Summer aquatic adventures!

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It’s getting HOT which means we are finding ways to creatively enjoy our time inside while the blistering heated blanket of summer covers the outside world.

Recently, Em and I were playing Go Fish, one of her favorites. The cards we were using had sea animals on them, and as we played I was reminded of a sea-themed album by The Whizpops called Sea Blue Sea (iTunesThe entire album is devoted marine life. Delivered in a personified context, The Whizpops sing from the perspective of the animal, narrating in a way that invites you into their habitat. As we listened to each song, our Go Fish game suddenly became a seek and find adventure. As we played, it was fun to call out which animals we heard on the album, i.e. Dolphins, Sea Turtles. Sea Blue Sea strikes just the right balance between education and entertainment as the material is brought to life through a cool blend of music. I love the variety of musical styles The Whizpops flow through starting with a mélange of Jazz, R&B and hip hop in the first track, “Coral Reef.” Sea-Blue-Sea-Album-Cover-Front-2014-1

After our game ended, and we continued to listen to Sea Blue Sea, my brain exploded with a bunch of ideas about how we could extend our sea exploration. I love when spontaneous creative combustion happens.

Below are some activities we have been enjoying. I invite you to join us and share some of the adventures and activities you’ve been enjoying.

1. YouTube: Sea Blue Sea, as I mentioned above, covers a wide array of sea life. Get to know more of them by finding some YouTube videos. The “Coral Reef,” “Manatee” and “Anglerfish” have spawned the most curiosity. In particular, what an aquatic biome is, why the Anglerfish “carries” a light around (“From the right angle, a luminescent rod dangles like a pale lantern deep in the fog.”) Manatees are marine mammals (“We’re just gentle mammals just lookin’ to munch some grass”), and once we learned that, we got into a discussion about what mammals are, identifying other mammals we know like ourselves, and what being endangered means. It’s also cute to call them “sea cows” for some reason (“We kinda look like cows with no legs”).

2. Practice reading and dig into marine science with downloadable lyrics for songs from Sea Blue Sea

3. Go to an aquarium and do a scavenger hunt to see how many creatures or sea plants you can find that also appear in the songs from Sea Blue Sea or work with whatever comes to mind.

4. While at the aquarium, observe the animals and take photos of them (where applicable – some exhibits prohibit flash photography) or bring drawing paper and sketch some of your favorites together. Visit the “petting” area if there is one.

5. This should really be number one, but play Go Fish with pictures of sea animals or make your own cards. There are many templates online, and for little ones you can make it a fun matching game as well with different colored fish or numbered fish.

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6. If you are up for an outdoor adventure, head to the water (either the beach or the bay or both!). If you have tide pools close to you, go visit a tide pool! We are lucky enough to live close to cool coastal beaches bustling with life. There is something so mesmerizing about seeing a violet sea urchin, touching a sea anemone or a starfish “in the wild.” Even watching the otherworldly grace of jellyfish is a meditative practice in and of itself.

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There may also be local organizations that you can explore with. A local SF Bay organization called Tree Frog Treks takes families and kids on exciting oceanic excursions. These trips are led by knowledgeable instructors who are experts in finding all kinds of creatures. On our trip, one instructor found an octopus and got inked!

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Marni Fylling recently published a book called Fylling’s Illustrated Guide to Pacific Coast Tide Pools. It’s a fascinating book with great illustrations and easy to read facts for kids.

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7. Check in with a marine science center/institute and see if there are any activities you can sign up for. Our local Marine Science Institute offers fishing excursions out to the bay, bay cleanup days, and even summer camps.

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