Do you have an overabundant amount of seashells from vigilant little collectors? Here is a little game we cooked up to put (some) of the shells to good use.
Gather an even amount of clamshells and then corresponding pairs of small shells that will fit inside the clamshell.
Some shell ideas: slipper shells, orange and yellow toenail shells, snail shells, mussels, green/clear/ brown seaglass, small rocks in similar colors (we happened to find two purple rocks - made Abby's day.) The possibilities are endless!
Give the shells a good wash to remove sand.
Glue the shells to the inside of the clamshell. I started with hot glue (because every normal person brings their hot glue gun on vacation, right?) but found that did not adhere with all the shells, especially the heavier ones. Gorilla Glue was on hand so that was my next go to - I followed the directions, but used way too much, hence the tan ring around some of the objects like the purple shells. Gorilla Glue seems to be holding the shells though. Just use less than what you think you need. Super Glue would always work.
Mix up the pairs of shells and set up like a typical memory game. You know your child best - so limit the number of pairs based on his or her development. Perhaps start out with four to six shells. Memory games such as this are great because they not only help build a child's attending skills, but turn taking skills as well.
Abby found her purple rocks right away.
My turn - no match! Mama struggles with memory games, so Abby always beats me... fair and square.
If you do not want to glue actual shells under the clamshells, you could use ocean themed stickers. If you do not have access to a beach or seashells, I believe local craft stores have big containers of shells for sale.
Here is another memory game that uses fabric and felt and strays away from the typical paper/picture game.
while watching abby climb on these rocks, i couldn't help but think this is a visual image of my journey as a mother - feelings of fear and joy at the exact same time. how does that work?!? i talk a good game - posting stuff like letting my kid play with knives, but at the end of the day, i am constantly questioning. constantly judging and always wanting to do more.
it was thrilling that abby wanted to climb by herself. i remember climbing these same rocks as a little girl. wearing out the back of my bathing suit so fast. the fact that abby wanted to try this by herself was oddly surprising. slowly and deliberately. calculated. she made her way up and down. up and down.
and yet despite her cautiousness, my heart was in my throat. you can do it little girl. go. do an arabesque at the top to celebrate your victory. and in the same breath - be careful. slow down. please don't fall. it will hurt. your knees and my heart.
and so the dance of mothering continues. joy and fear. frustration and patience. freedom and boundaries. confidence and doubt.
never has a job required so much of my love, so much of my energy, so much sacrifice, so much creativity. and when my girl makes it to the top of the rock and JUMPS into the water unafraid and filled with excitement, for a moment i let go. of the fear. of the doubt. and i am unafraid and filled with that same excitement.
i am learning and growing right alongside this brave little girl.
4.) make fire to enjoy while reading old Martha Stewart, County Living, Traditional Home magazines from the library. this is of course after the babes go to bed. and your swirling head can somewhat think again.