I'm super excited to share the activity we did this morning, the kids LOVED it, and it ended up being the perfect activity for a number of reasons. Firstly, the fact that Aurora asks to go to the beach approximately 100 times a day. She and Gray set up blankets and pretend one is the sand and the other is the ocean... poor Hawaiian girl. The other reason that this activity worked out perfectly schedule wise, is because I had planned to do lots of glowing activities during the month of October and all of the supplies for this bin arrived just in time!
I found a cool company called Glofish on Amazon and ended up purchasing a few of their products. The gravel, jellyfish, plants, and anemone all glow and then the clownfish is motorized and swims around! You can see the fish here with its articulated tail that whips back and forth propelling it through the water. The children were delighted with this "life like" fish and loved chasing him around the bin! Back in Hawaii we would frequently go to places like Sea Life Park and the zoo which had touch pools for the kids to explore. They both loved stroking the sea cucumbers, starfish, and turtles, it truly was magical and it breaks my heart when all Aurora wants to do is go back and play with her friends and the fish. Maybe someday, we'll be stationed there again, but until that day, we'll improvise! Grayson was a little leery about the "real" fish and the jelly, he's normally the one who dives in, but for some reason, he very cautiously approached these creatures. Perhaps he knows that their real life counterparts wouldn't take so kindly to him touching them!
Every time the fish approached him he would yank his hands out of the bin! At the same time, he was mesmerized by the fish, when it swam to the opposite side of the bin, he would run around the table to get a better view. I can't wait until he's old enough to have a real fish!
And, as soon as they had explored the bin in daylight, I told them that we were going to pretend it was night time in the ocean! We let down the rolladens and got out our blacklight flashlight to see what the depths of the ocean look like. There are probably stronger blacklights if you get the corded version, but living in Germany with 220v power means we would have had to run it on a transformer and that's just too much work! The flashlight is really handy though because we can take it anywhere and that will definitely be necessary for some of the other glowing activities I have planned for the rest of the month!
We had a great time learning about how the ocean environment works. We talked about the symbiotic relationship between the clownfish and the sea anemone, how the anemone will sting most creatures, but not the clownfish, so the fish hides inside to protect itself from prey. The clownfish actively defends its territory, thereby protecting the sea anemone as well.
If left to their own wishes, they would still be in there playing, but this is one bin that I definitely didn't want to leave unsupervised! I'm sure we'll keep playing with it throughout the rest of the week though, and the fish will probably become a new bath time companion as they are quite taken with him. I think Aurora named him "little buddy." :)
For more sensational sensory ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.