A Rainbow of Corals Puts on a Show


Swim into summer with Kiki, an adorable green sea turtle. She discovers the fascinating world of a coral reef and “fish of all sizes and lots of surprises” in the book On Kiki’s Reef.

Journey with Kiki as she meets amazing coral reef critters, avoids the dangers of the open ocean, and finally returns to the beach where she was born—and the cycle of life continues.

The following activity makes a fun end-of-the-year celebration or an at-home event for the whole family. It’s adapted from the California Academy of Sciences.

coral_polyp_party_image008-150x150Although a coral reef looks like a rock, the surface of the reef is covered with a layer of living corals. Living corals are called polyps, and when they die, their skeletons form the foundation of a coral reef.

Recommended Grade Level: K-3


  1. After reading On Kiki’s Reef, ask children to identify Kiki (main character), the new sea creature she meets, and the images of coral on each page.
  2. Follow these directions to teach your children about corals as they create an “coral polyp” they can eat from easy to get ingredients.
  3. Then share some fascinating turtle and reef facts from the back of the book. Did you know:
  • Coral reefs are called the “rainforests of the ocean” because they support such a diversity of life. A map in the back of the books shows where reefs are found world-wide.
  • Only about one in 1,ooo green sea turtle hatchlings survive to adulthood. But once they’re adults, they can live up to 80 years, maybe even longer.
  • A green sea turtle gets its name from the color of its fat, not the color of its shell, which is mottled shades of brown, olive, and red.

Common Core Standards
~Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details (K.s, 1.3, 2.3, 3.3); Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)
~Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)

Science Standards

~ From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes (K-LS1, 1-LS-1, 3-LS1)
~ Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits (1-LS3)

For more information about sea turtles and reefs, go to:

subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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