Friday, July 12, 2013

A Week at the Beach

Fun at the Beach

This week was our recovery vacation after our Disney/Universal "vacation." My husband had to go back to work, but M and I were lucky enough to continue on to the beach. We were all pretty exhausted from our marathon week in Orlando, so we spent most of the week trying to relax.

There was quite a bit of TV and movie watching this week. We did stumble
upon a few interesting episodes, like The Cat in the Hat exploring outer space.

World Around Me

There is so much to learn at the beach! We spent a lot of time beachcombing and collected shark teeth and lots of different kinds of shells.

We talked about ocean tides and currents as we swam and jumped the waves. We also talked about how her life vest helps her float in the ocean, and about how lifeguards help people at the beach by watching for dangers and warning swimmers by changing the color of their flag.

We explored the different types of sand - dry sand, wet sand, fine sand that feels good on your toes, and sand with lots of shells that can hurt your toes.

We built sand castles, dug and filled moats, and decorated our castles with shells, rocks and sticks (and even a crab!). We observed how the sand absorbs water (and why we couldn't keep our moat filled up), and how wet sand sticks together and makes better sand castles.

She learned how to collect water from the ocean in her bucket so she could wash off her hands and feet. 

And she watched what happened to the water when she poured it on the sand.

We also pretended to be mermaids in the pool (see our mermaid fins?), and realized that it is much easier to walk with legs! (Interestingly, it is also much easier to swim with legs than it is with a pretend mermaid fin....)


We, of course, read books this week. I did check out some library books about the ocean and ocean animals before we left on vacation, but she hasn't shown much interest in most of them. Her favorites this week have been "The Bears' Vacation" by Stan and Jan Berenstain, "The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor" by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, "The Coughing Catfish" by San and Jan Berenstain, "Father Bear Comes Home" by Else Holmelund Minarik (Illustrated by Maurice Sendak), and "Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers" by David McLimans. 

I like the Magic School Bus books because they have a story line, but also have extra information on the sides of the page, so I can give M more detail if she is interested. She liked seeing all of the pictures of different types of fish, especially these fish that live on the dark ocean floor. 

In addition to reading, we collected a bunch of flat, smooth shells to make a movable alphabet. I have been reading about Montessori programs, and thought it would be fun to make our own movable alphabet with found objects. M liked spelling her name and singing the alphabet song as we put them in order.

Unfortunately, I was too busy putting the rest of the stickers on the shells to take pictures of her playing with them, but they turned out well. I got the sheets of stickers (above) from the dollar section at Target, and they are sticking pretty well so far (I got plenty so I can replace them as needed). 


We have been practicing counting and recognizing numbers lately. "Gone Fishing: Ocean Life by the Numbers" by David McLimans is nice because each page has a different number with information about a sea creature, so it's a different way to see numbers. M wasn't all that interested in the facts they gave about each animal (habitat, threats, endangered status), but liked looking at the illustrations.

I also found Dr. Seuss Match & Go Fish cards in the Target dollar section, and that was a big hit! I was surprised that M really got the idea of Go Fish, and played through an entire game with me. After we played, I shuffled the cards and put them all face down for a memory matching game (she has been playing something similar on my phone, so she already understood the concept). I like that the cards have the numeral as well as the corresponding number of pictures so she could count them. Each pair of cards has a unique image (Cat in the Hat, Sally, birthday cakes, fish, etc.), so it's easy to find the matches and work on sorting as well.

Art and Music

I didn't plan many activities for this week because I wanted M to be able to relax and enjoy the beach on her own terms. We did a few "paint with water" sheets, built and played with her Little Mermaid Duplo set, and obviously built and decorated sand castles. I found a few beach coloring sheets, but M wasn't really interested. I have a few ideas for next week though.... stay tuned :)

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