I am most certain that I was meant to live by the sea. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to make that happen yet and haven't even gotten to a beach in years. As such, I brought the "sea and beach" to us with a unit named "By the Seashore" for little Zahavah.
Learning Ressources' Jumbo Ocean Animals
No fish here sadly (and strangely if you ask me) but still a nice variety. Whale, dolphin, octopus, seal, tiger shark and turtle though. By day 2, Z already could show me which was was which so she learned these quickly. (On the first day, she already knew "turtle" and learned "octopus" right after.) To reinforce the name after presentation, I scattered 3 animals and asked Z, "Where's octopus?"She quickly mastered the three animals and the rest were reinforced the same way the day after. She also quite enjoyed watching 30sec. videos of each animal on YouTube (the seal playing ball and dolphin playing with bubble rings were the biggest hit). She is now getting to pronouncing the name of each creature.
Melissa & Doug's Ocean Life Jumbo Knobs Puzzle
Melissa & Doug's puzzles are all awesome to me. For toddlers, I especially like the jumbo knobbed ones like the one pictured above. It's only three pieces and they are quite big ones at that but it can still require a lot of patience and coordination for a toddler.
Scooping starfish with a net
A favorite. Most toddlers love to play in the water and mine is no exception. I had intended on presenting this tub outside in the yard but due to sudden weather changes, I had to revise my plans and present it inside on the tiled kitchen floor. If you are hesitant towards water play, don't be. Yes, it's messy but it's just water and any spills can be wiped down with a towel. Toddlers can even be dressed down to their diapers to avoid wet clothes. In this water activity, Zahavah had to scoop up the little starfish with her net. It was quite easy for her and after fishing out the little ocean life twice, she simply went in with her hands to play in the water, grab the starfish and put them back. After 10 minutes, I took away the tub (A Sterilite Storage container) but she could have kept going.
Sand molding with sea creatures
Kids love playing in the sand and I got these Melissa & Doug sand molds a while ago with our Huggies Rewards Points (yeah! Finally a prize for years of diaper changing!) knowing we'd use them soon. It so happens that our local playground has a HUGE sandbox so we used those there. Zahavah loved filling each mold with her hands and shovels but I had to of course turn the mold and show her the results of her hard work.
Finger painting blue waves
Another mildly messy activity that took place this week is finger-painting. To avoid most of the mess though, I contained the finger painting sheet into a finger painting tray (found at Michael's) and taped the sheet to the bottom of it. Then I squeezed a small blob of Crayola washable finger paint on the sheet and let little Z make "waves". As painting with fingers can be a death sentence for clothing and carpets, I dressed down baby Z to her diaper and made sure the tray would be above wood floors! :) As you see, it's a good thing she was shirtless! :)