Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sand Dollars and Seashells (beach play in a Midwest Winter)

 I know it has been forever since I last made a post! I hope to be able to try and keep up, but sometimes I get caught up in other things, and forget to take pictures of activities, or to post about them! Nebraska has been blessed with a fairly mild winter(only two big snows so far, and a few other days of flurries, but mostly temps in the mid to upper 40's, and sometimes in the 50's). Even so, I find the boys and I suffering from Cabin Fever.
 Over Christmas, I had the pleasure of flying to Virginia, and spending 10 days with my sister and her Kiddos. When I asked Conrad what he wanted me to bring back for him, He said Seashells. Since my sister lives near Virginia beach, I made her take me there, and we perused the shops(a lot of which were closed due to it being off season.) One shop we stopped at had some fun Shells, and Sand dollars, and even a bin full of tiny shells to fill bags with. I brought home several different shells, and two little bags full of baby shells.

When I got back to work, and let Conrad open his carefully wrapped sand dollar, the first thing he asked was "Can I paint it?" Why not? I thought. It is after all white...and it would be a great way for him to explore the sand dollar. It turns out, a Sand dollar is the perfect canvas for watercolor paints! (side note, Watercolors have always been one of my favorite ways to create). I painted the boys' names on their sand dollars, and then set the paints out, and let the boys create and explore! The following pictures are what came of this activity!

Conrad was full of questions as he painted. He asked about the holes on the Sand dollar. He looked at the other side of the sand dollar, and then held it up to the light to notice the tiny holes on top. This project was not only an art project (and one that is displayed nicely in each of the boys' rooms), but it was also a fun science project, causing Conrad to ask questions, and explore a little more into something we don't have in Nebraska.
While we are on the subject of Living in Nebraska, Obviously there are no Oceans, and No true beaches (Lake beaches just aren't the same as ocean beaches, Just saying), So the idea of seashells for Conrad was exciting. I decided to dump them into a sensory bin, and see where that took him. The following pictures are the results of his explorations.

Conrad first decided to sort the shells into big and little. Next he tried to decide what kind of animals lived in each of the bigger shells. After he had finished that, he organized the little ones by colors. Finally, he just took time to explore and play with them. He put some up to his ears to "hear the ocean". He filled the bigger shells with little shells. He gave the shells names, and then told me the tiny shells were babies, and the big shells were their moms and dads. It was quite enjoyable to watch him learn, play and explore something that some of us have seen many times. Something as simple as a shell can be so unique, and beautiful, and makes a great learning toy! :)

The next day, while Conrad was working on another project, I decided to let Reece explore the shells, and see what he did with them. The following photos are the results of his exploration! :)

 The first thing Reece did, was hold one of the shells to his ear. He then proceeded to hold each one to his ear, with a big smile on his face. He also handed them to me, and tried to put them to my ears to listen.

Next, He smelled the different shells. He also tried to lick several of them(you could see some of the salt on them, even though they had been cleaned, and I am sure he could taste it). Finally he started to tap different shells together to make different sounds. He really enjoyed exploring the shells, and just as with his brother, I got joy out of watching him explore the shells. Seeing something through a child's eye can be a totally new experience.