Summers Bay, sunshine, splashing in the shallows, schools of small fish swimming past our feet, soldier crabs in the sand, and even the guest appearance of a stingray swimming slightly out of reach. We were delighted by the spontaneous S learning that we found at our trip to Sommers Bay (Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania). And while we’re told this is not unusual for this location it’s not something you can usually plan for in an outing. (As much as you’d like to, wildlife just doesn’t run to a predictable booking schedule!)
Sand sculptures on the other hand are something you can create at any beach (or large sand play area). Bring a bucket, spade and an (adult sized) shovel to get digging! The kids (and you!) will be amazed at what you can create in a beach trip.
First up we chose a location, and the kids told me what to draw as I followed their collective instructions mapping out a big tummy, curly tail, long nose and head on the sand. We then all got our little spades and started to dig a big trench around the shape (piling the sand in the middle of the picture, as you would when making a mote around a sand castle.) Gradually the children tired of digging and got a bit distracted safely splashing in the shallows near us, and generally had a good time in the water. As us adults continued digging (and sharing the few facts we had learnt about seahorses!) the children came back and joined us. By the time we were ready to pat down and sculpt the shape, all the children were involved again. The giant 4m seahorse came together remarkably fast, and then much time was spent as the children decorated it with shells.
The older children planned and placed and organised themselves on a mission to complete the seahorse (very important work, this seahorse building!) while the younger delighted in sticking shells in the sand.
Sand play is always a winner for many reasons. It’s the elemental stages of physics, it’s tactile, it’s physical… and when done in a team like this the social development, planning, and problem solving involved is spectacular.
Plus it’s satisfying. Go build a giant seahorse that will be washed away at the next tide. It’s brilliant.