Clouds, Illusions I Recall …

© Oslovite (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

As the kangaroo morphed into a whale the giggling got the better of us.  What had started as a mist had now turned into Moby Dick, and was threatening to swallow the house.  The children screamed in delight ……

We were cloud watching, lying in a row on the grass in the front garden.  I’m certain the passing neighbour thought we were quite bonkers.

Keep a close eye on the heavens and watch for moisture-laden blue-sky days where clouds start to form.  The stories that grow as the clouds take form can be as fantastic and as wild as your imagination.  The story can happily end there, or these tales of the tallest kind can be later recalled and blown once more into shape:

  • With card, glue and some cotton wool you can recreate your cloud shapes on the kitchen table
  • White pastels smudged onto blue card can bring out the artist in a child of any age
  • For older children the stories can be retold, written out, and illustrations created to make your very own story book – if you bind it through holes with string you can add to it another day when the skies come alive with stories once more
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Capturing Seaside Memories

The summer holidays are a time for making memories, and a visit to the seaside is a treat that many children will treasure forever.  All those experiences of windswept or sunny sand banks, clambering in and around rock pools and dipping toes into chilly waves can leave a delightful and indelible mark on the childhood psyche.

As I write this I’m accessing the faintest hints of memories from many years ago, a tranquil smile on my face and a warm fluffy feeling inside …. leaving home in the dawn hours, crammed into the backseat of the car, wedged in by the cool box not a car seat … slip-sliding with giggles across planks laid on muddy fields outside our tiny caravan home … shell hunting in the rain … burying Dad in the sand … squirming at the feel of slimy seaweed underfoot … buying pink rock from a beachside stall …

My memories.  And now I’m a grown-up I like to help my children make theirs.

My daughter loves collecting pebbles.  The more colourful the better, and if they are smooth and have specks that glisten in the sun she is in heaven.  She also loves shells, and the pearlescent shimmer of the interior that seems to ebb and flow like the tide.  Driftwood, dried seaweed, and crab claws all make lovely additions to the stash.

A beach treasure hunt is a lovely way to take a walk in the salty air, and collect treasure at the same time, but how to make the excitement last?  Here are a few ideas:

© Youssouf Cader | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Youssouf Cader Dreamstime Stock Photos

A Seaside Memory Jar

  • Save some sand in a bag
  • Help your child sort the special items from their collection (there are likely to be a lot of weird and wonderful items in there!), and wash them together in the sea
  • Dry the sand and other items thoroughly at home
  • Find an attractive jar – a mason jar, or jam jar with a colourful lid are ideal – sterilise and dry it completely
  • Empty the sand into the base of the jar to create a mini-beach
  • Arrange the treasures on top
  • Seal the jar – it can be nice to decorate it with a bow, and a sticker to note the date the items were collected

A Memory Box

This is the same idea as the jar, a place to store your seaside gems, but allows you to also add in a few photos, and pictures you child has drawn to reflect the day.  Decorating the box with seaside shapes, starfish, mermaids, sailboats, and so on can make it extra-special.

A Shell Box

  • Collect a good selection of shells from the beach
  • Wash and dry them at home
  • Find a sturdy cardboard box about the size of jewellery box
  • Paint it in seaside colours
  • Glue the shells to the outside
  • Your child can use it as a treasure chest for other items found on the beach, or anything else they choose

A Sand Picture

  • Bring some sand home from the beach and dry it thoroughly
  • Take a large tray, a thick piece of card, and some white PVA glue
  • Choose a seaside theme with your child, and sketch a few simple shapes – a boat, a starfish, a whale, a fish, whatever fires their imagination
  • Daub glue liberally onto the card in the form of the shape you have drawn
  • Sprinkle the sand all over the glue and leave it to dry
  • Shake off the excess sand and there you have a sandy seaside shape
  • A light spray with a fixing agent such as Spray Mount will help to prevent any excess sand falling from the picture over time