Shell Sorting

When I buy something specifically for an activity and spend more than I want to for only one experience, I try to brainstorm other things to use the item for. That is where this idea came from . I bought these shells for the Beach Sensory Tub we made last week, but wanted to use them for something else as well. Sorting is more than just a time filler in preschools , it’s a math lesson about matching, shapes and counting. Using tongs adds in fine motor and hand eye coordination too. I knew my son would like this but he sorted every single one , dumped them back in and did it again! I got my money’s worth out of these shells!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sea shells, a divided platter ( ours is a chip and dip plate from the dollar store) , and some tongs or kiddie chopsticks ! Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  2. Start by placing one of each shell in the divided sections of your platter as a guide for your child.Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  3. Invite them to the table and have them use the tongs to pick up and sort the shells. If this is too frustrating, ditch the tongs and just use their hands.Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  4. Keep going! Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  5. Talk about the shells as you play, we googled sea shells after we finished to look at even more variety of shells .
  6. Celebrate their efforts- if they sorted 4 shells or all !Preschool Shell Sorting Activity

Beach Books

 

One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.
Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!
The Seashore Book
by Charlotte Zolotow is a touching story of a little boy excited to go to the sea for the first time from his mountain home. The mother describes it so well that you will be aching for a trip too! I must admit though that my son and I barely paid attention to the words, we were both so moved by Wendell Minor’s paintings. We couldn’t help but ooh and awe every time we turned the page. My son’s favorite page was the one with the crab, of course!

Fishing Alphabet Game

I think I have made one of these fishing games for every class I have ever taught, my son loves it and it was a huge part of him learning his letters, all while playing!

Beach Sensory Tub

Beach Sensory Tub

My son adores sensory tubs and I love the challenge of finding new fun things to put a theme together. This time it’s all about sun and sand, well around here we have sand but the sun has been a little lacking. Still you don’t need it, you can imagine it with this fun tub. So even if you are landlocked in the middle of the continent enjoy scooping, pouring and finding shells with this great sensory activity.

  1. Gather your materials. I got everything I am using at a bog box store in a little town, so hopefully it’s not a challenge for anyone. Look in the home decor aisle for sand, and pebbles. A plastic dish tub,  2 different types of sand, 1 bag of shells, a beach rake and shovel, some plastic sea animals and large glass beads.Beach Sensory Tub
  2. Start by having your child pour the sand in the tub.Beach Sensory Tub Beach Sensory Tub
  3. Let them explore each step as they desire. My son would have been pleased as punch not to add anything more, and you will see when he starts playing he decided to take everything but the sand out.Beach Sensory Tub
  4. Add the shells.Beach Sensory Tub
  5. Add the pebbles and sea toys.Beach Sensory Tub
  6. Play!Beach Sensory Tub We hid things and he dug them up, then he decided this was a sand only beach and took much time and effort to get everything but the sand out. I even had to get him a sieve to use. Either way he had fun.Beach Sensory Tub

Song!

Need a song to sing today ?
Little Fishy goes with this beach theme.

Beach Books

Otto Goes to the Beach by Todd Parr was a steal of a deal at the Goodwill last week! I got a hardcover in perfect condition for 70 cents. My bargin hunting aside, I really enjoy this book as did my son. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way! In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story 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. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is another great book in the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series. This book is a little long for toddlers but really easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. I read it to my son in parts, and that was perfect for his 2 year old attention span. This book like the others in the series 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.

Beach Books !

Here are some beach books to get you geared up for summer.

“The Seaside Switch” by Kathleen V. Kudlinski is a book packed with information about tides and creatures in the sea. As a child I found nothing more fascinating than a tide pool and all the scurrying crabs and this book captures that. It’s main story is how the tide changes throughout the day and brings with it different animals. The book is too long for most toddlers but my son enjoyed pointing out the animals in the book.


“Just Grandma and Me” by Mercer Mayer is a sweet book. Little Critter and his grandma hit the beach and enjoy an afternoon together. There is something so sweet and touching about this book and the special bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. Mercer Mayer really did a great job at capturing the unique relationship between grand parents and grand children in this book. It also does a good job covering all the beach bases. They swim , play in the sand and have treats. The last page is adorable with Little Critter being carried into his house asleep on his grandma’s shoulder.

 


“The Sandcastle Contest” by Robert Munsch. I gave this book a really bad review last year. While it still isn’t my favorite Munsch book, I am taking back some of what I said. My son grabbed it the other day and after reading it with him ( last year it was over his head) I can honestly say I have had a change of heart. The tantrum the main character has when no one believes him about really making everything from sand was a good teaching tool for my 2.5 year old. We stopped and talked about anger, and deep breaths, and wrecking things when we are mad. I think this book could be a good way for parents to talk about anger and frustration without feeling like you are giving a lecture.

“Otto Goes To The Beach” by Todd Parr was a steal of a deal at the Goodwill last week! I got a hardcover in perfect condition for 70 cents. My bargin hunting aside, I really enjoy this book as did my son. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way! In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!

Scaredy Squirrel : at the beach” by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story 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. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.


“What Lives in a Shell” by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is another great book in the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series. This book is a little long for toddlers but really easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. I read it to my son in parts, and that was perfect for his 2 year old attention span. This book like the others in the series break down facts to a preschoolerslevel 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. 

Put A Lid On It !



Nature Jar!

Toddlers and Preschoolers love to find things, this activity uses that natural curiosity and combines it with some fresh air ! We went to a nearby beach but you can do this at a park, forest or even your own backyard!

  1. Gather your materials. All you need is a glass jar and somewhere to discover nature!
  2. Start finding things to put in your jar. My son thought this clam shell was pretty cool but it was too big! I like to put a layer of sand or grass in first and then put larger things on top. With older children I would set out a mini scavenger hunt ( find 3 rocks, 5 leaves, 4 shells…) , toddlers will have a blast just picking things up and popping them in the jar.
  3. I tried to find all different shells, pointing out what color they were to my son, but he was more interested in rocks! Still I was shocked how well he walked along the beach searching for rocks to pop in!
  4. Keep going until the whining or in our case the rain starts.
  5. Pop the lid on and take the nature home with you to recount your day later!

* Recounting an activity is a great thing to do with your child, it is actually a very important skill and is important for early literacy , so sit down even with toddlers and pull out your jar and talk about what you did at the beach/park !