The coronavirus is having a huge impact on people all around the globe, and the Manta Trust is no exception. Our Maldivian Manta Ray Project and affiliate projects in over twenty countries around the world have put their field-work on hold; many of our researchers travelled home to go into lockdown with their families, and the tourism industry on which much of our work depends, has ground to an inevitable and necessary halt. However, despite being landlocked and unable to conduct research, thanks to the continued support of the Save Our Seas Foundation the Manta Trust’s core team can stop this time from going to waste. Instead, we are channelling our efforts into the other two pillars of our conservation strategy, education and collaboration, to bring you the Manta Trust Kid’s Club!
Many families have by now done all the old jigsaw puzzles, watched enough Disney movies to last a lifetime and exhausted their baking supplies. Covid-19 means we are all spending more time indoors, and we must find innovative ways to use this time positively, for new experiences and learning. If you are stuck for inspiration and want to get your child involved in some Ocean-themed fun, look no further than the Kid’s Club.
This resource page is choc-a-bloc with activities for little ones as well as the older mini-marine biologists and centres around the adventures of Marvin the Manta Ray. Marvin is on an epic journey around the world to visit all the Manta Trust projects. From the Maldives, he is travelling to some incredible locations including Chagos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, French Polynesia and New Zealand before crossing the oceans and eventually ending up in the Azores to learn about the curious devil rays of the Atlantic Ocean.
Each Manta Trust affiliate project runs their own initiatives, whether it be tagging mantas to track their movements, monitoring fishery catches, spying on mantas with underwater video cameras, taking photo IDs inside the famous Hanifaru Bay, or developing Marine Protected Areas. Each of these projects is getting involved to help children in lockdown around the world learn about countless aspects of marine biology and manta research.
Children can track Marvin’s progress on their very own Adventure Map and collect badges for every activity they complete. In week one they learnt how researchers in the Maldives identify different manta rays using the unique spot patterns on their bellies. Junior marine biologists (age 7-11) are challenged to match 12 photos of mantas to a catalogue of manta bellies and record their names and genders on a data sheet. The little ones (age 5-7) will not get left behind as our creative and educational manta maze, comic book challenge, colouring-in sheets, fish ID challenge and more will keep them busy for hours!
Kid’s Club is sure to get your family inspired about the ocean and its unique inhabitants – from mantas to turtles, nudibranchs to whale sharks – and your junior marine biologists will gain exciting scientific research skills. Our activities are easy to understand and will give parents some well-deserved downtime. Plus, in our Family Activities portal you will discover more games that the whole family can play together including manta bingo and a treasure hunt.
If that was not enough, we have plenty of prizes up for grabs, including the chance to name a manta ray, manta adoption packs, and Manta Trust clothing. Each week just upload a photo of your finished activity sheet to social media and tag @mantatrust #marvinthemanta #mantakidsclub to be entered into the prize raffle. New activities are released every Tuesday, visit Manta Trust Kid’s Club to find out more.