We don’t exactly live near the beach. It’s about an hour drive — not too bad. So, with the distance, going to the beach is usually an all-day thing. That being the case, as a homeschool family, we like to mix in a little bit of education with our fun (or a little fun with our education, depending on how you look at it).
So, when we head to the beach we bring our sun-tan lotion, our sand toys, our towels, and our science journals. Just as we do when we analyze bugs in the backyard, the kids write a list of questions they have, based upon observations. We might wonder:
How long do crabs live?
How often does a hermit crab change its shell?
How long can barnacles live in open air?
How salty is sea water?
How did dolphins evolve? (I’m curious as to how they “gradually” developed a blow hole.)
Do jellyfish have brains? How do they sting?
Some of the answers to these questions can be discovered through observation, right there on the beach. Some of the questions will be explored on another day — perhaps with our old friend the library or our newer friend the internet. And some of the questions don’t have any definitive answers yet. The point is — even on a fun-filled trip to the beach, it’s good to press that “Scientist Button” in your kid’s brain. Get them to ask questions. Get them to explore the extraordinary everyday world.