Moldable Beach Sand

Bring the beach inside!  I love this moldable beach play sand I made for my little guy to play with.  It turned out so well even his big sisters wanted in on the action!

I had looked up a few recipes but they just didn’t work for me.  What I liked was that this was still sand for the most part, felt nice and smooth, and it smelled tropical.

Recipe:

6 cups play sand

1 cup corn starch

1/2 cup coconut oil

 

Of course the recipe isn’t set in stone, so just adjust to get the amount and texture you would like.  I added the corn starch to make the sand a little softer and stickier.  We keep our coconut oil in the garage and live in climates so hot that ours is always in liquid form.  If yours is solid, then just melt it.  And the best part about the coconut oil is the smell it’ll give you sand.  My Zoe hates the smell of the store-bought living sand so this is a big deal in our house.  🙂

Since I was going for the beachy vibe, I added shells and some small plastic creatures to our bin.  The sand was so easy to build with and soft to the touch it has immediately become one of our go-to sensory activities!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

To get back into the school groove, we started with a unit based on the classic alphabet book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin.  There is a reason so many kindergarten classes start the year with this book.  For us it was a DSCN0221great way to review our letters and ease back into our school schedule. To get in the spirit, we started with a palm tree I made in our school room.  I just used brown construction paper and part of a very cheap green plastic tablecloth.

Letter Hunt

DSCN0224I printed these letters out on cardstock and hung them around the house the night before our letter hunt.  I was surprised how much the girls enjoyed finding them and for some reason wearing them.  They were still in their pajamas when we got started.  We then hung the letters up on our palm tree just like in the story.

Download Large Lowercase Letters here

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Coconuts, of course!DSCN0232

You can’t talk about palm trees without exploring coconuts.  I picked some up at the grocery store and after touching and describing them from the outside we broke them open (well, their dad broke them open) and then we all got to taste the coconut milk.  It was different than all of us were expecting.

Mia's face shows exactly what she thinks of the coconut

Mia’s face shows exactly what she thinks of the coconut

Coconut Volcano

I stuffed one of the coconut halves with baking soda and then we took turns pouring the vinegar in to make our volcano explode.  Having recently visited Hawaii, the girls loved mixing two things they saw on their trips.  And then of course, they had to play in the mixture while it was fizzing.

Coconut Volcano

Shake & Color

This was another letter review activity that I’ve seen on a few different sites.  We made these palm trees out of Sprite bottles then filled them with rice and small laminated letters (I used the color version of their worksheet).  The girls would shake the bottles and then identify the letters they saw and color them on their worksheet.

Shake and Color Game

Download Student Version Shake n Color Game in black and white

Download Shake n Color Game in color

Boom Boom Letter Game

The girls loved this game which we picked up from Kindergarten Kel here.

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Letter Sensory Bin

This was super simple to set up but fun for the girls.  I just tossed magnetic letters into our sensory bin with some blue water to mimic the ocean. They fished the letters out with chopsticks (great for motor skills) and then sorted them by capital and lowercase.

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Playdough Number Cards20140908_110351

These number cards from Kindergarten Celebration were a huge hit with the girls.  They filled in the squares on the ten frame for each number and also formed the numbers out of playdough.  You can find the cards here.

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Letter Worksheets

Chicka chicka boom boom worksheetWe also used these worksheets I picked up online.  For the uppercase letters the girls marked the letters with dauber dots as we read through the first half of the book.  The lowercase worksheet involved matching the letters together.  Click on the links below to find the worksheets.

Uppercase Chicka Chicka Boom Boom worksheet

Lowercase Chicka Chicka Boom Boom worksheet

 

Bathtub Fun

This was all purely for fun but the girls LOVED the themed bath I did for them.  The palm tree pieces are cut from regular fun foam sheets–when wet it sticks to the tiles easily.  I used some alphabet pieces we already had although you could also cut those from fun foam if necessary.  The girls also played with the coconut pieces but if you do this, be sure to clean them carefully.  We learned that the hard way.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom bathtub

Snack time!

We also enjoyed snacks inspired by the book.  I saw a few different versions of these online.  For us, we used grapes to make the coconuts.  The girls were also much more willing to try something new (they have never been a big fan of kiwi) when it was in the shape of a palm tree.

This one was made from apples, graham crackers, and grapes

This one was made from apples, graham crackers, and grapes

This lunch was made of banana, kiwi, grapes, cheese, and sliced turkey

This lunch was made of banana, kiwi, grapes, cheese, and sliced turkey

We also baked Chicka Coconut Banana Booms.  You can find the recipe here from Growing Book by Book.

Letter Collage

I precut the pieces of the palm tree and then the girls assembled it.  They then decorated the tree with letter stickers and were supposed to make a collage using magazine pieces.  Unfortunately things didn’t go according to plan.

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As for other art projects, there are tons of cute ideas online.  We kept running out of time and the girls weren’t feeling crafty so as much as I loved all the ideas I saw, we never really made any of them. 🙁

Pinterest

Need more ideas?  Feel free to check out my Pinterest board!

Beach Baby Tip

While looking through our summer pictures, I was reminded of this tip from my sister that has worked great for us.  And while summer is drawing to a close, it’s still beach weather or maybe for next year…  Anyway, my sister’s suggestion for when we go to the beach is to bring a baby pool!

Zoe enjoying the pool at the beach in 2010

We spend a week in the Outer Banks every year and this has worked great for us as well as for our nephews.  When they were tiny it was a great way for them to play in the water without being overwhelmed by waves, especially on rough water days.  Now that they play out in the ocean with us, they still love sitting in the pool to cool off or using the water to build in the sand.  Even my 9-year-old nephew appreciated being able to easily build sand castles with the water.

Mia in the pool in 2012

We just bring a little blow up pool with our stuff.  It’s easy to stuff it in with all of our other stuff and pretty quick to set up.  As soon as we get out to the beach we blow it up and then fill it with a few bucketfuls of water.

 

 

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