and near the sea. Carve and imprint the Model Magic to show the shapes of terrain, textures, and vegetation. Craft sticks and toothpicks work well as modeling tools. Dry overnight.

5. Optional: Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Show the colors of undersea life by painting the undersea scene using Crayola Watercolors or Tempera Paint and Brushes.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Students research, model, and label plant and animal life in a specific ocean and/or at a specific depth. Or create an imaginary ocean to assess what students learned about animal life.
  • Study aquatic life in the local area, in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, or a fish market. Sketch plant and animal life, talk with water conservation or wildlife experts, and learn about the nearby water-related environment.
  • Write a play about ocean life, or the adventures of a specific animal. Make the story realistic or fanciful, but demonstrate the principles learned through study of undersea life.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Paint Brushes
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Washable Kid's Paint
  • Watercolor Brushes with Plastic Handle
  • Model Magic®
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • ruler
  • craft sticks
  • paper towels
  • cardboard
  • container(s) of water
  • toothpicks - wooden (optional)



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • Multiple Sessions


  • Younger students study the various species found in and around oceans.

  • Older students examine the variations in underwater life, determined by ocean depth.

  • All students demonstrate their knowledge by creating dimensional relief boards of seascapes.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards