Posted by Jody on November 5, 2012
“Play is the highest form of research.”
~ Albert Einstein
Here’s a bright and easy family fun beach idea. While you’re packing up the car with beach towels, sunblock and sand toys, toss in a couple of child-safe magnifying glasses. We found ours at the local Learning is Fun! Just think of all the possibilities!
Have a wonderful day at the beach!
This week’s Travel Theme is “Bright.”
Posted in Monday Miscellaneous, Today's Special | Tagged: beach, beach fun for children, beach photography, family beach activities, teaching children about the ocean, Travel Theme | 18 Comments »
Posted by E.G.D. on September 15, 2012
So, as those of you who read my posts know, my niece and nephew collected a truly amazing number of shells last time our family visited the gulf coast together. Some of you might recall that particular event ultimately led to my discovery of seashells as a decopage-able item. Well, a couple weeks ago, I finally decided that something must be done about the fact that all those shells were still in bags and buckets half full of water and sand. I fished them out of the plastic crate that had been their home for a good number of months, and I spent about an hour one evening and washed them all, laying them out to dry on towels and dumping all the excess sand in the backyard. Now, I know this may sound like an odd thing for an aunt to do of an evening, but I had a very good reason, and the reason is as follows: one day, I decided to string some of my beach treasures from the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and my nephew walked into my room and said, “wow, Aunt Elisa! Those are beautiful. I hope I can be a great necklace maker like you when I grow up,” and my immediate response was, “Liam, you can be just as good a necklace maker right now. Here, I’ll show you…” but, what with his being five and a bit flighty, he was out of the room before I could get his hands on my shells.
Now, I won’t say I sprung immediately into action or anything, but I can say that the very next time I found myself in a craft store, I bought a large package of plastic necklace cord and two large packages of miscellaneous plastic beads. I’m sure you have guessed this by now, but that was the night I went and washed all those shells, and I carefully picked out every one I could find with a proper, natural hole in it.
Well, that was a long story, and I feel I oughtn’t make a long story longer, so I shall present the result to you in pictures, though I am sorry to say that Liam was asleep when I took them (this was seashell necklace evening #2). However, I did get some good shots of his necklace, and Oona was happy to demonstrate the process for me ^_^.
As you can see, this is a simple, fun project for beachcombers of all ages, and the possibilities are endless. I highly recommend this sort of project to any family of beachgoers. I absolutely guarantee the little ones will love the entire process, from collecting to stringing! Happy beach treasure crafting- E.G.D.
Posted in Beach Treasure and Seashell Crafts, Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: beach fun for children, crafts with seashells and beach treasures, easy seashell crafts, seashell crafts for children, simple seashell crafts | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jody on May 16, 2012
When you walk out onto the sandy beach, happy and barefoot, what do look for? Do you gaze straight ahead, into the sea, at the rolling waves or do you peer even farther out to spot ocean going vessels on the distant horizon? Maybe you scan the sandy shoreline to see if there are any special beach treasures left behind by the recent high tide. Are the tanned and toned volleyball players among the first things you scope out?
It’s amazing what we could discover if we just looked down! Those seaweed piles (wrack lines) are brimming with miniature sized wildlife, and the sand beneath our feet is home to an abundance of coastal residents. Beach hoppers, beach pillbugs, sand crabs, and intertidal clams, just to name a few, have all made their home in the ever changing sand.
Texas Gulf Coast
My daughter found a wonderful on-line article that she shared with me. “Sandy Beach Life,” from Marine Science by Genny Anderson, explores common organisms and coastal wildlife found on a typical sandy California beach. Full of terrific photos and information on coastal critters that I didn’t even know existed, it’s a very interesting read! It might be great fun to print up the article and pictures for a scavenger hunt or check list for your family’s next trip to any beach. Enjoy!
Bladder kelp √
Sand crab √
Beach hopper □
Western Gull √
Wedge Clams √
Beach pillbug □
Kelp fly √
A great day at the beach! √
Link: Marine Science by Genny Anderson: Sandy Beach Life √
Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach activities for children, beach fun for children, family beach activities, seaweed, seaweed on the beach, wrack line | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jody on March 8, 2012
Today’s Featured Writer: Dr. Kristie McLin, Geologist and Smarty Pants
Beach sand: start your own collection!
Did you ever wonder what makes some sands so white, while others are tan, black, or even green, red, or pink? Next time you are at a beach, take a closer look at the sand, and you will be amazed at what you see! Tiny mineral grains, shell and rock fragments, and even glass and gems! Sand is so amazingly different at beaches worldwide that many people make a hobby of collecting the sand at the beaches (and other non-beach locations) that they visit. There is even a website for The International Sand Collectors Society (SandCollectors.org) that can tell you everything that you need to know to get started!
Muir Beach, California. Take a closer look!
All you need is a waterproof container to keep your sand sample in and a permanent marker to write the location where the sample was collected, but a spoon for digging and a magnifying glass or hand-lens to see the sand grains up close are nice accessories. For the serious collector, there are instructions for sifting, tracking, and cataloging your samples.
Be sure to check out the ISCS Photo Gallery for an amazing look at different sands from around the world! The star sands of Tonga are quite amazing!
Kehoe Beach, California
What will your sand collection look like?
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: beach activities for children, beach collections, beach fun for children, beachcombing, family beach activities, Featured Writer, sand collecting, The International Sand Collectors Society | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jody on September 22, 2011
Lake Superior Agate, cut and polished – Minnesota (Photo by Astynax/Wikipedia Commons)
Minnesota’s State Gem is the Lake Superior agate. These beautiful red, orange, yellow, white and grey gemstones are generously spread throughout northeastern and north-central Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:“The agate reflects many aspects of Minnesota. It was formed during lava eruptions that occurred in our state about a billion years ago. The stone’s predominant red color comes from iron, the major industrial mineral in our state. Finally, the widely distributed agate reveals the impact of glacial movement across Minnesota a mere 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.” The Lake Superior agate can be found in virtually any exposed gravel or pebbly area throughout the state. Minnesota’s rocky North Shore beaches of Lake Superior are especially good hunting grounds for agate hounds.
Polished Lake Superior Agate – Minnesota (Photo by Diana Stein/Wikimedia Commons)
What a perfect beachcombing find! It’s a lake shore discovery you can display, or with some polishing, wear as unique jewelry. These richly colored Lake Superior agates can be found on the shoreline as far north as Lake Superior’s Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. They can also be found on the pebbly South Shore beaches of extreme northwestern Wisconsin and on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
It can be a bit tricky to spot the Lake Superior agates in their natural setting. The State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources offers many tips and clues for finding and identifying the official state gem. “Agate Hounds”, a very good full-color brochure on the joys of Lake Superior agate hunting, is available for “young naturalists,” though it has helpful information for agate hounds of all ages. Be sure to check it out on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.
Additionally, “Digging into Minnesota Minerals“ includes sections on the geologic history of the Lake Superior agate, distribution and clues to finding the state gemstone.
Happy beachcombing! Have a gem of a day! -J-
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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Great Lakes Beaches | Tagged: beach activities for children, beach agate collecting, beach fun for children, beachcombing, collecting beach stones, family beach activities, finding agates in Minnesota, Lake Superior Agate, Lake Superior beach, Lake Superior beachcombing, Minnesota beachcombing, Minnesota's State Gemstone, Northwest Wisconsin beachcombing, Upper Peninsula Michigan beachcombing | Leave a Comment »