Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seashore Souvenir Photo Frame

Creative Project Wednesday

No day at the beach is complete before taking a walk at low tide to gather shells, sea glass, drift wood, and smooth pebbles with the kids. After arriving home from a day at the shore, help the kids create a photo frame of the treasures they gathered seaside. We simply cut out a photo frame from cardboard of a cereal box, then glued my little one's favorite special catches of the day to make a souvenir of her day spent at the ocean.

You Will Need:

1. Cheap flat photo frame in a sand color (or cardboard and sharp scissors or razor blade)
2. Treasures from seashore such as shells, sea glass, drift wood, and pebbles (don't forget the beach badge)
3. White glue
4. Paint brush
5. Disposable cup
6. Plastic bag

What to Do:

1. If you cannot purchase an inexpensive, flat photo frame from the store, cut out a photo frame from cardboard you can find in the family recycling bin. To make a homemade frame, trace a square on the cardboard. Then trace the same shape on the cardboard again to make to squares touching that will make a rectangle. The line connecting the two squares will bend to make the photo frame stand once the project is complete.

2. Cut out the rectangle with a sharp scissor or razor blade. Then cut out a hole from the front square of the photo frame so you can glue a photo to the back of it when the project is complete. Leave at least one-inch border around the photo frame since you need space to glue shells and sea glass tot he frame. I used a sharp scissor to cut out the inside hole of the frame to slip the photo into the frame.

3. Place a piece of plastic or a plastic bag under the store bought frame, or homemade frame, so that if any glue drips the frame won't stick to the work surface.

4. Pour plenty of white glue into a disposable cup. Help the kids use paint brushes to slather on heaps of glue onto the frame and shells when pasting the sea side treasures to the frame. The glue will dry clear so use enough to keep the seashore prizes secure.

5. Let the frame dry for a day. After it is completely dry slide in a photo of the child from the day spent at the beach. Simply paste the photo to the frame if using a homemade frame.

Projects and photos by Stephanie Felzenberg

Saturday, July 26, 2014

5 Best Beach Books for Preschoolers

Weekly Trip to the Library

Sea, Sand, Me!

This sweet tale from Patricia Hubbell with illustrations by Lisa Campbell Ernst chronicles a little girl’s day at the beach, complete with exploring, sand castles, and seaweed. I first borrowed this book two years ago to familiarize my two-year-old charge about the beach and we continue to borrow it from the library because she still loves the book. The illustrations are incredible and we love the book. It's a great way to prepare preschoolers to visit the beach.

A Day at the Seashore (Little Golden Book)

Who doesn't love Little Golden Books? This book is cute and it's signature of a time in the 1950s. Something so simple as a day at the beach becomes a time of wonder and education for our little ones. This book captures the salty air, the chatter of happy children, the rush of the waves hitting the shore then whooshing back out to sea as this story follows a family’s day at the beach. It is beautifully illustrated, sweetly worded, and an innocent classic. Very appropriate for preschoolers who visit the coast or in preparation for their first-time visit or the beach.

Mister Seahorse

This is one of my very favorite books from Eric Carle. It's amazing to learn how fathers care for their babies. When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse's belly. She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets other underwater fathers caring for their babies. The glimmering colors and the transparency overlays of the illustrations are beautiful. My favorite page is the last one as Mr. Seahorse releases his babies with love and points out that it's time for the little ones to be on their own. Preschoolers adore this book. You can use this seahorse template along with watercolor paints to create your very own seahorse craft. Don’t miss A House for Hermit Crab for more beach themed fun.

What Lives in a Shell?

This is a wonderful book that takes shell collecting to a greater depth. As you show a shell collection, use this book to illustrate to the children what used to live in a particular type of shell. This book teaches about the housing of snails, turtles, and some crustaceans and mollusks. The softly toned watercolor illustrations amplify the text and show children in different settings observing various shelled creatures. The transient nature of the hermit crab is described, as is the scallop's shell-snapping mode of mobility. The kids will learn about how shells are homes, much like our houses.

Beach Day

I read this book by Karen Roosa each summer before taking the little kids in my care to the beach. Maggie Smith's delightful, detailed watercolors captures the children's imaginations and inspire them to look at the book over and over. Karen Roosa's poetic text captures the essence of a day at the beach with lines such as "Waves roar, rush and soar, rolling crashing to the shore" and "Noon light, shimmers bright, in the distance, hot and white". This is a perfect read-aloud book, the spirited text will keep young listeners captivated and begging for many readings. Use this book to get kids excited to find their sand toys, pack snacks, and splash in the water.

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

Need to work on counting skills with your little ones? Do it in ocean style with Marianne Befkes book! If you can pull yourself away from the polymer clay creations by Jeanette Canyon that grace the pages, you can encourage the children to count the pufferfish, gruntfish and seahorses they find. This book consists of 11 verses of engaging rhyme in the same form as "Over in the Meadow" using fish and other sea animals instead of meadow animals. A new sea creature is introduced on every 2-page spread in quantities from one to 10.