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Friday, July 29, 2011

Down By the Bay

When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup,

In every hole the sea came up

Till it could come no more.

At the Seaside by Robert Louis Stevenson

One of the best parts about our trip to the Chesapeake Bay was the lazy days at the beach. Of course, as a parent "lazy" day at the beach meant fun times in the water and sand, not exactly leisurly afternoons of naps and a good beach read. The boys were happy to gather shells, watch the crabs scurry on the sand, build sand castles, and run into the waves, but we had a few other fun things planned as well...

A straight stick and some stones made a sundial. (Simply place stones or shells at the shadow's end every hour or so.)

Bubbles on the beach at dusk

It is easy to dye sand: Mix water with food dye keeping in mind that the sand will dye lighter than the water color, fill a glass/bucket up 3/4 of the way with sand pour on the dyed water to 1 inch above the sand. Stir it to make sure the all the sand gets wet. Let it set overnight. The next morning, spread the sand out flat in the sun to dry. After a few hours you can make sand art.

The absolute delight of the trip, was the buried treasure, complete with a secret treasure map thanks to my fun, uber creative sister, aka Grand Patti:

The secret map that leads from our cottage to the buried treasure.

The digging begins.

What have we here, matey?

Keeping an eye out for incoming vessels

That afternoon, their imaginations took flight! The crew of gentle pirates have claimed my boys and there is adventure at every turn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Days Nature Table

As the summer progresses, our nature table sees a slow transformation from a show of ocean treasures to a hands-on play space where pebbles are stacked...

and nature friends go for a boat ride on the playsilk sea.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shell Seakers & Sea Glass

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy or too impatient. One should be empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea."

Anne Morrow Lindberg - "Gifts From the Sea"

We are back from a lovely stay on the Chesapeake Bay where the tide gently rolls in and out, in and out...

In the morning, my sister and I woke before the others and took walks on the beach. Ours were not walks for fitness sake, but for curiosity sake. We are shell seakers. As we were greeted by the early morning sun, Great Blue Herons perched on the beams of old docks, dolphins rode the gentle waves and crabs scurried for their holes. While we took the beauty in, our eyes eventually fell to the sand under our feet seeking out the shells and colorful sea glass that would fill our bucket in tow.

We walked slowly, laughing at the fact that we inevitably reached for the same shells at the same time. Sometimes we stopped to look out at the ships waiting to leave or enter the bay. We greeted the occasional passer-by wondering if they too were shell seakers.

We found a lovely array of shells, seaweed and sea glass, some of which made it to the nature table while others provided hours of late-night crafty fun:

Shell / Seaglass necklaces:

A host of sea creatures:

Tokens of affection and gift tag:

I do believe the shell seaking trait has been passed down to my sons. From the first day to the last, they were constantly handing me treasures from the sea with delighted voices exclaiming, "Mama! This is for our nature table!" (I was thrilled that they assumed we would have a nature table set up in our rented beach-side cabin! A testament to their need for rhythm in their daily life.)

Coming up... Beach fun with kids!

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