We just got back from a beach vacation, and one of my 2-year-old’s favorite things to do was scour the sand for seashells the tide washed up on the shore. He gathered up a nice little collection that we ended up bringing home with us and that he’s adorably proud of. :) The shells are currently doing double-duty as a sweet reminder of our sunny, sandy days spent in the ocean and as a complement to the beach-themed learning game I’m sharing with you today!
As you probably know by now, I’m a huge advocate of learning through play, and sand writing is a fun way to keep your young kids learning now that the school year is over. This sensory writing activity using sand and seashells is a great way to bring a little bit of the beach to you this summer (or for you to play at the beach if you’re heading that way)!
This game is featured in a new educational book called 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids: Teach Reading, Writing, Math and More With Fun Activities by Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij, who are the cofounders and creators of the popular parenting blog The Educators’ Spin on It. These two early childhood educators and certified teachers, who are also both moms of three, have created an amazing resource teaching fundamental skills (reading, writing, math, science, music, art and social studies) through a collection of hands-on, skill-based learning games.
I was excited to get my hands on an advanced copy from the publisher so I could start testing out the games. I highly recommend it to all my fellow mamas of little ones and anyone (educators, caregivers, etc.) who works with children. We’ve had a great experience with this book so far, and I can’t wait to recreate even more of the learning games for C. Even though it’s geared toward children ages 3-7, I’ve found plenty of activities my 2-year-old can start on, so this will definitely bring us years of fun! It was just released a couple of weeks ago, and it’s already gotten a lot of acclaim—it was even one of the Amazon Editors’ best new book picks for May.
Sand writing is one of my favorite activities from the book, and I hope you have fun with it too!
Words in the Sand
Find hidden words on seashells in the sand to encourage your child to learn to read. Players quickly memorize each word by writing it into the sand in a texture-rich experience. This multi-sensory game helps to engage children’s senses as they learn their sight words.
- Identifying and writing sight words
Directions to Make
- Write sight words onto seashells.
- Place the seashells in one container.
- Place sand in the second container or tray.
Directions to Play
- Players take turns pulling seashells from the container.
- Once they’ve selected them, players identify the word and write it in the sand container.
- Continue to play until all the word seashells are discovered and written in the sand.
- Create letters in the sand for younger players to discover and write.
- Form words from letter shells in the sand and write them in the sand container.
- Write numbers on the shells for players to discover and write.
We like to do a lot of sensory play, and sand writing is perfect for that. C enjoyed using the shore as our canvas, but he’s having just as much fun playing this game at home. The awesome thing is that all the games in the book are flexible and adaptable to fit your child’s needs and skill level. This activity is geared toward sight words, but it was easy to modify it to fit my toddler’s current level of learning. I adapted it using the first game variation, and we’ve been focusing on identifying the letters of the alphabet in the sand.
For more learning games, check out 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids. This is truly a wonderful early childhood education resource. It’s 208 pages packed full of creative learning ideas with step-by-step instructions and bright, colorful pictures. The games are easy-to-make and eco-friendly—most of them can be set up quickly using common household items, which is a huge plus for busy parents!
There are 100 games, but each game has three alternate game ideas so that children of various ages can play—so really, you’re getting 400 learning games for your kids! Not only that, but the variety of games is excellent. They range from quiet indoor activities to outdoor activities with lots of movement … from simple 15-minute activities to highly engaging activities that will keep your child learning and having fun for an hour!
With summer here, these DIY learning games are a great way to enrich your older child’s current learning environment and reinforce the topics that they learned during the school year. For younger kids, these games offer the exploration and discovery of skills that will help prepare them for elementary school. Take a peek into the book and grab your own copy of100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids HERE for a discounted price on Amazon! You’ll love having this resource at your fingertips any time you’re in need of a fun, educational activity.