Since returning recently from a weekend trip to my husband’s home town, which is situated on the Atlantic Ocean, I’ve been excited to play with the latest additions to our beach treasures collection. I’ve incorporated beach finds into water play on several occasions (see Beachcombing at the Water Table and Sunken Treasure Sensory Sink). Lately however we’ve been getting back into dry sensory play so I decided on an ocean floor themed discovery bin, without water.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a few containers of colored sand from the clearance section at Michael’s. I mixed dark blue and white sand and put that in one side of the bin. To the other half of the bin I added blue and brown glitter gravel from Dollarama. I separated the sand and gravel for visual interest and so that my son could explore the different textures before everything got mixed together.
In addition to our beach finds, I placed glass and plastic gems and seaweed stickers in our container. Keep reading to find out what I snuck into the bottom of the bin!
It was a beautiful day so I took the bin outside to our patio table. To allow for a thorough investigation of the materials I included a magnifying glass. For scooping, pouring, and sorting I provided an ice cream scoop, measuring spoon and our lovely thrift store wooden bowls.
Last but not least I brought out the book A Passion for Sea Glass (total eye candy for beachcombers!) to inspire creative play, sorting, and patterning with the sea glass, shells, beads, and rocks. To be honest, I also wanted to sit in the sun and browse through this gorgeous book while my son played. 😉
Peanut (age 3) began his exploration of the bin by scooping the blue sand into one of the small bowls.
He soon discovered a surprise under the sand. Mirrors!
He scraped and pushed the sand around on top of the mirrors before dumping a bowl of sand back onto them.
Don’t all the materials look beautiful?
I eventually drew Peanut’s attention to the magnifying glass and he spent several minutes examining the contents of the bin.
He also enjoyed a close-up inspection of his blue-tinted hand.
Peanut had the bin all to himself during his quiet time. When our daycare friend woke up I divided the bowls and tools between the boys so that they could explore the bin together.
Our beachcombing excursions have inspired several of the activities we’ve done. In addition to the two water-based activities I mentioned in the first paragraph here are a couple more (click the post title):