Whale Size Comparison Poster, Match Up Cards – Free Printables

You are invited to download the poster and picture cards with different types of whales – learning printables for preschool and kindergarten children. Use this resource with clear true-to-life images to create hands-on marine activities for your students. This resource will come in handy if you are planning to explore the ocean and marine mammals in your Montessori and early childhood classroom.

about whales

Whales are the world’s largest living mammals. They are known for their incredible size and intelligence. There are two types of whales: baleen and toothed. Baleen whales, such as the humpback and blue whales, have a fringe-like comb made of keratin plates, called baleen, that filters food from the water. Toothed whales, such as dolphins and killer whales, have teeth and eat fish and squid.

Whales are found in all of the world’s oceans, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They can live as long as 100 years or more and can weigh up to 200 tons. Some whale species, such as the blue whale, are larger than the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived.

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Whales are incredibly social creatures, usually living in groups called pods. They use a variety of vocalizations, including whistles, songs, and clicks, to communicate with each other. They are known for their intelligence, adaptability, and playfulness.

Unfortunately, many whale species are threatened or endangered due to activities such as whaling, habitat destruction, and pollution. However, there are conservation efforts underway to protect these incredible creatures and their environments.

There are several reasons why learning about whales is important for preschool children:

  1. Enhances Understanding of Marine Life: Children can learn about the importance of oceans and the animals that live in them. This understanding can help them develop an appreciation for marine life and the need to protect it.
  2. Encourages Environmental Conservation: By learning about whales and their habitats, preschool children can become aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy environment. This knowledge can inspire them to grow up as environmentally responsible individuals.
  3. Helps Develop Compassion: Whale watching and learning about these magnificent animals can develop empathy and compassion for animals. Children will learn to appreciate all life-forms and to treat them with respect and kindness.
  4. Develops Vocabulary Skills: Learning about whales can help children develop their vocabulary skills as they learn new words related to marine life, such as “blowhole,” “flukes,” and “dorsal fin.”
  5. Enhances Critical Thinking: Children can learn about whale behavior patterns, such as migration, feeding, and breeding. This will enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they try to understand the reasons behind these behaviors.

In conclusion, learning about whales is an essential part of early childhood education as it helps children develop awareness and appreciation towards the environment and its inhabitants.

Whale hands-on learning activities for children

  1. Blubber Experiment: Fill a ziplock bag with gel and have the children wear gloves to feel the “blubber”. Discuss how the thick layer of fat helps whales stay warm in cold water.
  2. Whale Songs: Listen to recordings of whale songs and discuss how whales use songs to communicate with each other.
  3. Whale Size Comparison: Use masking tape to create life-size outlines of different types of whales on the floor. Have the children stand next to each whale and compare their sizes.
  4. Whale Migration Map: Create a wall or floor map showing the migration patterns of various whale species. Discuss reasons why whales migrate and what challenges they face during their journeys.
  5. Ocean Sensory Bin: Fill a sensory bin with blue water beads, sea shells, ocean animals, and other related items. Encourage children to explore the ocean habitat with their senses.
  6. Whale Storytime: Read books about whales and other ocean creatures to the children. Ask questions and encourage them to share their own thoughts and observations.
  7. Whale Art: Provide various art materials for children to create whale-themed art. Examples include using paint to create ocean scenes, drawing or painting whale pictures, or making whale murals out of tissue paper.
  8. Whale Trivia Game: Create a quiz game with facts about whales. Have the children answer questions with true or false or multiple choice answers.
  9. Compare Bones: Provide skeletons of various animals, including whales, for children to compare and contrast. Discuss the differences in skeletal structures between animals that live on land versus those that live in water.
  10. Whale Watching: Bring children on a whale watching tour to observe whales in their natural habitat. Encourage them to take notes or create a drawing of what they see.
  11. Sorting Activity: Provide pictures of different ocean animals, including whales, and have children sort them based on different characteristics such as size, color, or habitat.
  12. DIY Whale Toy: Use felt or other soft materials to create simple whale toys that children can play with. Encourage them to use their imagination to create different scenarios and stories involving the whales.
  13. Whale Anatomy Model: Provide a model of a whale’s anatomy, either through a model kit or creating a DIY version. Discuss the different parts and functions of the whale’s body.
  14. Ocean Booklet: Work with children to create a booklet about the ocean and its inhabitants, including information about whales. Encourage them to draw pictures and write their own descriptions of what they’ve learned.
  15. Sound Experiment: Use glasses or jars filled with different amounts of water and have children tap on them to create different sounds. Discuss how sound travels differently through water, and how whales use echolocation to navigate and communicate.
  16. Marine Habitat Blueprint: Have children work in groups to create a blueprint of a marine habitat, including where different ocean animals, including whales, live and how they interact with each other.
  17. Write a Story: Encourage children to write their own stories about whales, either through fiction or non-fiction. Have them share their stories with the group.
  18. Whale Watching Binoculars: Use cardboard tubes or other materials to create homemade binoculars for children to use during whale watching expeditions or while observing whale videos.
  19. Make a Whale Craft: Encourage children to create a whale-themed craft, such as a paper plate whale or a whale bookmark. Creative activities can help reinforce what they’ve learned about whales and the ocean.

Whale Size Comparison Poster, Match Up Cards – Free Printables

There are many uses of the printable. One of them is introducing children to new vocabulary and making glue-and-paste activities.


  • 2 x types of whales – poster
  • 1 x sorting mat – background
  • 1 x page with images of different types of whales for matching

Younger children can be encouraged to match colored animal pictures to the black and white version.

Children also might like to sort whales from the largest/smallest to the smallest/largest species. Each animal can be compared to the size of a human.

Cut animal cards, laminate, and attach hook and loop dots to add an extra challenge for little fingers. Older children might be inspired to create their own book of animals that are commonly found in the ocean, glue cutouts, or draw and label the animals.
You may like to enlarge the background. Use adhesive to create this activity for your children.
If you would like to enlarge the background, here is how you can do it.

Hit Print. Make sure in your Advanced Settings ‘Print As Image’ has been deselected. Then hit ‘Poster’ and set your ‘Tile Scale’ according to how large you would like your poster to be. If you set it at 100%, it will print on two sheets. Trim sheets as needed and connect your poster pieces using scotch tape.

When exploring whales with your children you might like to give some of these hands-on activities a go:

1. Make different types of whales using playdough or plasticine.

2. Make a sensory bottle or sensory play tub with whales. Gather blue water beads, food coloring, whale figurines, scooping tools, seashells, and pebbles. Grow beads and fill in a plastic tub with colored blue water and water beads, add tools for pouring and scooping, and loose parts to create an invitation to play. 

3. Turn on classical or lyrical music and add rainsticks for children to play. Give children blue and colorful silk scarves and invite them to improvise dancing to music imitating the sea creatures.

5. Discuss in a small group all the different ways children can protect whales in their natural habitat.

types of whales printables

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About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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