The wacky February weather had the ice on our lake melting earlier than ever. With temps in the high 60s and three feet of exposed water along the shoreline, my kids were asking to go swimming over February Break.
To avoid the thinning ice and hypothermia, I convinced them to opt for an indoor beach activity. We used “Jelly BeadZ” and a package of plastic sea animals (both ordered on Amazon) to create a “Sensory Sea — a tupperware container filled with cool, smooth, Jello-like beads, teaming with sea life!
The kids spent hours hiding the sea creatures beneath the surface a searching for them. They even made up a game of closing their eyes and feeling around to find sets of matching animals.
The next day, they asked for a library book about the ocean, so they could name all of the sea creatures. And, so far, our sea has held up well, surviving dozens of squalls and play sessions with cousins and neighbors. Even the older kids (and Daddy) can’t help digging in. The water beads are surprisingly therapeutic (and non-toxic, should half a dozen or so happen to bounce across the floor and into the dog’s mouth).
Next up, I am planning to surprise them with a “treasure chest” of either green or rainbow colored water beads with a “treasure” of hidden coins for St. Patrick’s Day!
You can enhance your child’s tactile discrimination by hiding coins of all denomination and asking them to close their eyes and search for “treasure” and then guess whether they have found a penny, dime, nickel or quarter. Then keep the STEM lesson going with by asking them to count and sort their new found stash.
This Activity Can Help to Enhance:
- Counting/Matching Skills
- Tactile Processing
- Tolerance of Varying Textures
- Sensory Integration
Approx. $10 – $14
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- “Jelly BeadZ” or “Magic BeadZ” ($5 – $7 on Amazon)
- 1 Package of Assorted Ocean Animals (also $5 – $7 on Amazon)
Large Bowl or Tupperware Container
- Soak each teaspoon of Jelly Beadz in 4 cups of water for 6 – 8 hours. (I used 2 teaspoons each of green, white and blue beads for “ocean” colors.)
- Drain beads with colander
- Run dry paper towels through beads to soak up excess moisture
- Let your ocean animals take a swim
ACTIVITY ENHANCEMENT IDEAS:
- Introduce another texture by filling a separate container with clean sand or Kinetic sand to create a “beach”.
- Borrow a book from the library to learn the names of your ocean creatures.
- Hide the ocean animals beneath the surface of your ocean and have kids close their eyes and search for them. If you have two of each animal, they can play a matching game.