Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ocean learning (for the love of sharks)


Over the summer my little ones wanted to spend some time exploring and learning about our oceans. Child-led learning is always the best way to go so I jumped at the chance. I planned on just doing this for a week but once we started we just couldn't stop and it carried on for a good chunk of the summer. I have way too many photographs to share so I tried to narrow it down a bit to make it a bit less overwhelming (I hope!) I have a few more to share later in the week which include an ocean themed knitting project.

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We did some ocean themed baking by using my Grandma's Christmas cookie recipe to make sand dollar cookies. We just rolled out the dough and used jar lids to cut out circles. Then we pressed almond slices on top and used a fork to create the holes around the edges.

IMG_3998 jellyfish IMG_4028 jellyfish! IMG_4089

Then there were jellyfish! Project found here. We used to see jellyfish all the time at the beaches in Virginia. K was even stung by some on a couple of occasions but she has no memory of any of that. On a side note - Can you believe K still fits into her little red riding hood cape from three years ago?!


Kevin got the little ones some creatures that grew in water. Notice K's notes behind the jar keeping track of the crab's size and the time and date of when we put them in the water.

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Simple painting. I drew some dolphins, sharks and whales and then they painted them however they wanted. We normally don't do any kind of coloring books, etc. with them so this was a novelty.

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Ice eggs. The spoons lasted all of two minutes then they just started picking them up and throwing them onto the concrete.

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We found lots of great ideas in this book, that I just happened to spot at our local library, including the origami whale you see above.

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We referenced a few back issues of Alphabet Glue not only for fun activities such as the acorn boats and wave in a bottle you see above, but also for their recommended books. They always have the best book lists for themes like this. On a side note - we discovered when making the wave in a bottle that it is best to use oil that hasn't gone rancid *ahem*. Our first try was a failure because the oil we had was probably sitting in our cupboard for years. I guess that's what happens when you don't really cook with it! We tried again with a brand new bottle and it worked wonderfully!


The book Manfish is a personal favorite of mine as it is about one of my childhood heroes. We also enjoyed reading Dolphin's Big Adventure, In the Land of Merfolk, My Life with the wave, Harry by the Sea and an assortment of books on sharks. If you didn't already know - sharks have been my favorite animals since I was little. I even planned on becoming an oceanographer to study them more when I attended college. My love for them started when my family and I were on vacation in Florida and I saw the movie Jaws for the first time. My Mom told me that I sat there watching the credits to see who played Jaws in the movie and then I searched for him at the beaches and pools. Yeah, I know most people were scared from going near water after seeing that movie but somehow or other it had the opposite effect on me!

shark love shark teeth necklaces for my children

Speaking of sharks. I used to collect shark teeth when I was younger and have quite the collection now so I thought I would put a few of them to good use and make my children necklaces. I just twisted wire around the teeth and added a loop on top, then threaded hemp cord through the wire loop. Easy peasy. I have hope to teach my children to understand how important sharks are to the world, to love and respect them and not fear them. Most books I find portray them as monsters, which disappoints me to no end. (I even had to edit the sticker books you see above when I read them to my children)  Do any of you happen to have an suggestions for children's books on sharks?

There you have it!  Our weeks of ocean learning in a nutshell. I can't wait to see what sparks my children's interest next!

p.s - If you're interested in learning more about my passion for sharks, wanting more information about how important sharks are to our survival, or just looking for something to watch check out Sharkwater (link will take you to the full documentary.) Rob is a hero in my book (and I swear he must be my long lost brother.)

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