The other day the Pony Artist found a box of shells I had been saving. She spent most of an hour just looking, then announced that she had thought of a great activity to share with you! The result was an amazing sensory play set. Here's how you can set up this lesson for your kids as well.
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What you'll need to make your own pretend ocean play set
Small cardboard box
Small plastic animals
Blue food coloring
White play dough
My favorite home made play dough
1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1.5 cups water
Mix everything together in a sauce pan.
Heat over medium heat and continue stirring until play dough forms
How to make the ocean water
The Pony Artist added the food coloring to the play dough, then mixed it in by hand.
She purposely stopped mixing while the play dough still had a marbled appearance, because she thought it gave a more realistic ocean effect.
How to add some life
We love the book "Pearlie Oyster", a sweet story about an oyster that makes a pearl. I encouraged the Pony Artist to look through it to find ideas for our pretend habitat. Coral was a must have item.
We cut out the cups of an egg carton and feathered the edges to look like coral.
The Pony Artist put two popsicle sticks together, and decorated them to look like a fish.
We added a few beads for rocks and pearls, and a few real shells. The finished product was pretty and busy, just like a real coral reef!
The Pony Artist says that it is very important that you spend time studying real shells as part of this project. She and her brother have been spending hours doing story play with this set.
Pretend habitats are a great way for children to refine their understanding of real habitats and to extend their knowledge of the creatures that live there. Pretend scenarios help develop important questions about how organisms really interact.
At the same time, children are developing early composition skills and working fine motor muscles. Don't be surprised if your child even throws in some math by arranging shells or rocks in a pattern!
This month at Project Recycle Create! we are sharing upcycled gift ideas.