Kids Learn about Octopuses or Octopi

by Mary Ann on February 8, 2012

kids learn about octopus from books

Kids learning about octopuses

Ring! Ring! “Hello.” “Grandma, I want to learn about octopuses.”

That of course was this weeks Traveling Closet. When there is a “spark” you have to jump on it. Remember my elephant fiasco?

What is octopus plural, octopi?

According to Merriam-Webster, throughout history the word “octopus” has been pluralized as octopuses, octopi, and the more unusual octopodes. Any of the three options is fine proving that grammar isn’t always black and white. This is a fact that we learned while using our Traveling Closet. Jack, Maggie and I just thought you would like to know.

Books, books, books! We always start with books. These children love books and the books that help kids learn about  octopuses were no exception.

kids checking octopus pictures

Mary, Maggie and Jack loved learning about octopuses

This was the funniest thing we learned in our books – The octopus has a squirter (siphon or funnel) and he uses it to shoot backwards. We practiced sucking in air and shooting it out as fast as we could and letting our hands shoot backwards. Mary loved it, Jack was a bit unnerved, Maggie just laughed.

Facts and Information about Octopus for Kids

Want a few more amazing facts to help kids learn about octopuses?

  • An octopus can open a jar lid to get at the food inside.
  • The octopus has a parrot-like beak – yikes and he isn’t even a bird!
  • An octopus has eight arms and no legs.
  • An octopus has no bones so it can wiggle into very tiny spaces.
  • An octopus hunts for food at night.
  • If an octopus is under attack it can squirt a cloud of black ink and get away.
  • Moray eels like to bite of octopus arms for lunch!
  • An octopus can change its color very fast from black to white to red.
  • An octopus can change the texture of its body so he is very hard to find.
  • An octopus home or lair is called a midden.
different colored octopus images

Octopus craft/activities for kids

Next we made a wonderful octopus craft for kids. I love crafts that cost no money and use what we already have at home. In this case we used toilet paper rolls, construction paper, tape, wiggle eyes and stickers from the office. (See another octopus craft with paper bag.)

octopus craft step by step images

Step by step instruction for making toilet paper roll octopus craft:

Cut the toilet paper roll in half. Measure it on your construction paper and draw a pencil line. Cut eight strips (arms) from the edge of the paper to the pencil line.

octopus craft step by step image

Glue or tape the construction paper to the toilet paper roll with the arms hanging down.

octopus craft step by step pic

Roll the arms on a pencil or marker so they curl up.

octopus craft step by step pics

Glue on the wiggle eyes and add the sticker suckers on the arms.

octopus craft step by step picture

As usual we ended our day with another very silly book about an octopus who almost became soup. The pictures were funny and Maggie, who is 5 ½ laughed and laughed at the silly things that went on.

reading octopus books

sausage octopus arrangementI must confess that we did not eat any octopi for lunch! We found chocolate teddy grahams, cheese and hot dogs to be much more satisfying.

Do you find yourself longing for an easy way to keep your closet filled with fun activities, recipes, experiments, music and projects. Take a look at the Rockin Closet Idea Packet which comes monthly to your in box. Feel the luxury of opening the Rockin’ Closet Idea Packet and having dozens of crafts, projects, recipes, books and family activities at your fingertips on a wide array of topics.

 Books for kids about octopi

  • Octopuses by Michele Spirn
  • The Octopus by Mary M. Cerullo
  • Octopus soup by Mercer Meyer
  • Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Scieszka – I do not like this book but Maggie (5 1/2) laughed uproariously!
  • Octopuses, Squids, and their relatives by Beth Blaxland
  • Octopuses by Carol K. Lindeen
  • An Octopus is Anoying by Patricia Lauber
  • Gentle Giant Octopuses by Karen Wallace
  • My Very Own Octopus by Bernard Most
  • An Octopuses Garden by Stephanie Steve-Borden
  • Octopus Socktopus by Nick Sharratt
  • Have You Ever Seen an Octopus with a Broom by Etta Kaner


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