I’ll never forget it. When my oldest was starting first-grade, I spotted a water-and-wind-themed chapter in his science textbook. I knew we were going to be heading to the beach in just a few weeks, so I browsed the chapter, taking note of any and all of the key information noted by the curriculum. While at the beach, we played in the sand, rode the waves, flew a kite, explored for shells – you know, all the things you naturally do while at the shore.
As we played, rode, flew, and explored, we talked about all the things we were seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and yes, even tasting! #saltwater At the end of week, I asked him the review questions found within that chapter from his textbook, and you guessed it. He was able to clearly articulate the what’s and why’s? How? Because he had experienced those things first-hand. We didn’t just read about it, we lived it…together!
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In this post, I’m excited to share ideas that you might enjoy incorporating in to your family’s next beach vacation.
Homeschooling at the Beach
You can begin by packing along a handful of ocean-themed books, puzzles, and activities. These are great for down-time in the hotel/condo – maybe during an afternoon rest time or before bedtime in the evenings. Our timing with this has always depended on the ages, stages of our kiddos at the time, and the goal has always been to keep things laid back and fun for everyone.
Excited to share some of our favorite books, puzzles, and activities:
- Colorful World: Sea
- Shine-a-Light: Secrets of the Seashore (You’ll need a flashlight to use with this book! So fun!)
- Lift-the-Flap Adding and Subtracting
- First Coloring Book: Under the Sea
- Under the Sea Activities (A Wipe-Clean Book – Comes with the marker you need!)
- Ocean Animals
- My Very First Seas and Ocean Book
- Peek Inside the Sea
- Splish-Splash Seahorse
- Lift the Flap: Sharks
A Few More Book Suggestions
The fish bubble Cheerio® Activity is in this book.
Large plastic zip-lock bags make traveling with puzzles easy – The bags you see pictured here are from IKEA.
- Under the Sea Stickers
- Ocean Tattoos: Finding Dory Tattoos Available Here
- Ocean Sidewalk Chalk Stencils
- Bitty Beginnings: Under the Sea Sensory Look-and-Find
- How to Draw Ocean Animals or Follow along with the Beach-Themed Drawing Ideas on Art Hub for Kids
- Melissa and Doug Paint with Water Activity Book
- Melissa and Doug Under the Sea Color Blast Activity Book
- Silicone Ice-Cube Tray: Fish (from IKEA) with Poms and Fine Motor Tools for playing
- Go Fish Card Game
- Lucky Catch Game – I found this second-hand, and so far, I haven’t been able to find it Amazon.
- Craft Kits: The [Boat] Tissue Paper Craft Kit you see pictured in this post was grabbed from a dollar spot somewhere. I like to watch for things like this at the Dollar Tree, Target, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc. – perfect activities for downtime.
- Ocean Adventures Pasta (found at Tuesday Morning for just a few dollars) – Fun to use for sorting or cook and eat!
- 555 Sticker Animals Book – Love all the different habitats represented in this book!
- Melissa and Doug Under the Sea Water Wow! Book
- Ocean-Themed View Master Reels
The science book you see pictured here is A Beka’s first-grade science reader.
The cutting activities included in these images were pulled out of the Melissa and Doug Scissor Skills Book and I Can Cut – These books include all kinds of different activities, and I like to pull out different ones as we learn about various topics/themes.
Other Ideas for Homeschooling at the Beach:
- Sort sand toys by color.
- Fly a kite.
- Float a boat. (Experiment with other objects to see if they will float, too – sticks, shells, seaweed, sand dollars – anything.)
- Explore tide pools. Using a science journal and colored pencils, draw what you SEE by the SEA. (In our house, our science journals are simple blank notebooks I’ve grabbed from the Target Dollar Spot.)
- If you get the opportunity, watching sea turtle eggs hatch is amazing!
- Walk the beach at night – with a flashlight. Compare/Contrast with daytime on the shore.
- Gather seashells: Sort them by size/color, paint them, anything goes!
- Write in the sand: manuscript or cursive – letters, sight words, spelling words, vocabulary terms, etc.
- Draw shapes in the sand. You could even play tic-tac-toe – with different shapes! Instead of X’s and O’s, play circles and rectangles or triangles and squares.
- Write a postcard or letter and send it to the grandparents – visit the local post office to buy the postage and then drop it in the mail.
As you can see, homeschooling at the beach is easy – when you embrace the natural moments of exploring together. Don’t over-plan the moments to where the experience becomes tense and controlled – That’s the quickest way to ruin your family vacation. Simply talk back and forth with your kids as experiences are happening, and then in your downtime, enjoy some fun activities that you know they will enjoy – nothing forced.
Do what works for your family’s style of play – please, please, please don’t try to do everything included in the post. I simply wanted to share a variety of things for you to choose from as you consider a handful of things you might want to consider bringing along on your family’s next excursion to the beach.
Truth: You could enjoy all kinds of learning moments together without packing a thing – that’s the beauty of a style of homeschooling that embraces everyday moments as learning opportunities – as life happens, learning happens – without additional resources always being needed.