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Ocean Wonders: Summer Camp at Home week 9

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Ocean Wonders: Summer Camp at Home week 9

The undersea world is fascinating!

If you and your kids have been to the beach or an aquarium, then you know the ocean is a big, wild, huge, mysterious, giant, interesting place! (Did I mention large?) My kids love the beach and share my love of sea creatures like dolphins and sea turtles. They like collecting shells. So it’s fun to have an ocean-themed week of learning this summer for Summer Camp at Home.

- Play and learn: Playing is learning while having fun! Kids might want to decide to be deep-sea divers, boat captains, dolphins, fishermen, lifeguards or other ocean-related make believe. My boys like to pretend to rescue stranded wildlife — they play with their plush sea creatures, which are always nearby.

- Field trip: This one is easy — we will go to the beach! Near us is a nature center on the beach that is great for kids, so they don’t just dig in the sand and splash in the ocean, but they also get to learn about the sea turtles that nest here locally and other native wildlife and their habitats. Aquariums are a good choice for a field trip, too. If you don’t live near the ocean or an aquarium, visit a lake or river and talk about the difference between that body of water and the ocean. Or pretend you are at the ocean. Or, take a field trip at home and spread out your beach towels, lawn chairs and sand toys in your yard or in your living room.

- Crafts: These shell wind chimes look easy and really customizable — I’m sure no two end up alike! I also like this paper sand dollar craft. Other fun ideas: paper plates painted to look like fish, or paint paper bowls to look like jellyfish. Older children might want to make an ocean diorama or paint an underwater scene on canvas.

- Science: We can learn about energy and ocean waves with this wave-in-a-bottle project.

- Fine motor skills: Working with play clay uses lots of hand muscles and is fun for kids. I’d like to revisit the sand castle play clay mixture from our Legends and Castles and Dragons, Oh My! week this summer for fun smooshing and sculpting. I think it would be fun to get some friends together and have a sand art contest using this mixture.

- Math skills: This site has page after page of ocean-themed math activities for students at various levels. Here are excellent ocean math activities for preschool kids.

- Language skills: I admit that, with two weeks left of summer, I haven’t done a good job of recording how long we spend reading for our local library’s reading program chart. But I think it’s OK — for now — because the kids enjoy reading and don’t need any reward or incentive the library gives out to get them to read, look at or listen to books. Last week, as a special treat, I took the boys to the “grown up” section of the library and let them pick out a book. My sons thought they were really big time and kept reminding each other to be quiet. We will head back to the library this week for more books. Here are some interesting ocean-themed titles: Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle; The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister; Baby Dolphin’s First Day by Peter Roop; Into the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson; Dolphin Talk: Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping Jaws by Wendy Pfeffer; Eye Wonder: Ocean by Sue Thornton; Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes; and Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck.

- Cooking: This apple “fish” snack is cute and fun. If my younger boy were a reliable orange eater, I would go for these orange fish snacks. This peapod-and-olive flying fish snack is creative too.

- Music: My kids and I already like listening to the Ocean Favorites album, which includes beachy songs inspired by the animated movie Finding Nemo. The boys’ favorite songs are Wipe Out (originally by the Surfaris) and Octopus’ Garden (originally by the Beatles).

- More: This site has more really good ocean-themed activities for young children. If you didn’t get to see a Wyland “whaling wall” mural during Wildlife Explorers week, you might want to try again … or go back! Kids might even want to paint or draw a large undersea painting on a plain white sheet outside, or on a roll of easel paper.

My boys and I are playing catch-up on a few things we wanted to do this summer but haven’t had a chance to yet. School here starts in two weeks, so we want to make the most of our less-structured summer days. This past weekend, we visited a children’s museum we hadn’t been to before and participated in Home Depot’s free Kids Workshop, which we hadn’t done before. I think the boys have had a fun summer. How about you?

Make it a great week!

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