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Sea Turtle Facts for Kids + Free Printable Sea Turtle Life Cycle Lap Book

Trying to teach your kids about Hawaii and the sea turtle life cycle? Scroll to get awesome sea turtle facts for kids with a coloring and writing book that showcases the different stages of the sea turtle life cycle. Scroll down for more!
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Whether you are a worldschooling family or love taking your kids on cool trips, it can be nice to add in a few educational activities when you travel with kids.

I know a lot of families are looking for interesting homeschooling activities right now so I thought I’d share something about one of my favorite Hawaiian animals: The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle!

These majestic creatures can be found all throughout the Hawaiian islands, and they play a big part in Hawaiian culture.

By the end of this post, you’ll feel like an expert on Hawaiian sea turtles!

Why Are Sea Turtles So Important in Hawaii?

Sea turtles (called honu) have been a part of Hawaiian culture for centuries. They are even mentioned in the Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo. The Hawaiians utilized them in traditional ceremonies, and some families considered the honu family spirits called `aumakua.

To these people, sea turtles embody good luck, protection as well as endurance, and long life that we all strive to attain!

Where to See Turtles in Maui, tips featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Tranquil turquoise-colored water on the quiet Maluaka Beach, Maui, Hawaii
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

Most people only think about the green sea turtle, but there are actually four different types of sea turtles in Hawaii: the green, hawksbill, loggerhead, and leatherback!

Sea turtles provide many services to humans by cleaning up our beaches and oceans. In return for this service, they have been hunted relentlessly. But we can help them by not hunting them or eating their eggs.

Sea turtles migrate thousands of miles across the ocean to lay their eggs on sandy shores that stay warm during winter months. This is why so many sea turtle populations have declined drastically over time. It’s because it’s harder for them to find nesting grounds due to climate change!

Sea Turtle Facts for Kids: The Sea Turtle Life Cycle

1. Baby Sea Turtles

Baby sea turtles start out as eggs that are laid in nests on beaches around the world. Once they’re ready to hatch, these babies crawl up from their egg nest and use a tooth called an “egg caruncle” (or keel) to break free of the shell.

And then it’s off for them! They head quickly toward the water so they can reach safety before predators catch the sight or smell of this vulnerable baby turtle sprinting across the land.

2. Juvenile Sea Turtles

When they are born, baby turtles head out to the ocean. From there, in many cases, we don’t know where they go (that’s why it is called “the lost years.”)

Some of these turtles grow and feed on sargassum seaweed before returning back home as adults.

3. Adult Sea Turtles

Once they are fully grown, these turtles embark on a long journey back to where they were born. Adult females will mate with multiple males. Then when they are ready, they climb up onto this nesting beach to lay their eggs. This starts the sea turtle life cycle all over again.

Turtles under water on a blue background.
Sea turtles in Maui.

5 Cool Things to Know About Sea Turtles

They Can’t Hide in Their Shells

Sea turtles are like the big fish in a small pond. They don’t have to worry about predators and can swim around at their leisure most of the time. But when it’s nesting season, they become vulnerable because their anatomy makes them less agile on land than sea life.

Sometimes it Looks Like They Are Crying

Sea turtles are always the ones to start a good cry, and sometimes they will stop at absolutely nothing. When these tears come from sea turtle’s eyes, it is actually salt water that has been excreted through their glands. This helps them not to become too salty after living in the ocean all day long!

They are HUGE!

In fact, green sea turtles are one of the world’s largest species. They are even larger than their land counterparts, weighing around 65-130kg and measuring between 1-1.2m long!

They have a strong, teardrop shape shell called a carapace. This covers most of their body except for their head and four flippers.

Their carapace can include shades of different colors, such as dark brown, green, olive, yellow, and black, which makes these creatures very unique from other animals because they stand out against all-natural surroundings.

Many Swim Thousands of Miles to Lay Eggs

Female turtles travel thousands of miles from their feeding grounds back to the beaches they were hatched on. This typically happens every two-four years.

First, females mate in shallow waters offshore with males and lay clutches of around 115 eggs. Then, they crawl onto sandy beaches and use their flippers to dig nests for each egg. Finally, they return to the sea.

They Become Vegetarians as Adults

Green sea turtles are known to eat crabs, jellyfish, and other creatures when they are young. As they age into adulthood, however, their diet changes drastically. Usually, they only eat seagrass and algae.

Please remember not to touch Hawaiian green sea turtles like the one in this photo. Volunteers put up signage to remind tourists to give turtles some space.
Turtle Beach on Oahu

Where to Find Sea Turtles in Hawaii

Sea Turtles on Oahu

While there are many places to see turtles on Oahu, the most popular place to go is Laniakea Beach. Also called Turtle Beach, this is an awesome spot to see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles lounging on the sand or swimming in the ocean.

