Mermaid Facts for Kids

A mermaid is a mythological creature. Mermaids are part fish and part girl. They can swim underwater, they come to the surface to breathe air. Learn all about mermaids with these mermaid facts for kids.

Mermaid Facts for Kids

The word mermaid comes from two words: the old English word mere, meaning sea, and the word maid, meaning women. When you combine the two words, it becomes the word mermaid. The word mermaid means sea woman.

Mermaids are not to be confused with sirens. Sirens are mythological creatures that are part human, part fish, and part bird.

Legends and Folktales

Legends and folktales are stories that have been passed down from one generation to another. A mermaid is a mythical creature in a legend or folktale. A mythological creature is a creature from a legend, folktale, or fairytale in which the person is part human, and part animal or another type of creature—a mermaid is a creature that is part female and part fish.

A male mermaid is called a merman.

Mermaid swimming through the water

Mermaid Appearance

The top part of a mermaid’s body resembles a human woman, and the lower part of her body (the waist down) is a fish.

Mermaids are beautiful. They have long hair that can be blonde, red, black, or brown.

In many stories, books, and movies, mermaids have great singing voices and can play instruments such as the harp.

Some believe that mermaids have an angelic look and are angels of the sea.

In some stories, mermaids are called ugly witches of the sea.

Mermaid in water

Mermaid Characteristics

In many stories, books, and movies, mermaids have great singing voices and can play instruments such as the harp.

A mermaid’s voice sounds like an angel’s. Their voices hypnotize sailors at sea. Legends say that their voice and beauty have caused sailors to steer the boats off course, causing them to crash or go off cliffs.

Some believe that mermaids can predict the future.

Mermaids have been sited sitting on large rocks out at sea.

Mermaids can transform themselves from mermaids to full humans with legs.

It is believed that mermaids cannot breathe underwater and that they must come up to the surface for air. They are known to be able to hold their breath for long periods.

Mermaids are said to be friends with dolphins. People have said they have spotted mermaids jumping out of the water with dolphins.

Mermaid swimming with dolphins

Mermaid Habitat

Mermaids live in grottos under the sea. A grotto is a cave or a structure like a cave. A mermaid’s grotto is made of colored coral, sea glass, and plants.

Mermaids love their grottos. They take pride in keeping them nice and clean.

Mermaids like to decorate their grotto with different treasures they find under the sea. These treasures include precious gems such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and amethysts. They decorate their grottos with items, including forks, brushes, spoons, and bottles.

Mermaids live in many places around the world.

A mermaid can live in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Southern Ocean. They also can be found in seas such as the Caribbean Sea, Arabian Sea, Medertarrian Sea, South China Sea, Sea of Japan, and the Irish Sea. They also can live in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mermaid Diet

Mermaids eat sea plants, small fish, clams, and oysters.

Legends of Mermaids

Many cultures worldwide have stories or legends of mermaids or human-like sea creatures. In some of those stories, mermaids are portrayed as beautiful sea creatures, and in other stories, mermaids are mischievous.

One of the oldest mermaid stories comes from 1000 BC Assyria. In the story, a beautiful goddess named Atargatis fell in love with a shepherd. She was so sad when she accidentally killed him that she jumped into a lake to become a fish.

The gods of the water felt she was too beautiful to become a whole fish, so the top half of her body stayed human, and the bottom part of her became a fish, and she became a mermaid.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

One of the most famous movies about mermaids is Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In this movie, Ariel falls in love with a human and meets the sea witch Ursula, who offers to help her by trading her voice for legs, it is an interpretation of the Danish folktale of the Little Mermaid.

The Mystery of Melusine

In the French Tale of The Mystery of Melusine, a French count married a beautiful woman that appeared by a fountain. When they married, she requested that a castle be built, and every Saturday, she would go to the castle, where she would spend the day alone, not to be bothered.

She told her husband that if he were to intrude on her privacy on Saturday, they would be separated forever. He listened and never bothered her.

The couple had many sons that looked strange and had deformities. The children grew up to get great men.

Years passed, and the count’s brother told him that people discussed what Melusine did on Saturdays. He told him to spy on her. The count watched her one Saturday and found her splashing around in the bathtub with a large fish tale.

He never told Melusine that he had seen her. Then tragedy struck, and one of his ones killed another. The count blamed Melusine and felt her sons were dead because he knew her secret.

Melusine told the count that now that he knew her secret, she must leave forever. She was never to be seen again.

Mermaid Facts for kids

List of Some Mermaid Folktales 

There are mermaid stories for almost every culture.

Alaskan                                           The Legend of Aymee and the Mermaid
Brazil                                                Iara
North American Indian                   Menana of the Waterfall
Greek                                                The Sea Nymph and the Cyclops
Irish                                                  The Enchanted Cap
Ukrainian                                         Nastasia of the Sea
Nigerian                                          The Fish Husband
Japanese                                        The Serpent and the Sea Queen
English                                            The Mermaid’s Revenge
Chinese                                           The Princess of the Tung Lake
German                                           The Mermaid in the Millpond
Danish                                            The Little Mermaid
New Zealand                                  Pania of the Reef

Top 10 Mermaid Facts for Kids

  1. Mermaids are part human and part fish.
  2. Mermaids need to come to the surface to breathe.
  3. They are friends with dolphins.
  4. Mermaids are mythical creatures.
  5. They have long hair.
  6. Mermaids live in grottos under the sea.
  7. They have beautiful voices.
  8. There are many legends about mermaids.
  9. Sailors blamed mermaids for going off course or crashing.
  10. Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a movie about a mermaid.