Play Like Whales

This week at Tinkergarten, we celebrate the incredible humpback whale, giants of the sea known for their complex songs, acrobatic breaching and incredible journeys as they migrate from the equator to the north and south poles. Learn more about these majestic creatures together. Then, try out some of these fun ways to play like humpback whales:

The Guide

Snacktime for whales: Explore how humpback whales eat through play! Humpbacks are baleen whales, which means that instead of using teeth to eat, they have a series of plates in their mouth they use to strain seawater for food. To catch food like humpback whales, fill a storage container or clear container with water and invite kids to add a bit of grass, broken up leaves or other small nature bits as pretend whale food. Then, offer kids a kitchen strainer and a toothed comb and invite them to “catch” their food.

Move like whales: Humpback whales can use their powerful fluke (or tail fin) to launch themselves out of the water, also called breaching.  Kids can imagine they are whales breaching the waves as they jump as high as they can and then make a splash as they dive back into the water.

Whale song: Humpback whales are known for their complex songs, which can travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises often continue for hours on end. Listen here to an underwater recording of humpback whale songs that scientists recorded in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Wonder together what the whales are communicating through their song. Imitate whale sounds together and make up a whale song of your own. 

Whale tails: Humpback whales have patterns of black and white pigmentation on the underside of their tails that are unique to each whale, just as fingerprints are to humans. Kids can use this printable template to create their own whale tale pattern using paint, markers, nature treasures or any other art materials you have around the house.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Water play is simultaneously calming and stimulating, the ideal combination to support kids’ focus skills.  And when kids play, communicate and move like other creatures, they build a deeper connection to animals and develop empathy

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