Magnetic Sandcastle

snadpaper craft for kids Building sandcastles is tough , especially if you don’t live anywhere near a beach. This magnetic sandcastle activity is perfect for you no matter where you live. Not only are kids exploring the texture of the sandpaper they are exploring shapes and how they can work together to create something greater. Another side effect is the storytelling that might pop up like it did with my 4 year old. Her sandcastle was a story. If you don’t have a magnetic surface pick up a cookie sheet like we did for a dollar at Dollar Tree. I buy them 3 at a time.

Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, self adhesive magnetic sheets ( ours came from our friends at craftprojectideas.com ), scissors, a marker, and a magnetic surface. fine motor activity for kids

Start by drawing your shapes on the back of the sandpaper. Be careful thinner sand paper will show the marker through if you use a dark color like I did. A pencil may be a better choice. magnetic sandcastle blocks

Cut them out. magnetic sandcastle activity for kids

Add the magnets to the back. My little helper showed up at this stage wondering what I was up to and helped.

Peeling the backing off of these self adhesive magnets is RAD for little fingers still developing fine motor skills, it is also fantastic for concentration and building patience. fine motor sandcastle activity for kidsWe can’t expect our kids to develop ways to deal with frustration and patience if we never give them opportunities to face them. She got frustrated a few times and I said ” It’s tough, Mama is having a hard time too. ” that was it. If you think the frustration will block the whole activity step in but it’s OK for kids to try hard things and fail.

magnetic sand castle for kids

This zig zag piece was extra but she insisted on using it so we added magnets to it together.

Time to play.  sandcastle magnetic try activityShe was totally into it. I liked to see how carefully she was placing the pieces. ” They are rough on one side but not on the other mama!”  When my children make observations like that is when I jump on and try to add a little bit more of a lesson without breaking up their exploration. If they are silent I generally let them immerse themselves completely.fine motor tray activity for kids sandcastle When a comment like  that is made I might say something like what else feels rough like that? Or Do you like the feeling? Sparking more learning but using their observations as launching pad. sandcastle building tray activity for kids

Her creation was a pool with diving boards for sand fairies.

 

reading lists for kids

 

Need some books to go with this activity? Check out our Beach Books round up. Click here or on the image to be taken to the full round up with complete reviews of each book.

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Sea Glass

beach art

We live by the ocean and while we don’t get sandy beaches or palm trees we do get sea glass. Looking for sea glass on the rocky shore is one of my favorite calm activities and sometimes my kids join in , no matter how small the piece they are little treasures. Searching for it has taught my kids to pay attention to detail, be determined , as well as patience. Of course all those things will take many more years to develop fully but this is a fun way to work on it while they are young. If you don’t have a spot to search for sea glass you can buy it from craft stores and online.  Painting sea glass is a great way to think out of the box for different canvases, recycle , and even work on those oh so important…fine motor skills.

Gather your materials. You will need some sea glass, paint that works on glass, a few paper plates, and paint brushes. One of my best toddler art tips is for parents to use big brushes that can cover big spaces for toddlers but in this case do the exact opposite. Use the smallest brushes you have because one of the great benefits to painting on small areas is developing fine motor skills while you get creative. sea glass painting fine motor painting

Start by putting a little bit of each color you are using on a paper plate. You can absolutely use a reusable plate but the paints are not washable and I find it much easier and ultimately less wasteful ( of water) to use a paper plate I can roll up and ditch at the end of the activity. sea glass painting art ideas for kids

Take time feel the glass and to talk about how sea glass is made. Why it is so smooth unlike freshly broken glass, why it’s frosted, and if you have any memories to share about finding it. exploring sea glass with preschoolers

Time to paint. There is no wrong way to do this. Paint one side, paint both sides… just have fun getting creative with a new sort of canvas. painting sea glass outside summer activity

She loved it and needed zero direction. painting beach sea glassInstead we chatted about colors, and what we thought the glass used to be , and if there is more than one Santa to deliver all the gifts. My daughter is random like that and I love conversations over art, it’s easily my favorite way to chat especially with such an interesting partner in crime. painting sea glass summer art for kids

Once they are done pop the plate into the sun to dry. Our paint dried while we made words with stamps and playdough. painting sea glass fine motor art idea

reading lists for kids

Check out our collection of books we love about the beach. See the full list here.

