Array Sorting Marine Animals by Oceanic Zones | Montessori From The Heart

Sorting Marine Animals by Oceanic Zones

*Oceanic-Zones-Felts-SafariLTD_Sorting Activity_Ocean_Layers_MFTH

Sorting Marine Ocean Animals by Oceanic Pelagic Zones is an educational Montessori kids activity to promote STEM education | included a FREE Sea Animals Coloring Worksheets for Kids.

Hey there, curious explorer! Let’s learn about the fascinating world of deep blue with sorting marine animals by oceanic zones activity. But first, let’s understand what a “pelagic” zone is. And hands-on learning is a fantastic way for children to explore and understand the pelagic zone. When children are actively engaged and immersed in hands-on activities related to the ocean, such as sorting and classifying, their learning becomes more meaningful and impactful.

Ocean Pelagic Zones Marine Animal Sorting Montessori Sorting Kids Activity

Here is a simpler invitation to explore the ocean layers/zones with the Oceans Atlas book. I layered felt sheets on top of each other to represent layers of the ocean (Sunlight, Twilight, Midnight, Abyss, Trenched ) and positioned Coral Reef TOOB and Baby Sea Life animals to make this activity hands-on. The Sunlight zone receives the most sunlight and is the warmest of the ocean zones, so more marine life thrives there.  As the ocean depth increases, less sunlight penetrates the water, making it darker and colder with less marine life. Still, despite dark and cold conditions, myriads of organisms are present at the deeper zones where they thrive, some having quite unique adaptations. 

What is ‘Pelagic’

‘Pelagic’ means all the water in the ocean but not the part that touches the shore. It’s like a gigantic, watery playground stretching from the surface down to the bottom, except it doesn’t include the seafloor itself.

There are Five layers (Oceanic Pelagic Zones) that make up the ocean:

  1. Epipelagic Zone (Sunlight Zone)
  2. Mesopelagic Zone (Twilight Zone)
  3. Bathypelagic Zone (Midnight Zone)
  4. Abyssopelagic (The Abyss)
  5. Hadalpelagic Zome (The Trenches)

*Painting OCEAN-LAYERS- WATERCOLOR Oceanic Pelagic Zones
*Painting OCEAN-LAYERS- WATERCOLOR Oceanic Pelagic Zones

We absolutely LOVE The Big Book Of Blue! Gorgeous double-page illustrations have inspired us to use watercolors to paint the oceanic pelagic zones. And, of course, Julia’s Rothman’s Ocean Anatomy is a must-have encyclopedia about marine life.

What are the Five Pelagic Layers

Now, the pelagic zone has five layers, each with its unique features:

Epipelagic zone: This is the top layer, from the surface to about 200 meters below. It’s where the sunlight reaches, making it a bustling place with lots of energy! You’ll find creatures like colorful fish, playful dolphins, and even some naughty seagulls here.

Mesopelagic zone: Going deeper, from 200 meters to about 1,000 meters, you’ll enter the mesopelagic zone. It’s not as bright as the surface, but it’s still full of life! This is the realm of sneaky squids, shy octopuses, and some mysterious fish that use their glow to light up the dark.

Bathypelagic zone: Now, we’re getting really deep! From 1,000 meters to 4,000 meters, you’ll find the bathypelagic zone. It’s a bit spooky down here since there’s no sunlight at all. But don’t worry; there are some cool creatures like ghostly fish and big-eyed monsters swimming around! 

Abyssopelagic zone: Keep going down, from 4,000 meters to 6,000 meters, and you’ll reach the abyssopelagic zone. It’s like another world down here, with strange-looking critters that have adapted to live in extreme darkness and pressure!

Hadopelagic zone: Finally, if you venture into the deepest parts of the ocean, the ocean trenches, you’ll enter the hadopelagic zone. It’s the most mysterious and least explored place on Earth!

Sorting Marine Animals Materials

Below is the list of materials you will need for sorting by oceanic pelagic zones kids activity:

  1. felts
  2. a sturdy cardboard
  3. marine animals
  4. Montessori Color Tablets Box 3


  1. Layer the felts one over the other to resemble the pelagic zones.
  2. Offer a child to sort the animals according to each. 
  3. Optional: offer to match each layer color to a Montessori tablet.

