This term we decided not to return to our Forest School class. Instead, we are trying a little of our own Beach School. One or two (or three) mornings a week we make our way to the beach to explore, have fun and learn a little. The beach provides an ideal learning environment for children who can learn in-situ, hands-on and be able to run and jump and generally make as much noise as they like.
It makes sense to choose one or two regular spots to visit each week so the children can observe the changes in the environment and get to know the surroundings closely.
To get started we assembled our Beach Learning Kit. It's easy for us to have our materials already packed and ready to take to the beach.
Our Beach Learning Kit includes:
- Photographic Guide to Seashore Life
- Pastels & hard-backed sketch pad
- Children's binoculars
- Large magnifying glass
- Small bucket - for collecting interesting items
- Hand shovel
- Children's camera
- Wooden Cloud Identifier
- Other resource books:
With these materials the learning opportunities are endless.
When arriving at the beach we don't know what we are going to find. The learning is led by the child and by the environment!
On this morning we found washed up Blue Bottle Jellyfish and the rest of the morning was all about jellyfish and other dangers in our ocean.
As so often occurs, I'm learning alongside my child. Until this day, I knew very little about the Blue Bottle Jellyfish.
Other interesting but unexpected topics we've been exploring include reading Beach Signs and helicopters. There is usually at least one helicopter flyover while we are at the beach.
A net can be useful for scooping and catching things like seaweed.
We've learnt a lot about respecting our natural environment. The longer we spend at the beach the more sea creatures we find. Hello, little crab!
If you need a starting point for beach learning Adventures by the Sea - Nature Play SA’s Coastal Field Guide (AU) has lots of ideas.
Adventures by the Sea - Nature Play SA’s Coastal Field Guide is a flip book/guide that has activity ideas and also some identification cards we can use to identify what we are looking at like plants, insects, reptiles, marine animals, birds, shells, eggs, seagrasses, and crabs. It is made for South Australian beaches but I've found it relevant to us in New South Wales.
We take pastels to the beach in case Otto feels like drawing or documenting.
Our beach always has interesting shells to explore and learn about. Here Otto is reading My First Discoveries The Seashore.
It doesn't need to be said, the beach is a great place for gross motor play.
The beach is a great place to learn about clouds! Otto is using our Wooden Cloud Identifier c/o Benedkyt & Sylvester.
A Children's camera is a nice addition to our beach learning kit. Otto can take photographs without me having to worry too much about the camera, it's not waterproof but it's really robust.
When we get home we can print off our photographs and add them to a journal.
A beach or nature journal is a great place for reflection and for further learning.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you so much for your support!