Whether you live near a beach or in the middle of the country; whether it is winter or summer its always fun at the beach.
If you are close enough, a trip to the beach can be an adventure even in winter. Be sure to dress warmly and have fun exploring without the crowds. Look for shells, seaweed, driftwood, anything left behind by the ocean waves. If you are a regular visitor in the summer, compare the beach in winter.
Collect some treasures to take home and make a shadow box or collage.
Use shells for counting and basic math practice. (i.e. "If I have 5 shells and a wave comes and takes 1 away how many are left?")
Collect a small amount of ocean water in a jar with a tight lid. When you get home, do the following simple experiment to discover the difference between salt water and fresh water:
Half fill a glass with ocean water and another glass with fresh water. Set aside for a day or two and talk about what you observe. Ask, "Why do you think God made salt and fresh water?"
If there's no beach nearby (or anytime you just want to have some beach fun) there are still plenty of things to do:
Use a blue sheet or tablecloth as the "water". Play with a beachball, sit on beach towels and play a CD with ocean and/or beach sounds. Have lunch or snack "at the seashore". Invite some friends over and have a beach party!
Can you say "She sells seashells at the seashore" 5 times fast?!
Sing "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" or "Down by the Sea" or "By the Sea, By the Sea" (you can find lyrics to most songs online by searching for "song lyrics").
Fill a tub with clean sand. Hide small shells or small sea creatures (crabs, starfish, etc. found at a dollar store or inexpensive variety store). Search in the sand with tablespoons and put the "treasures" in a sandpail.
Make sponge pictures: Dip a fish-shaped (or other beach theme) sponge in tempra paint or finger paint and print onto light blue construction paper.
Make a starfish on the beach: Spread a layer of glue over a piece of light blue construction paper. Sprinkle clean sand lightly over the glue and gently shake off the excess. Glue a starfish "on the beach" (a small plastic one from the dollar store, a picture or even just the word "starfish" on a star-shaped piece of cardstock). Glue small pasta shells "on the beach" too. (Let this artwork dry thoroughly before picking it up)
Hint: To make a template you can use over and over, find a starfish picture in a children's coloringbook (or online by searching for "preschool coloring pages"). It should be a large basic shape that is not touching any other part of a picture. Tear or cut out the page (or make a photocopy). Cut around the shape leaving some excess for the next step and glue onto cardstock (it is important to glue firmly and thoroughly). Allow the glue to dry then cut out the exact shape along with the cardstock which will give you the template.
Read about the seashore. Books and magazine articles, both fiction stories and nonfiction facts, can be found at your local library.
Cuddle up with a good book before bedtime or read a book then use the story or facts to spur your creativity and make something that connects to the story.
Here are some good books that should be available at your local library:
Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan
A Walk by the Seashore by Caroline Arnold
At Home in the Tide Pool by Alexandra Wright
Katie and Kit at the Beach by Tomie dePaola
Beach by Elisha Cooper
Beachcombing: Exploring the Seashore by Jim Aronsky
(and many more)
Kids love to spend time with the adults in their lives. Take advantage of your time together to discover something new and have fun too. These are just a few suggestions that will get both of you away from the TV, computer, video games and iPods. Use your imagination and come up with other old fashioned ways to spend time together.