Zones-ocean-animals-animal- pelagic zones
Zones-ocean-animals-animal- pelagic zones

And guess what? All these layers are teeming with life! From tiny plankton that float around, to graceful sea turtles and soaring seabirds, the pelagic zone is a bustling neighborhood for many incredible creatures.

So, the next time you hear about the pelagic zone, remember it’s a vast oceanic world filled with adventure, where amazing creatures of all shapes and sizes call home! Have fun exploring, little ocean enthusiast!

Are Seagulls Part of Epipelagic Zone? 

Seagulls are indeed part of the epipelagic zone. This zone, also known as the “sunlight zone” or “surface zone,” extends from the ocean’s surface down to about 200 meters deep. It’s the uppermost layer of the pelagic zone, where sunlight can still reach and where most of the ocean’s primary productivity occurs. Seagulls are skilled aerial birds that thrive in the epipelagic zone. They are often seen flying gracefully over the water’s surface, diving down to catch fish, or scavenging for food near the shore. These birds are adapted to live in close proximity to land and coastal areas, making them a common sight at beaches and harbors.

So, the next time you visit the beach and spot seagulls soaring through the sky or resting by the water, remember that you’re witnessing creatures that are part of the bustling life in the epipelagic zone of the ocean!

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Sorting Marine Animals by Oceanic Zones

Sorting ocean animals by their pelagic zones using colorful felts is a breeze to set up and incredibly beneficial for our little explorers! 

*Oceanic-Zones-Felts-SafariLTD_Sorting Activity_Ocean_Layers_MFTH
*Oceanic-Zones-Felts-SafariLTD_Sorting Activity_Ocean_Layers_MFTH

Developmental Benefits of Sorting

Cognitive Development: Sorting activities stimulate the brain and encourage critical thinking. By categorizing ocean creatures based on their habitats, preschoolers develop essential cognitive skills like problem-solving and pattern recognition.

Language Skills: As they sort and discuss different sea animals, their vocabulary expands! From majestic whales to spooky anglerfish, they learn the names of various ocean dwellers and improve their language skills.

Scientific Concepts: Early exposure to scientific concepts lays a strong foundation for future learning. Sorting marine life by pelagic zones introduces kids to basic ecological principles and helps them understand the concept of habitats.

Fine Motor Skills: Sorting involves using fine motor skills, which are crucial for writing, drawing, and other activities that require hand-eye coordination.

Social Interaction: Sorting can be a collaborative activity! When children work together to categorize ocean creatures, they learn to communicate, cooperate, and share ideas, fostering social skills and teamwork.

Creativity and Imagination: As they play and sort, children let their imagination run wild! They create stories about these ocean animals, exploring the depths of their creativity.

Emotional Development: Sorting can boost a child’s confidence and sense of accomplishment as they successfully group the animals. It’s a little victory that can go a long way in building a positive self-image.

DIY Glitter Bottles Oceanic Zones


Let the ocean’s secrets shimmer and sparkle as children embark on an adventure of discovery, learning about the different layers of the ocean by creating their own captivating DIY glitter bottles!

You’ll Need:


To make glitter ocean-layers bottles, fill your recycled clear bottles with 1/5 of glue. Add food coloring and bio-glitter and fill the rest of the bottle with water.

Each layer of the ocean is like a different home for different kinds of animals. Isn’t it fascinating how the ocean has so many different places for creatures to live? So, the next time you visit the beach or see a picture of the ocean, you can imagine all the layers and the incredible animals that call them home!”

FREE Sea Animals Coloring Worksheets

FREE Sea Animals Coloring Worksheets for Kids
FREE Sea Animals Coloring Worksheets for Kids

Coloring sea animals offers numerous benefits for preschoolers

Firstly, it enhances fine motor skills as they grasp and maneuver crayons, improving their hand-eye coordination.

Secondly, it fosters creativity and self-expression as they choose colors and bring these marvelous creatures to life on paper.

Thirdly, it nurtures cognitive development as they learn the names and features of various sea animals, expanding their vocabulary and knowledge of marine life.

Additionally, coloring sea animals can be a calming and relaxing activity, promoting mindfulness and concentration.

Lastly, it instills an early appreciation for the beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants, encouraging a sense of environmental awareness and care for the natural world.

Sorting Marine Animals by Oceanic Zones

So, step into the future of early education, where little learners thrive and grow! Witness the wonders of oceanic discovery and the strategic advantages of sorting activities!

Have you tried sorting activities with your little one? Leave a comment if you did!


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