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Shark Life Cycle Activities and Resources Plus a Free Printable

This printable shark life cycle slider is a great educational activity for kids.

There are just some topics that catch the interest of young children the world over. Dinosaurs and sharks top the list of kids’ favorite things.

Maybe it’s the sheer size and breadth of these enormous creatures, or maybe they’re just really cool and awe-inspiring. Whatever the reason, chances are your child has expressed an interest in sharks and ocean animals.

A trip to the aquarium, a visit to the beach, or even a catchy song on YouTube, ahem… can be the catalyst to an obsession with learning everything there is to know about sharks. 

If your kids are obsessed with these grand animals or you’re looking for Shark Week activities for your homeschool, these shark life cycle activities and resources will provide hours of educational entertainment.

Black text at top says Printable. White text outlined in black on a blue background says Shark Life Cycle & Activity Ideas for Kids. Bottom half of image shows the side view of a shark swimming in water.

The Shark Life Cycle in a Nutshell

Sharks generally produce small litters of pups over a long gestation period and it often takes most types of sharks many years until they’re able to reproduce. Thus, the life cycle of a shark is rather lengthy.

Oviparous sharks – those that lay eggs include the horn shark and catshark among others. A baby shark will develop inside the egg in a yolk sack and is born after a few months up to a year of gestation.

Viviparous sharks give birth to live pups that develop in the mother’s uterus and receive nutrients through an umbilical cord. The blue shark, bull shark, and hammerhead are examples of viviparous sharks.

Another type of shark is the ovoviviparous shark which carries eggs inside of her body until they hatch.

Preview image of shark life cycle slider printable on a bright blue background.

Shark Life Cycle Stages

Stage 1:  Pregnancy – delivery or hatching depending on shark type as described above

Stage 2: Pup – a pup is a baby shark, unlike other animals, they don’t rely on their mother for care. They need to hunt and care for themselves. 

Stage 3: Young shark – this can be a very long stage; it will take several years for a young shark to become an adult.

Stage 4: Adult shark – it can take twenty years for a shark to reach maturity and be able to reproduce, thus starting the shark life cycle all over again.

How to Use the Shark Life Cycle Printable Worksheet

This printable shark life cycle worksheet (available by filling out the form at the end of this post) can be used in a variety of ways that are both educational and fun for your kids.

You or your child can cut along the dotted line on the worksheet and cut slits on the solid line in the center of the worksheet. Use the tab that was cut out as a slider to progress through the various stages of the shark life cycle. 

Once you explain the cycle to your child, have them repeat the cycle stages back to you using the life cycle slider worksheet.

Test their sequencing knowledge by showing a section of the slider and ask them what comes before and after that particular stage. 

Shark life cycle activity cut out and assembled to slide through center. Sharks are colored gray and the works are colored in with pink and blue crayons.

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Shark Life Cycle Activities and Resources 

If your child is interested in learning more about sharks or you’re looking for a way to extend the learning beyond the printable shark life cycle worksheet, the Shark Academy series on YouTube is a great resource.

Consisting of 36 short videos, Emmy Award-winning host of Jonathan Bird of Jonathan Bird’s Blue World takes young viewers on a shark adventure. With videos covering shark teeth, buoyancy, and how sharks breathe, see and smell, your child can immerse themselves into the underwater world of these fascinating fish.

If your children are like mine, they may like to work on something while watching.

A fun hands-on activity for shark week is this build a shark kit. My son enjoyed putting together the pieces to build the shark’s body and then used modeling clay to cover and decorate it.

Another option is to work on a shark tooth dig kit. Kids can dig out three real shark teeth, identify them, and learn more about sand tiger sharks, crow sharks, and otodus shark.

Books For Kids About Sharks

Eugenie Clark, known as The Shark Lady, was a pioneer in scuba research dives and performed a variety of scientific studies on shark and fish behavior. Introduce your children to Clark in the book Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Oceans Most Fearless Scientist

You can also have your child watch a read-aloud of the book from KidTimeStoryTime as part of a fun shark mini unit study.

The Super Shark Encyclopedia is a colorful reference guide for kids interested in learning more about sharks. Chock full of photos, cross-section images, and behavior facts, the encyclopedia features over 80 sharks and other ocean animals.

Learn More About the Ocean

One of the joys of child-led learning is the opportunity for following rabbit trails. Often, learning about one topic will lead to questions about a related topic. With sharks, before you know it, you’ll find your kids have done a deep dive (pun intended) into the world of oceanography.

If your child wants to learn more about the sea, apart from visiting your local aquarium or marine life center, consider a hands-on ocean zone density jar. With simple supplies you have at home, you and your child can explore the depths of the ocean from your kitchen table.

Spark creativity by having kids work on creating their own ocean themed pop up book.

The Sharks Top Trumps Card Game will help teach your kids interesting facts about sharks and other fun trivia topics. 

It can be challenging when homeschooling children of varying ages. To keep young learners engaged, interactive educational items like the Boley Shark and Bones stuffed animal and skeleton plush toy comes in handy to keep little hands busy.

These shark life cycle activities will provide hours of entertainment and education whether you homeschool or not.

More Life Cycle Activities:

Black and white shark life cycle printable page at top and bottom half shows what it looks like when cut out, colored in and assembled. Middle between both images is a dark blue rectangle with white text that says Printable Shark Life Cycle Slider.