Easy Ocean Craft for Kids: Make a Jellyfish + Octopus

Who else is dreaming of warm, sunny days at the beach? Though I will admit it doesn’t sound nearly as relaxing with kids, it would be so fun to play with them in the sand and water! Anxiously awaiting summer inspired me to do this easy ocean craft for kids: we made a cute jellyfish and octopus!

This craft is sooo simple, and it sneaks in some fine motor skills work in for your little ones too! We used pipe cleaners for the tentacles, and they had to thread it through a hole and wrap it around to keep it in place. It took Lu a few tries to get it wrapped nice and tight, but she did really great!

For fun I thought it would be cool to share some facts about jellyfish and octopuses. My kiddos were in awe of these strange creatures and learning a bit about them made the craft even better!

5 Facts about Jellyfish:

1. Jellyfish can be almost invisible to the human eye, as many are see-through or nearly see-through.

2. Even though “fish” is part of their name, jellyfish are actually not considered a type of fish! Since they have no backbone (or other bones), they are an invertebrate. 

3. In addition to not having any bones, jellyfish also don’t have eyes, a brain, or a heart! Crazy right?! They are mostly made up of water. 

4. Groups of jellyfish are called “blooms”, and there can be over 100,000 of them in one bloom! 

5. Jellyfish propel themselves forward by squirting  a quick stream of water from their mouths, which are in the center of their bodies.

5 Facts about Octopuses:

1. In contrast to jellyfish having no heart or brain, octopuses have THREE hearts and NINE brains!!

2. They get even stranger; an octopus has blue blood to help keep oxygen in their bodies even in the cold ocean temperatures.

3. The dangly things off octopuses are actually called arms, not tentacles. Arms have suctions along the whole thing, whereas tentacles only have suctions at the ends. An octopus has eight arms. 

4. Octopuses are so strong that they can build their own dens by lifting rocks with their arms. They even make a “door” by having a rock that pulls shut when the octopus is inside! 

5. When they are scared or startled, octopuses shoot out a black liquid, called ink. This is a way to protect themselves by confusing a potential predator with the dark cloud. 

I hope your kids get as much of a kick out of these fun facts as we did! Now on to our craft. Just follow the super simple instructions below to make your own jellyfish and octopus. 

Materials needed:

  • paper plates, preferably nice sturdy ones
  • paints, any kind you already have will work
  • paint brush, or let the kiddos fingerprint!
  • pipe cleaners
  • hole puncher
  • black sharpie
  • scissors

1. Cut jellyfish plate in half

You can skip this step for the octopus and leave the plate whole. But the jellyfish looks more jellyfish-y as a half circle, so cut the plate in half and make two!

2. Paint the plates

We kept ours to one color for each of them, but there are so many ways you could do this! Watercolor, polka dots, or even just let the kids go crazy and do their own thing. Paint your jellyfish and octopus however you like and then leave it be for about a half hour to dry!

3. Cut out holes for the tentacles/arms

I have a hole punch, so this part was quick and easy. If you don’t have one, just cut out little X’s with an X-acto knife that the pipe cleaners will be able to push through. Make as many as you want for the jellyfish, but remember– octopuses only have eight arms! 

4. Thread the pipe cleaners through

Push a pipe cleaner through each hole so that there’s enough to come around to the other side. Wrap it around the longer end a few times. Curl them around your finger for the jellyfish to give more of a flowy effect. For the octopus, just give them each one big curl outward.

5. Draw a smiley face and you’re done!

Put a cute little smiling face on and your kiddos have their own happy jellyfish and octopus! Although between the stinging tentacles and ink spray, I’m not sure we’d be too happy to see one of these guys out in the ocean ourselves. I much prefer the cute craft version haha!

I hope you have fun making this easy ocean craft for kids! As far as kids are concerned, there’s nothing better than an activity where the paint gets pulled out. And for the parents, there’s nothing better than an activity with simple steps that doesn’t require too much help! Haha, win-win.

Is your family hoping to visit the beach this summer? I’ve never taken my kids to the beach before, so feel free to throw some beach mom hacks my way! Maybe this will be our year 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Easy Ocean Craft for Kids: Make a Jellyfish + Octopus

  1. How cute is this?!?!? I love it, Christine! I also love that you included facts about each one too. This is PERFECT for homeschooling! I will be doing this with my kids. They will love it. Thanks!
    All the best,
    Lindsey

    1. Thank you so much Lindsey! The facts definitely added to the fun, my daughter loves telling people the cool stuff she knows about jellyfish and octopuses now 🙃

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