Sea Turtles on Maui

You can see Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles on tons of different beaches on Maui, including Black Rock, Makena Landing, Honolua Bay, Kapalua Bay, and Ulua Beach. I actually have a whole post about the best places to see turtles on Maui.

Sea Turtles on Kauai

Poipu Beach is one of my favorite places to spot sea turtles on Kauai. You can also usually see Hawaiian Monk Seals here, too. Just be sure to give both of these amazing animals lots of space.

Sea Turtles on the Big Island

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles love hanging out on the Big Island. You can usually spot them at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Kahalu’u Beach, Kiholo Bay, or Honaunau Bay.

Sea Turtle Books for Kids

For some more cool sea turtle resources for kids, check out a few of these books I found. You can read them with your kids to learn a bit more about these amazing Hawaiian sea creatures.

National Geographic Readers: Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are amazing animals that not only use their built-in GPS to find the perfect beach where they were born but also spend all of their time swimming in search of food and a mate.

Learn more cool sea turtle facts for kids with this Nat Geo Kids book about sea turtles.

The beautiful photographs accompanied by informative text will teach kids about these majestic creatures while keeping them entertained with interesting facts!

Safari Readers: Sea Turtles

There’s a cool series of reading books out there for kids with an interest in marine life, ocean creatures, and endangered species. It’s called Safari Readers, and it offers wild facts about animals that are sure to fuel curious young minds.

Learn new sea turtle facts for kids with this Safari Readers kids book about sea turtles.

Take your child on their own personal adventure through picturesque photographs as they learn something new from every page!

One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder

Sea turtles have a fascinating life cycle. For thirty years, they swim the oceans searching for food before one summer night when they land on shore to lay their eggs at the very same beach where she was born.

Read the story of a baby sea turtle called One Tiny Turtle.

The lovely text offers intriguing information about how small and endangered loggerhead sea turtle lives out her days until finally deciding it is time to reproduce in this beautifully illustrated book.

Sea Turtle Printable Activity Pack

Ok, now you know a lot about sea turtles! Let’s keep the learning going with this awesome sea turtle printable activity pack. It’s got sea turtle worksheets, a word search, cut-and-paste activities, a turtle report, and more!

Download a free Sea Turtle Activity Pack!

Get this amazing Sea Turtle Activity Pack by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of several Sea Turtle worksheets and activity pages for kids.
Sea Turtle Activity Pack

Sea Turtle Life Cycle Printable

Now that you’ve learned a bit about this amazing Hawaiian animal (and learned a few Hawaii facts for kids) you can help your kids a bit with this awesome sea turtle printable lap book.

Your kids can learn more about the sea turtle life cycle and Hawaiian green sea turtle facts while working on fine motor skills.

This is a fun airplane activity for kids or a great addition to homeschooling curriculum.

Download a free Sea Turtle Life Cycle Lap Book!

Download instructions to make this sea turtle life cycle lap book by top Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids. Image of a manilla folder with sea turtle drawings taped to it.
Sea Turtle Life Cycle Lap Book.

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle FAQs

How many Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles are left?

Even though things are slowly looking up for this particular species, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle remains threatened because of its small isolated population (less than 4,000 nesting females) and because 96% of these creatures’ nests occur at a single vulnerable location: the French Frigate Shoals.

Where do Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles live?

You may find Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles around the world in warm subtropical and tropical ocean waters. They have been documented nesting in over 80 different countries, plus you can spot them in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the east coast of Florida.

Will touching a baby sea turtle kill it?

Sometimes tourists are offered the opportunity to release a baby sea turtle into the ocean. This is an incredible experience for someone who has never seen one in person, but be warned: you should not touch or hold these turtles! It could negatively impact their survival rate by weakening their protective shell with oils from your skin and impairing them when they come up on land again. Ask about using empty coconut shells instead of touching this beautiful creature—this way, you can still make sure that it gets out safely without any negative consequences!

Are Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles endangered?

The green sea turtle is on the brink of extinction, and they often face many threats in their habitat. Although, Hawaii’s sea turtles are showing a good population recovery due to conservation efforts. Humans have threatened them with exploitation, poaching, subsistence hunting, as well as incidental catch from fishing nets or pollution in water that can hinder reproduction rates which leads to fewer numbers through time. In Hawaii, these animals are protected by law, so it will be interesting for us to see how this change affects the animal status over there!

Looking for more Hawaii Learning Resources? Check out my Pineapple Life Cycle coloring book, sea life color by number printables, Hawaii Lei Day Coloring Book, at the beach worksheets, and this Sea Turtle Activity Pack!