Shark Storytime Activity Ideas : 11 Easy Ideas for Shark Week in the Library

This shark-obsessed librarian is excited to share some shark storytime activity ideas with you today! I originally wanted to share these ideas before Shark Week, which is usually in late-July or early-August. Unfortunately, I got busy with another project and didn’t get to it two weeks ago.

Better late than never, right?

So without further ado, here’s my list of 10 Shark Storytime Activity Ideas. These are all intended for elementary school libraries and public libraries.

IDEA #1: Start with FREE Shark-Themed Agenda Slides

These Shark-Themed Agenda Slides will help keep you and your students on-track.To help keep you and the students on-track, download these free Shark-Themed Agenda Slides in my Free Resource Library.

If you need the password (it changes from time to time), you’ll need to subscribe to my email list. After you subscribe, the password will be emailed to you immediately.

IDEA #2: Wear Shark-Themed Clothing to Storytime

I love that there are so many themed t-shirts, skirts, dresses, and jewelry! Students love them, and it helps make your theme so much more memorable!

Here are some cute shark-themed clothing and jewelry ideas I found on Amazon:


IDEA#3: Shark Teeth Discovery Jar or Shark Teeth I-Spy

Shark Teeth By Christine/AdobeStock
Photo by By Christine/AdobeStock

Fill a clear mason jar about 3/4 full of light-colored sand. Sprinkle in a few different kinds of shark teeth. Secure the lid tightly.

Students hold the jar and turn it, looking for the shark teeth in the sand.

Add a card or label the lid with how many shark teeth students should look for in the jar. Bonus points if you can add what kind of sharks the teeth came from!

If you are really feeling fancy, add a miniature crab toy, mermaid, shells, or a small starfish to the sand!

Where to find shark teeth: This was harder than I expected. I had hoped to link some inexpensive shark teeth here, but I can’t find any! Are they not allowed to be sold? I have no idea.

It does seem like I’ve seen shark teeth sold in bulk in aquarium gift shops, as well as at tourist shops at the beach. Sharks lose teeth constantly – it should not be that hard to find shark teeth for sale. Even fake shark teeth are eluding me today!

IDEA #4: Pass Around Some Sandpaper

Shark skin feels like sandpaper!Did you know that shark skin is said to feel like sandpaper?

Many younger students may never have felt sandpaper before, so if you want to talk about shark skin, you’ll need a bit of sandpaper to pass around.

If you don’t have sandpaper somewhere at home (check the garage and toolbox!), you can find it at local hardware stores or in the paint section of big box stores.

Local hardware stores might even give you a bit of sandpaper for free if you tell them you are using the sandpaper for your library.

IDEA #5: Set Up a Shark Puzzle

There are loads of shark puzzles out there! Put one on a table, and let students assemble it together over time. 100-piece or 500-piece shark puzzles are great for elementary students!

PRO-TIP: Use a box cutter to cut a slit down the sides of foam pool noodles. Attach these to the sides of the puzzle table to keep the pieces on the table and off the floor. You may want to hot-glue the foam pool noodles to the table to secure them. See a sample photo here.

IDEA #6: Practice Shark Movements in the Library

Get students moving around your library! Ask students to show you:

  • How do sharks glide through the water?
  • How do they dart quickly?
  • How do they jump out of the water?
  • How do they circle their prey?
  • How do they make a big chomp (use hands and arms)?
  • How do filter-feeders like basking sharks and whale sharks filter the water for plankton?

IDEA #7: Make Some Shark Origami Bookmarks!

My middle schoolers went so crazy for these one year that I actually created an Origami Bookmarks station in the library!

Corner bookmarks will also be fun for older elementary students. For younger elementary students, you could ask a volunteer to pre-fold the bookmarks and just have the students decorate them with markers, googly eyes, and construction paper.

Check out this 3-minute YouTube tutorial for making origami shark bookmarks

IDEA #8: Read shark books!

Not sure what to read? I’ve got a scrolling slideshow of shark picture books below. If you don’t have time to do a read-aloud, you can also just scroll the slideshow on a screen.

This slideshow is editable, so you can add your library’s own shark books to the slides! Just click this link and “Use Template” to add a copy of the shark slideshow to your Google Drive.


IDEA #9: Research Different Shark Species

I have two resources for shark research: one for lower-elementary and one for upper-elementary.

For GrThis Shark Research Flip Book is for students in Grades K-1. It is designed for use with PebbleGo (a subscription database), but it can also be used with shark nonfiction for emergent readers.ades K-1, I have a Shark Research Flip Book that is designed to go with PebbleGo, a subscription research database for emergent readers and younger ESL students.

If you do not have PebbleGo in your library, you might look into the ABDO Kids Jumbo: Sharks series, Capstone’s All About Sharks series, or the Pebble Plus: All About Sharks series.

All three sets are great for PreK-Grade 1 and available on Titlewave.

This is a set of ten Shark Reading Comprehension Passages for Grades 4-5.For older elementary students, I’ve got some Shark Reading Comprehension Passages. These are nonfiction passages, written by Yours Truly, that feature information about 10 shark species.

I ran these passages through the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease scorer, and most of the passages are leveled at Grade 4. One got a 5.0 reading level, and one was 3.4.

Each passage includes 5 reading comprehension questions for that passage.

IDEA #10: Draw a “Folding Surprise Puppet Shark”

If you are not familiar with Art for Kids Hub on YouTube, you really need to check them out! They have loads of how-to-draw videos for kids. I love the personality of the artist and the kids he features while drawing (I think they are his own children).

This video is really cute for shark lovers! It’s 7-minutes, so be sure to make some time. You can also watch the video and then walk the students through the shark drawing yourself. Don’t forget to add time to color! The shark drawing is in real time, but the coloring at the end is fast-forwarded.


IDEA #11: Try My Shark Storytime!

This Shark Storytime is for Grades 1-4. It was created for elementary libraries, but it can also work well in the classroom.Short on time? Creative juices not flowing? I’ve got a fabulous Shark Storytime for Grades 1-4!

This Shark Storytime comes with: a three-part library slideshow presentation, two differentiated scavenger hunt activities, a list of 32 Recommended Shark-Themed Reads, a 2-page Take Home Extension Activities handout, and an editable lesson plan template aligned with CCSS, AASL, and TEKS standards.

If you need something already done for you, the Shark Storytime will help you be the library rockstar you are too tired or overwhelmed to be right now.

So there you have it! 11 Ideas for a Shark Storytime! Use them for Shark Week, World Oceans Day (June 8th), or anytime your students want to take a big bite out of storytime!

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