We got there!

Now that you arrived at your destination (or one of them for the weekend), it is time to relax and catch some rays or catch up with some friends and family. Your kids run around and play, dig in the dirt, dig in the sand or take a ride on the swings. As parents, we watch, join in the playing and marvel at how much fun a swing or a pail and shovel can be to a child. Take it one step further this time.

If you can educate your children on the way to your destination, whether it be locating license plates or something else, why not continue the learning when you arrive? I was at the beach yesterday with my family and I was amazed by the amount of “teachable moments” that were available.

The beach provides some of the most easily accessible lessons, using our natural environment. The beach is all about tastes, colors, textures, sounds and smells. In other words, it is all about using our five senses. Children use all of these senses, some simultaneously, to discover and learn all about the world.  We can take an active part of this process by introducing descriptive words early on. This is so important; it will increase  vocabulary tremendously.

While your child digs in the sand, talk to them about how the sand feels; is it cold or hot, is it smooth or rough? While your child collects seashells, talk to them about the colors of the shells, what they feel like and what shapes they resemble. If your child is too young to already know these terms, teach the words to them. It is never too early to start!

The beach is known for coolers full of water, fruit, sandwiches and treats. Ask your child what the yogurt tastes like; is it sweet or salty? If they do not understand these words yet, explain them. The fruit tastes sweet, the chips taste salty, etc. Similarly, the sounds at the beach are priceless. Seagulls talking and looking for food, children laughing, airplanes flying overhead, music playing. Bring these sounds to the attention of your children. You may be surprised at what they can identify just by hearing the sounds; they may recognize an airplane just by the motor or another baby just by the sound of crying. The smells at the beach are (for the most part) very pleasant; the salty ocean, the concession stand food. If old enough, ask your child what they smell and how they know it is the ocean or the smell of french fries. As a bonus, if they happen to connect the smell of the food with food served at school or camp, they have just made a text to world connection. I will talk more about that in my next blog!

Of course, the beach is not the only place to explore the five senses, the same can be done at a park, at your house or in your backyard. You can continue this process every day, not just in the summertime, by collecting things from outside and using household items. Sandpaper, pasta and rocks are wonderful ways to expose children to the five senses. Put them in separate boxes and create “feely” boxes, as I used to call them or place different items on a table and let them explore! Our homes and our world are filled with ways to educate children.  Try it and let me know how it goes!


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  1. * Jenny says:

    Thank you so much for your suggestion!! This is such a great idea! I will pass this along to some of the families I work with!

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago

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