We did more than watch as early childhood educator Sarah Glassco read the book Senses at the Seashore by Shelley Rotner (Millbrook Press 2006) during her presentation on using imagination to explore science concepts. She had us feeling warm sand, holding a shell to our ears to listen, feeling and tasting clean salt water on our lips (from a spray bottle), smelling wet seaweed and imagining that we were at a place called a “beach”.
Pair the book with others, such as The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow and Wendell Minor (HarperCollins 1994), Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Mark Astrella (Charlesbridge 2001) and Beach Feet (Being in the World) by Kiyomi Konagaya and illustrated by Masamitsu Saito (Enchanted Lion Books 2012).
You can repeat the sensory activities and add a few more. Walking though dry and then wet sand, feeling the sun on your skin, hearing the crash of the surf (cymbals?), running as though we are sandpipers–what else can simulate a beach experience? For those who do not live near the ocean, seaweed can be purchased in Asian food sections of groceries and re-hydrated by putting it into water for a few hours. Although it has been washed, the wonderful smell of the sea can still be experienced.
Where else can we “go” with our imagination and some sensory experiences?