Bringing the Beach Home- 3 Fun Ways To Add an Educational Twist to a Favorite Summer Pastime

Summertime weather provides many fun options for where to take your kids to enjoy the day. Perhaps the most popular option, the beach is a fun place to relax and get away from it all. While you are enjoying the sun and sand with your kid, make sure to throw a few items in a bucket to take home for educational purposes. For example, seashells are a great tool that can be used for fine motor development along with math and literacy activities. Here are some learning activities that can be modified to fit your child’s needs:

Option #1: Dig It! Become Your Own Archaeologist and Make Play Doh Fossils

Materials- sea shells, play doh, glitter

Kids love exploring and play doh is an all-time favorite. By adding seashells into the mix with the playdoh, many different ‘fossils’ can be created. This allows the opportunity to discuss different sizes and shapes. Some of the questions you may want to consider posing while the fossils are being created include…

Which shells are bigger? The biggest?

What shape does each shell resemble?

Which ones are small, medium, and large?

How many different seashell shapes can you find?

Then have your child(ren) imprint the seashells to form their own fossils. Adding glitter at the end is a nice finishing touch.

Option #2: Follow the Pattern-

Make your own seashell imprints and patterns

Materials- seashells, paint, baskets

Getting messy is always a good time so using paint to dip seashells in is a must. Set up a table with a basket full of seashells and 4 different paint colors to dip them into. Then have your child(ren) create their own pattern to duplicate on the paper. It is important that you allow them to create their own pattern rather than dictating the pattern to them. This will allow them to cognitively differentiate between different patterns and fully grasp the concept that a pattern repeats itself.

By stamping the patterns on paper, all sorts of different artwork options become possibilities. Once the pattern has been decided upon, the way in which it can be created can help enhance the learning experience. Some possibilities for how the pattern can be displayed on paper include:

Straight line- continue the pattern in multiple rows, one after the other

Swirl- create the pattern from the inside out creating what looks like a ‘swirl’ ‘tornado’ or circle that extends outwards as the pattern continues.

Waves- create an ocean style wave in wiggly lines across the paper with your patterns.

Regardless of what the pattern or format is, display your child’s artwork around the house or perhaps create a ‘summer scrapbook’ with these patterns for your child(ren) to bring back to school and share their hard work with their classmates.

Option #3 See Shells by the Seashore- Create your own seashell sight words

Materials: sharpies, tape, plastic trays, seashells

Back to reality unfortunately; summer is almost over and the school year is about to begin. Might as well help your child(ren) get back to their routine with spelling out sight words and high frequency words that they will be using a lot during the school year.

This can be accomplished in a fun and exciting way using seashells.

Step 1: use tape to place letters on each seashell.

Step 2: hide seashells all around your house or living space.

Step 3: place trays on table with missing letter spaces for sight words.

Finding many different sight words is key to your child(ren)’s language and literacy development. Sight words are those that need to be memorized and cannot necessarily be sounded out. They will come up often in early independent reading and are therefore important to learn at an early age.

Creating a fun scavenger hunt in order to find the letters associated with these words adds a sense of adventure that helps your kid become intrinsically motivated to learn. Once each tray is completely filled, celebrate with a trip to the library to check out a book of their choice to further prepare for the school year.

Hopefully when the school bell rings on the first day, your kids are back in the groove and ready for a busy year ahead!

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