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We have a crabby sandbox in our yard that we often use as a way to explore the beach without actually being there. Sometimes we bring out small beach creatures, like crabs and sand dollars. Other times we search for buried pirate treasure or create a small tide pool using a clear bowl and search out starfish and sea urchins (homemade).
On this day we decided to search for and collect sea shells! They used shovels and sifters to dig for the shells and then added them to a red, metal basket. I gave them magnifying glasses so they could look at each shell closely and remark on distinctive qualities, such as markings or grooves or spikes. Our shells are from Cape Cod, so they all share the distinctive quality of being from the Atlantic Ocean.
One of our favorite books on shells is Shells! Shells! Shells! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. (We also love Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!, Pond Walk and Fly, Monarch! Fly! by the same author.) We used this book as part of our ocean unit study last summer and recently read it again. They immediately wanted to learn more about shells!
This was a simple way to explore and learn about shells. We looked up each shell so we could name them and were able to group them by type. We love the blog I Love Shelling for seashell identification because she shares so many lovely pictures and crafts (like this seashell mobile!) and is very informative!
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