My family recently went on our family vacation to the beach...with the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Such fun times! I love the beach immensely...so much so, that it’s the only time I have to fight back tears upon realizing when the week is over we are heading home.
When we are home, I love anything that reminds me of the ocean...calming colors, additions to our seashell collection, and letting my boys continue to play with their “beach toys” - buckets, shovels, and their findings. Who says they have to be stowed away until the next trip?!
This week I’ll share a few ideas that will keep your mind in sand even if aren’t close to the waters.
We have SEVERAL buckets at our house. Different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some with broken handles :)....those don’t make it back to the beach since they aren’t the easiest to transport...but they are still good for something! One game we have played with our buckets is like the old “Grand Prize Game” from the Bozo Show (did anyone else love watching that part of the show as much as I did as a kid?). Anyway, in case you aren’t familiar with the game, you line up buckets and standing a few inches from the first one, you take turns tossing a ping-pong ball into each successive bucket. Simple enough game, but the little guys seem to enjoy it.
You can also use your buckets for collecting treasures around the yard for for water transfer activities (which can surprisingly entertain toddlers for quite some time). Buckets are also great when you don’t have room or patience for even a kiddie pool.
If you visit a shelly beach or a pebbly beach (which I have grown quite fond of in recent years), be sure to collect a few on each trip. It’s a great way to preserve memories of your vacation, to expand a sensory table or basket, or to use for future crafts and activities. I don’t know what we’re gonna do with all the shells and stones we have collected just in the last 5 years much less as the boys grow up and the collections expand! (Suggestions please)
Don’t just look for the ones you consider “keepers”, either. Broken or worn down shells can be great for art projects, too!
Last year, we painted shells, just for fun. Some of them we used as ornaments for grandparents who came with us on the trip. You can “google” phrases like "seashell art and crafts” and find all sorts of novel and sometimes silly things to do with them! I hope to introduce some of these crafts to my boys this summer.
I’ve noticed that we often have many of the same type of shell depending on the beach we visit. Use it as an opportunity to sort shells by shapes, colors, or sizes.
Chasing Cheerios' blog also has some great ideas for sea shell activities. The shell necklace would be great for those shells that already have holes in them. :)
While you are at the beach, don’t forget to bring home some sand as well. I don’t mean like a truckload (you’d probably get caught). Just a few baggies worth. Sand feels so wonderful between little fingers...and apparently wet sand is great on bellies...
You can use the sand to draw in the sand at home (practicing letters and numbers) or to bury small treasures or the shells you’ve found.
One of my friends and Roof reader (Leighann) share a few fun ideas with me recently - beach in a bottle and beach in a bag. Both activities involve putting sand, shells, toy sea animals, and perhaps water, glitter, and blue food coloring in a container to create your own beach environment. We really enjoyed making ours!
I also came across another beach in a bag sensory activity that I hope to do this week (posting pictures and updating the blog later, too).
I also remember doing another ocean in a bottle activity with some under age 4 kids several years ago. You use a bottle, water, oil, and glitter to create an miniature ocean wave experience.
EverythingPreschool.com has SEVERAL suggestions for beach related games and activities that you’ll want to check out as well.
Are you totally bummed out now because you don’t live near a beach? Don’t sweat it! I’ve found plenty of colored sand as well as shells or pebbles in a basket at places like the Dollar Store or at craft stores. Even if you or your little one haven’t visited a beach, you can still get in on the fun!
I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the suggested activities for Summer Time fun that we’ve explored over the last month! Please share any other ideas you have or links you love.