Yes, I realize that were in the middle of Winter.
But all the more reason, I say!
Sometimes we can go a bit stir crazy spending so much time indoors,
playing the same games, finishing up the same puzzles,
and coloring the same coloring books.
Sometimes it’s fun just to have a completely NEW activity to keep us busy.
During these times I usually slip on my heavy socks
and head out to the garage in search of a long lost treasure.
Well, this wintery week I re-found our gigantic box of shells!
(Here in the photo they are in a nicely ventilated mesh bag, which is how they came when I bought them. BUT over the last year I have been storing them in a tightly sealed rubbermaid…….just keep this in mind as you read)
What a find! I was so excited.
Monkey is at the perfect level to begin sorting shells,
and I began to grow giddy inside thinking of all the hours he would spend enjoying this activity. Hours NOT SPENT jumping on the couch, flying through the screen door, or turning my kitchen drawers into his on personal step stool system.
And then I figured that while he was so busy with the shells,
I might have some time to sip a latte and catch on my latest kindle freebie.
So I brought the rubbermaid into the house, gathered all the children around the kitchen table and announced that I had something REALLY FUN to do today!!
And here is where I will just share a little tip: When you pack away your garage treasures for the year, be sure that you put them in whilst they are COMPLETELY DRY. If you mistakenly put them away wet…..you run the risk of opening them up the following year to find an obnoxiously foul smelling rotten starfish.
NO I DID NOT TAKE A PICTURE FOR YOU.
And even though my children were really excited about the extremely disgusting rotten starfish, I kept picturing (and smelling) mold spores invading our little lungs so I promptly announced that we are going to watch CARTOONS TODAY!
While they watched, I scrubbed.
And after a few rounds of bleach, we were again ready to play with our seashells.
And we sorted and sorted to our hearts content.
We marveled at all of the beautiful colors, patterns and designs that God has created.
Natural Learning was going good.
And then came the questions.
Like, “What’s this one called Mom?” and, “Oh! This one is really pretty, what’s the name of this kind of shell Mom?” and, “Mom, how come you don’t know the name of any of these shells?”
So off to google we went and spent HOURS researching all sorts of different seashells. Not only was it difficult identifying the shells that we had, but sometimes one website would call it by three different names. We almost gave up completely…. but eventually settled on what we thought was the best name for each of the shells. And then (so we’d remember) I made some fun printables to go alongside them.
(Just in case you missed that little hidden confession I’ll spell it out for you here: I could be COMPLETELY WRONG about the names of these shells…..but they wouldn’t stop hounding me for names…..I had to do SOMETHING! Feel free to change the names around to whatever you like)
So anyway, after an ENTIRE day spent preparing this activity,
(a day in which my children were enthralled by seashell research)
we finally got to actually spend time sorting the shells:
At first I thought….what a mess of a lesson.
Did it really take ALL DAY to get to this point.
But then I remembered that learning to love learning is probably a more important lesson anyway.
And today was Child-led learning at it’s finest, So
I suppose my kindle can wait till tomorrow. :)
Click Here for our SeaShell Printables
Here are some related activities we’ve done over the years: