By Angel Avery-Wright

Sharks! What’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me it’s Jaws, the movie. Seeing this movie as a child set me off into a span of time where I would not go swimming in my backyard pool alone, because…well, there could be a shark lurking around in it.

Not really, but fear has a way of encouraging odd behaviors. And most children fear something. Teaching children about those things they fear early on can prevent misunderstandings later in life. Sharks do not live in backyard pools. You may see  them in the ocean but usually it’s reserved for deep sea diving. Respecting nature will help children understand what should and should not be done.

Sharks have attracted our attention for a long time. Usually for negative reasons but sharks have some interesting facts about them.

Sharks can re-grow their teeth back when they lose them and can lose up to 30,000 teeth in their lifetime. Sharks are fish that have skeletons made of cartilage, like human ears and noses. The smallest shark is just a few inches long and the longest (the whale shark) is as big as a school bus (40 feet long).

Sharks are known for their teeth and unique jaws. Sharks can move their upper and lower jaws while humans can only move their bottom jaws.

Sharks are predators and play an important role in the ecosystem by eating fish and other mammals below them in the food chain.

So, can you participate in Shark Week with your young children? And do you want to? Yes, you can. I would not recommend the television shows but there are other activities you can share with students that provide them with information, as well as some fun.

Add plastic or rubber sharks to your water play. Add art supplies to make shark drawings, paintings and even 3-D sharks. Use chalk outside to draw a large shark so children can relate to the size of sharks. There are many books about sharks, fiction and non-fiction, that are appropriate for young children.

Baby shark…doo…okay I won’t get that song stuck in your head but even toddlers know this one.

Tags : Activitiescuriosityhabitatnature/science

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