Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Seashells, Seashells

on August 9, 2012

We’ve spent today exploring seashells, much to the delight of both girls. Little Bear loves to explore nature of any kind, and Baby Bear was overjoyed to be able to handle the shells (large enough not to be a choking hazard) just like her big sister.

The girls began the day with free play. We had one large scallop shell, so the girls enjoyed piling it high with other shells. Little Bear carefully counted, stacked, and balanced them, trying each time to beat her previous record for number of shells stacked. Baby Bear simply enjoyed playing a classic fill-and-spill game, piling a handful of smaller shells onto the scallop shell, then lifting it up high and cackling with delight as they clattered to the floor.

Stacking shells …

Smallest to largest

Moving on to more formal learning, we sorted the shells into groups of similar shells, then read What Lives in a Shell? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) and matched shells with the animals that previously inhabited them.

We sorted them by size, sorted them by color, grouped them by 5s and skip-counted to 25, and used them to solve simple addition problems. We paused to read A House for Hermit Crab, then used the shells to create subtraction story problems. Little Bear’s contribution? “There were three pretty shells on the beach, but a hermit crab came along looking for a new home. He moved into one of them and ran back into the water. How many {shells} were left?”

Of course, Little Bear also wanted to “make things” with the shells, so she formed shapes, formed letters, and tried spelling out her name. She ran out of shells on the second letter of her name, so I introduced the concept of initials, and she settled on forming her initials instead.

Little Bear and I took a break and hit the pool while Baby Bear napped. Then, we headed back in the house for drinks, snacks, and more reading time. We sat down with a stack of five beach- and ocean-themed books, of which Little Bear’s favorite was On the Beach (Usborne Lift-the-Flap). Reading, however, took a bit longer than planned. Baby Bear has now figured out the story time routine, so she makes sure to insert one of her favorites after each of Mommy’s selections. (How many times can one read Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? and Peekaboo Farm in a single day?)

After story time, we headed back outside for active play with friends, then back in for some quieter play. By 8:30, sleep had claimed Little Bear. Baby Bear, however, was still going strong and wanted to play with the shells yet again. This time, she dumped the basket of shells, examined them one by one, put them back in the basket, and dumped again. This game continued until I held a shell up to her ear. She clapped her hands, grabbed the shell and tried to do it herself, then tried to listen to two shells at the same time:

Listening to the “ocean” …

Both girls are now asleep, the shells have been picked up one last time, and pirates are on the plan for tomorrow. I suspect that little basket of shells will see much more use in the days and week ahead, however, whether for “school” or play.


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