We just returned from the Gulf of Mexico, and children are fascinated with all the seashells we have collected. So, we will be learning about seashells hands-on in our Beach Inspired Nature Study below.

Have you tried spelling with seashells? It puts a new twist on language lessons and sparks creativity! And have you ever found two parts of a broken shell in the ocean? It happened for the first time: I found a piece and, shortly thereafter, my hubby found the missing ๐piece distance away from the fist find! It's the shell children used to spell " C" for BEACH.

Inspired by all the seashells we have collected, I set this simple white rice sensory bin so that we can learn hands-on about the different shells. We are referring to a beloved Nature Anatomy book.

We also put our seashells to use while making numbers hands-on.

I had a seashell ice mold and I knew I had to put it to use. Place small shells and cover with water; freeze until solid. Once frozen, offer your child some salt and warm water. We are using this dropper set and this mini beaker set. Buy silicon molds here.

Once all the๐seashells were rescued from the ice, children enjoyed โ๏ธweighing them and determining what various numerical combinations the weight can equate to. For example, here, the seashells on the right equal to 20 g., which is also 10+5+5 or 10+ 10 or 5+5+5+5. Montessori beads make this presentation very concrete as the child can visually discern and count the beads. Buy a very similar balancing scale here

Children also enjoyed color-matching the seashells to Montessori Color Tablets Box 3. This activity was inspired by Jess Momducator ~ see more on color box 3 matching here

We also did a simple numeral to quantity association with sea-shells and "pearls."  Offer your child tongs and invite to fill the corresponding number of pearls to each ๐shell. To reinforce the numerical understanding, we are also using Montessori Golden Beads. This is a very concrete math lesson for smaller children ( 2- 3 yr).

We are taking our math numeral to quantity association up a notch by counting teens and tens with our seashells, pearls and Montessori Ten bars.

I would compose a random number on a Teen/Tens Board and then offer Adrian to put together that number in a colored rice sensory bin using ten bars and pearls. (To color the rice, simply add few squirts of vinegar to dry rice in a ziplock bag and add the desired amount of food coloring). Adrian also has to find the corresponding number on a Montessori Hundred Board which further reinforces number recognition and sequencing.

Exploring shells ๐ฌ๐close up. Nothing spurs more curiously in a child than a sight of a little intricate ๐shell or a ๐ฆhermit crab picking from its shelter or tiny granular of sand mixed with smooth polished pebbles … "There must be [a] provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature." ~ Maria Montessori.  (Buy our Microscope here.)

Exploring ๐seashells hands-on. Julia would pick a shell, we would read about it, look under a ๐ฌmicroscope and then she would sketch it and write some learned facts. Here, Julia explored Turbonille ~ which is a species of sea snail. Interestingly, this shell always has twelve whorls and it can be found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean Sea.

Adrian also enjoyed raking in our โฎ๏ธZen Garden. (See it in action here ~ Educational Materials, ๐Books and Toys ๐ฅ Review.) We are also reading Encyclopedia of Animals ~ an A-Z encyclopedia offering children fascinating information with explanations of classification, adaptation, migration, and conservation issues. Your little reader will gain fascinating insights into the behaviors, biology, and environments of the planetโs wildlife. Here, we are reading about a starfish.

Exploring Sand Dollars hands-on.  Sand Dollars are closely related to starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. They have a round-shaped body that is usually three inches wide, with flattened, rigid exoskeleton (called "test") with the star-shaped mark on the surface. Interestingly, they need not be white but can be blue, purple, green, brown or black colored, depending on the species. Sand dollars move across the ocean floor using their miniature spines and they will escape predators by hiding in the sandy seafloor by using spines to dig sand. Sand dollars can survive 6 to 10 years in the wild and they can be found in the temperate and tropical parts of Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.

See more summer-inspired activities here ~ โ๏ธSummer Themed Unit Study.