And $3.99 is almost as good as finding them for free. I must admit, I was a little saddened by image the fluorescent lights raining down on me instead of the ocean mist. This way of gathering seashells is without the wonderful experience of combing the beach, with the sound of the ocean and seagulls as your backdrop. But then I pictured the other part where I would be slowly running through sand after my suddenly-quick-on-their-feet children as they headed into two different directions into the cold grey winter ocean! So, in the end with a coffee pit-stop, this trip to the craft store, in a blistery March month, sounded pretty good.
While I was there I also picked up some little card board baskets from the dollar section which they could decorate (or desecrate) as their little hearts so desired. In addition, I pulled out some scrap material of a blue satin I had laying around and quickly sewed up the edges, because it frays badly. I say quickly because this wasn't about perfection, my hem looks terrible, it was just about the variety of textures and pretend play. With this we were able to create our own little ocean!
Ultimately, she was right! It did bring a magical couple hours to our house. The assortment of texture was just as fun for me as it was them. The silky smooth satin rippling like an ocean itself; the smooth shells amid the rougher shells gave us something to talk about, and opened up a learning opportunity. We listened to the sound of the ocean in the shells, they gathered them in their baskets, dumped them out, over and over again for most of the morning. I love these opportunities of play and learning. Children are often more interested in the wonders of, say, a sea shell than a cheap toy you tossed in the cart that they just had to have in the store but completely forget about by the time you get home (my house is littered with these items!). I think if you are willing to imagine with them, show them the sound of the ocean inside, the different textures and colors, talk about where it came from, what it looks like, feels like - whether they are initially interested or not, they are interested in you and your time. These types of "toys" remind me of that. Remind me to be present. Remind me to imagine with my children.
Our Sea Scape
Do you use any "found" items for play for your little ones? What are some of your favorites?