A favourite theme for our toddlers and preschoolers is under the sea and oceans. Living near the coast it’s always been a favourite and as a marine biologist, it was something that I was passionate about introducing the kids to early.

So as well as fantastic beach crafts and activities we also have added to our recommended books for toddlers and preschoolers with this list of Ocean Books to read aloud for your toddlers and preschoolers and you to enjoy.

Preschooler in the water wearing a snorkel and mask holding a star fish text overlay reads Oceans Books for your Little Marine Biologists
Little Boy Snorkling via Shutterstock

Ocean Books for Kids

These books have been chosen as our favourite under the sea themed books to read with your toddlers and preschoolers.

From non-fiction books full of information that your tot will understand to stories set above and below the waves.

Let us know at the bottom which are your favourite sea creature books and we’ll update the list to include them.

Looking for books specifically about sea turtles check out the best sea turtle books for toddlers and preschoolers selected by a sea turtle biologist, mum and teacher.

Non-fiction Under the Sea Books for Kids

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Ocean: A Photicular Book

We’re kicking off our sea animals list with an AMAZING book although aimed at older children with almost moving pictures it’s worth getting Ocean: A Photicular Book whilst with your young children you can flick through and watch the pictures and it will still be being flicked through when they are much older.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean

I’ve said it before and I will say it again the National Geographic series of books are fantastic for kids. This one National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of the Ocean is aimed perfectly at preschoolers and an ideal additional to your book basket for any ocean or under the sea themed topics.

Children’s Guide to Sea Creatures

With beautiful illustrations and interesting facts Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Sea Creatures will be able to answer most of those questions from your inquisitive preschooler that you have no clue of the answer to. I would recommend any of this series of illustrated encyclopedias for your family bookshelves.

DK Eyewitness Books: Ocean

Along with National Geographic, we also love the Eyewitness guides from DK and DK Eyewitness Books: Ocean is full of information with fantastic images and another that will last through the years so a good investment.

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

We are very fortunate to have some signed copies of Marianne Berkes book to both of my children and although our copy of Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef is not signed it is still a much loved book on the shelf. I love the counting, rhymes and also language development that she focuses on connecting the mother and baby animals names correctly.

Wish for a Fish: All about Sea Creatures Cat in the Hats Learning Library

Have you read any of the non-fiction books based on the style of Dr Seuss? They are great and a fun read but also full of facts and information Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures Cat in the Hats Learning Library is great for learning about the ocean as you travel through the depths learning about the different eco-systems and the weird and wonderful creatures that can be found there.

Sea Turtles: Amazing Pictures and Animal Facts Everyone Should KNow

Do watch out for our Sea Turtle book list coming soon as they were my specialist as a marine biologist but in the mean time Sea Turtles: Amazing Pictures and Animal Facts Everyone Should Know by Ann Lawrence is a good non-fiction book for you and your child to read featuring all 7 species of turtles.

Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia

Without a doubt your book shelf should contain some encyclopedia’s although the internet is great children need to learn how to use these classic books for research and for your budding marine biologist Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia is a perfect starter to discover more about the oceans of the world and learn how to use encyclopedias as well.

The Ocean Alphabet Book

The Ocean Alphabet Book Jerry Pallottas Alphabet Books goes through the creatures of the ocean in alphabetical order providing a little snippet of information about each creature and an illustration. This is a great book for the literacy corner in a classroom or for those ocean mad tots that you’re working on alphabets with.

Oceans of the World In Color: Marine Life and Oceanography for Children

We seem to have focused on the life in the oceans so far but this book Oceans Of The World In Color: Marine Life and Oceanography for Children goes into more details about the oceans themselves, where they can be found, what they are like, their names as well as a little on the creatures that live there.

Oceans: Dolphins, Sharks, Penguins and more!

Ask a child to tell you some creatures that live in the oceans and at least one of the main animals featured in Oceans: Dolphins, sharks, penguins, and more! another National Geographic book will come up. Discover more about these wonderful animals and their underwater world, wanting to know more, learn about these and help them will not only help and protect these animals but also the whole ecosystem and all the animals within it.

covers of favourite ocean books for toddlers and preschoolers and you to read together text read Ocean Books for your little marine biologists

Under the Sea Creature Books for Young Toddlers and babies

Discovery Kids Splash in the Ocean!

Books that are sensory are a hit with young toddlers and also older ones too, and Discovery Kids Splash in the Ocean! with 10 different sounds will sure to be a hit with them. Read along, press the buttons and learn about the Under Sea World.

National Geographic Kids Look and Learn

Look and Learn with this National Geographic favourite for toddlers – with simple words and bright colourful pictures National Geographic Kids Look and Learn will grow with you and your child.

Ocean Story Cloth Book

Soft, activity books like this Ocean Story Cloth Book have a fantastic dual purpose you can read together but at the same time play. They are perfect to slip into your baby bag to take on trips or place in the car for your young toddler to “read” whilst you drive.

In My Ocean

With a finger puppet and in board book format In My Ocean is perfect to read with babies and toddlers. Read along and discover what makes the ocean such a great place for the little dolphin to live in.

Favourite Under the Sea and Ocean Animal Fiction Books

You can tell it’s a topic that authors love to write about when the section on Fiction Books includes most of your favourite children’s authors and illustrators. So with books by Eric Carle, Julia Donaldson, and Giles Andrea there’s our top 3 straight away.

Snail and the Whale

With rhyming words in the title and illustrated by Alex Scheffler The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson on our bookshelf is falling apart it has been read so much. Can you find Tiddler from her other fantastic Under the Sea book within the illustrations?

Mister SeaHorse

Mister Seahorse from Eric Carle is the perfect book for a child and their father to read together. It would make a great father’s day gift for a child to give to his or her dad with some read with me tokens and with classic Eric Carle illustrations it’s sure to be a great bedtime story.

Commotion in the Ocean

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andrea is a book of wonderful poems that are great to read aloud with your toddlers and preschoolers. With fun illustrations and creatures from the deep to the shore there are so many to enjoy!

Under The Sea Magnetic Story and Play Scenes

With magnetic pieces, this book Under the Sea Magnetic Story & Play Scene not only tells a story but also lets your children create their own stories. I loved listening to mine act out their own story with the people in the submarine discovering the underwater world.

Way down Deep in the Deep blue sea

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea here’s a lot to find I guarantee! Starts this wonderful book for preschoolers. Follow the boy as he explores the ocean in this book with rhyming text and cartoon-like illustrations.

Under the Sea Picture Book

Under the Sea Picture Books follow along with the tale as you visit the colourful coral reef down to the darkest depths of the ocean.

Swimmy

Another favourite children’s author of our’s Leo Lionni is the author and illustrator behind Swimmy a story with a moral and a wonderful book to read aloud to your children.

More Animal Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Ocean Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

No need to visit a project to learn about Sea Turtles and their protection. Use these fun hands-on ideas to learn where ever you are in the world.
Paper Plate Craft for Kids - create a toy scuba mask for the kids to explore the under sea world as they read Pete the Cat Scuba Cat

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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