Thursday, 5 May 2011

'Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside...'

'...I do like to be beside the sea.' So goes the popular music hall ditty by John A. Glover-Kind.

But if you don't like it, or can't easily get there, here are five ways to recreate a bit of British seaside magic in your own backyard.

1) Fill a bag ready for your beach trip.

I prepared one for my Under Fives group at the Geffrye Museum and we began the session by unpacking it together to establish our theme. At home I simply handed over the huge bag of goodies to very a excited Buddy and Daisy.

In our beach bag they found:

  • beach towels
  • sun-cream
  • sunglasses
  • sun-hats
  • buckets and spades
  • a fishing net
  • toy binoculars (for spotting ships)
  • a magnifying glass (for rock pool investigation)
  • pots of seashells and pebbles
  • a toy bristle worm and anenome
  • bath-time toys; fishes, sea creatures and boats
  • a mini home-made kite

When they announced 'Let's play seasides' I knew Buddy and Daisy would be occupied for a while. Using the paddling pool, already out in the garden, they became happily involved in creating their own imaginary world; they sunbathed, 'applied' sun-cream, and filled the pool with pebbles, sea creatures and fish - scooping them up with their nets and plopping them back in the water over and over again.

2) Make your own rock pool - a physical and musical activity.

At the museum, with about 15 children, we made our own huge imaginary rock pool. Sitting in a circle we threw in invisible pebbles, and pretended to be seaweed - waving our arms when underwater, and making crunchy, rigid shapes when exposed to the air. Then the children entered the rock pool like sea creatures; we had crabs, starfish, anenomes, jelly fish, bristle worms and there was even a shark in there - I told you it was a big rock pool. I played them Saint-Saens' Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals and responding to the music they danced, swam, crawled and shimmied around. The water was provided by the grown-ups in attendance - they wafted a large piece of turquoise chiffon about a metre above the children. We also played a fun variation of Sleeping Bunnies (Sleeping Sea Creatures) - altering the lyrics slightly; all under the undulating blue fabric. It was all very under-the-sea; beautiful and magical.

[No photos of this, I was too busy playing...]

3) Read a story about a rock pool adventure.

We had the wonderful Julia Donaldson's Sharing A Shell - such a fun story starring a hermit crab, a bristle worm and a sea anenome. It has great glittery and shimmery rock pool pictures and plenty opportunities for counting and joining in.

'Three friends sharing a shell
happy as house-mates can be,
rocketing all round the rock pool
in their wonderful home for three.'

4) Make your own seaside souvenir; a paper plate rock pool.

We used:

  • paper plates - we had blue plates, but of course watery paint colours could be added to create the background
  • shredded paper seaweed - or use shredded leaves from your garden or local park
  • pebble-printed paper - or use gravel mixed with PVA glue
  • neoprene shells and sea creature pictures or stickers - or draw onto plain sticky labels
  • pipe-cleaner bristle worms
  • lots of silver glitter mixed with PVA glue to stick everything down and make your rock pool shimmer in the seaside sunlight

And after all that exertion...

5. Share some good old-fashioned Fish & Chips for tea.


  1. Wonderful imaginative play and ideas! Following now from It's Playtime!


  2. I love this! Thanks for sharing such great ideas. X

  3. Thanks so much for your lovely comments! x


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