Beach Themed Activities

beach activity daycare It’s summer… well it will be in a few days and I am ready to go to the beach! We are heading to the beach later this summer but until then we will have to create our own beach with these beach themed activities.  I have never blogged about it but one of my favorite and simple as can be beach themed activities is to paint shells.

shell crafts for kids

Grab some shells, water colors , paper towels, and paint! After you do that check out the ideas below for more fun.

beach activities

Shell Picture Frame
Paper Plate Sun
Beach Sensory Tub

math games for kids shell memory game
Shell Memory Math Game
Mermaids
Sea Urchin

Shell Sorting
Shell Sorting
Paper Plate Crab
{Safe} Beach Glass Sensory Play

star fish craft
Bubble Wrap Starfish
Sandpaper Sun
Shell Letters

ocean themed crafts
Paper Bag Jellyfish
Beach In A Jar

 

What is your favorite beach activity?

Shell Letters – Alphabet Activity

learning activity letter formationThe beach and playdough are two of our very favorite things. Put them together and you have the perfect tactile summer letter activity. My daughter has been able to recognize her letters for a long time as well as their sounds but forming those letters is still something we are working on often. This alphabet activity combines textures to make creating letters truly hands on.  As you will see after the initial activity she modified it for more play while I sat back and marveled at how quickly she went from a baby to a child… some days you just need to stare at them don’t you?

Gather your materials. You will need some shells, playdough, a cutting board or other playdough friendly surface, card stock, marker, some fun containers and a little letter engineer ready to explore.shell letters letter recognition for kids

I made little letter cards and since our shells were so rigid I only wrote out letters with straight lines like A, E, F, K, etc…beach shell letters

Start by setting things up. When I make an invitation to learn like this I usually have it set up so she knows what to do and then let her explore with out me interjecting. In a classroom I would have this set out on a table and allow the students to come and go ( or not come and go) as they pleased.shell letter cards

First she pressed the playdough down into a flat surface.shell playdough letters

Then she dove right in using the shells to create letters that matched the cards.making letters with shells and playdough

Some took more planning than others.thinking sabout how to do it shell letters

Then she changed things up and started using the shells to write in the playdough. writing with shellsAs the play shifts encourage the exploration. Activities like this are invitations and when they start exploring like this please don’t stop them. She was still learning and having fun even if she wasn’t still doing the planned activity. That is not a bad thing, roll with their discovery! shell letters explore

 

 

 Books About The Beach

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At-The-Beach-

At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell .A little girl visits the beach with her mom. She plays in the sand, hunts for shells, takes a swim before she settles in to a nice beach lunch. A visit to the beach can be a full day and this story gives the reader a great description of what to expect. This is great for young kids who haven’t been to the beach. It explains using a young girl’s point of view what you bring to beach and what you can expect to do once you’re there. The illustrations are muted and warm and fill the page and included our young red-haired beach girl enjoying herself in each one.

squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt is hilarious, I actually snorted while reading it. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in with a great story. Before you even start flipping pages on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

what lives in a shell?

What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is great book in my favorite science series the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out . This book is a little long for toddlers but really great for preschoolers and easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. Like the others in the series this book break down facts to a preschoolers level without loosing any substance. If you are looking for a non fiction book for your little one, you must check out this series, they are hands down my favorite non fiction for young children.

Math Games { Shell Memory }

math games for kids shell memory gameWe live on an island and while we don’t get to walk on sandy beaches ( ours are more like barnacle beaches ) we do have lots of shells and the summer is often filled with discovering them along the shore. This math game taps into that experience while also working on memory and number recognition.  Using math games to teach is a great way for parents to connect to what kids are learning and become participants not just observers. This math game was a snap to put together with shells from the craft store. I caution you to check all the shells in a package for sharp edges before letting your kids play with them, some of ours were broken and really sharp.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shells, a sharpie, a tray or something else that will keep the shells contained. I used a sheet of paper towel to keep the shells from sliding on the tray too.
  2. Write a pair of number names along with the numeral on shells. We did 1- 10 but you can do any combination of numbers using only the numeral or number written out. math games with shells
  3. Let the marker dry for a few minutes before playing.
  4. Arranged the shells face down in random order.math games for kids shell game
  5. Play. math games for kids shell game for 3 year oldsOne player flips a shell and leaves it face up, then flips another. If they match they leave them face up and the other player goes. If they do not match both shells are flipped back over and you start from scratch. You can also play one player like this. With discovery based math games like this you will probably notice that your child will naturally identify the numbers without prompting. If they don’t feel free to say “What did you find?” If they know number they will identify it if they don’t they will probably hold it out and say “This.” That’s when you step in and say ” Look you found 4 !” or something else easy breezy that still gives them the facts without making it feel like you are telling them something they should already know. math games

After we played a few rounds my daughter discovered that if she shook the tray gently that they shells made a really pretty tinkling sound.

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Need some books to go along with this beach themed activity? Click here to see the reviews for the books below.

reading lists for kids