Archive for the ‘Fun Summer Activities’ Category

Tide Pools of Cannon Beach

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

tide-pools-of-cannon-beachThe tide pools of Cannon Beach were beautiful. Here are some pictures we took on our recent vacation to Cannon Beach. You have to look up the tides of Cannon Beach in order to find out when the low tides are, so that you can find the tide pools. There are no tide pools at high tide because the ocean is covering the area. It’s only when the tides retreat and leave behind pockets of water that you will find beautiful creatures residing in their midst.

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-4If you go to Haystack Rock (the triangular rock jutting out of the water), you will find the best tide pools there. We went at three different times of the day, and there is a big difference in what you see. When we went in the afternoon, there were lots of people, and it was hard to find even one sea star. We finally found one, and after half an hour at the tide pools, we had located about five sea stars in total. There were lots of anemones and hermit crabs.

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-2The second time we went was in the early morning around 6am, which is a much better time to go. Not very many people were there. We saw a large crab and many other creatures we hadn’t seen the previous afternoon. Best of all, we saw maybe 50 different sea stars, all hugging each other and overlapping sometimes. It was beautiful. Up on the rock you could see puffins nesting, if you looked closely with binoculars. I’ve always loved puffins, so this was a nice surprise.

barnacles-at-cannon-beachThe sides of the rocks were covered with barnacles and other shellfish. The rocks were alive, as you could hear them clicking shut. My son saw a couple of mussels opened, and he touched them before they retreated into their shell and snapped shut like a Vanus Flytrap!

tide-pools-of-cannon-beach-3Here is my daughter picking up a hermit crab. She liked the hermit crab to walk along her hand. After playing with it for a while, she placed it back into the water.

hermit-crab-cannon-beachKelp covered a lot of the rocks as well. In the early morning, you could pull back the kelp like a curtain to find crabs, fish, and other sea creatures that were hiding from the light.

kelp-of-cannon-beachMy husband went to the tide pools at 3am one night when he couldn’t sleep, and he said the tide pools were spectacular! He saw enormous sea stars that were two feet across. He saw crabs that scurried away when he shone his flashlight on them. The colors were beautiful as he shone his flashlight on the sea creatures in the tide pools in the middle of the night. Unfortunately my husband didn’t take a camera with him, and the tide pools themselves were an unexpected surprise.

starfish-at-cannon-beach

As we sat around the campfire one night, my son Stephen wanted to hear more about the tide pools in the middle of the night. My husband’s description seemed incredible, and we wished we had another night in which to grab flashlights and explore the tide pools when they were thriving with so much life!

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How to Build a Sand Castle

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

how-to-build-a-sand-castle

We saw sand castles on Cannon Beach as we were walking to the tide pools, so we snapped pictures of some of them. I have always loved sand castles! The best ones have a specific method for why they hold together so well. Here are some tips to building a sand castle, followed by a fun video showing each of these steps.

How to Build a Sand Castle

Step 1: Carve a circle, build a trench, and dump the sand in the middle of the circle.

Carve a circle with a shovel in the sand, the area where you want to build your sand castle. (You could make a square or rectangle instead if you want, like the picture above.) Then start digging a trench at the circle line, piling the sand in the middle of the circle in a big heap.

how-to-build-a-sand-castle

Step 2: Get buckets of water, and dump them into the middle of the sand pile.

You need lots and lots of water, so go back and forth from the water to the sand circle, dumping the water in the middle.

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Step 3: Build the castle mountain, from which you will carve the castle.

The woman in the video used a large bottomless bucket to build the main part of her castle, but most of us don’t have that. Instead, you can just build up a mountain of wet sand, packing it down tight as you go, because you will want to carve it next.

Step 4: Carve the castle.

Carve the shape of the castle little by little, starting at the top and moving down. You can add stairs, windows, castle turrets, and other details. Use a simple table knife if you don’t have sand sculpting supplies. You can also use buckets filled with wet sand, turned upside-down.

simple-sand-castle

Step 5: Add the final details.

Add bridges and carve the shape of bricks into the walls of the castle. You can get as elaborate as you want. Then stand back and admire your work.

sand-castle-bridgeHere is a fantastic video I found on how to build a sand castle, using each of these steps:

We saw a Lord of the Rings sand castle as we were walking along. My husband and sons thought the Mountains of Mordor were super cool!

lord-of-the-rings-sand-castleHere is a closer picture from above the Lord of the Rings sand castle, showing more of the terrain:

lord-of-the-rings-sandcastle-2We thoroughly enjoyed these sand castles! Every June there is a sand castle contest where even more spectacular sand castles are built!

Related product: The Wonderful World of Sand and Dirt

Summer Beach Scavenger Hunt (free PDF)

Monday, July 7th, 2014

summer-beach-scavenger-hunt

Here is a fun Summer Beach Scavenger Hunt for you to print out:

When you’re at the beach, you hear the sound of waves lapping against the shore, and you smell the salt water sprayed all around you. Why not capture some of those things in photographs? My husband and I took the following beach photos. We took many photos of footprints, for example, and we chose the best one, where my husband decided to get the waves of the ocean in the background. You can also give prizes for the best photos in each category of your scavenger hunt. Here is a list of some things that you would find on a beach:

Summer Beach Scavenger Hunt

1. Footprints in the sand

footprints-in-the-sand
2. Seaweed

seaweed
3. Driftwood

driftwood
4. Seashell or sea urchin

seashells

sea-urchin5. Smooth rock

smooth-rock
6. Feather

feather
7. Crab shell

crab-shell
8. Sand castle or fort

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9. Barnacles

barnacles
10. Seagull

ocean-scene

11. Moss

moss
12. Large rocks jutting into the water

large-rocks-jutting-into-water
13. Clouds on the horizon

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14. Pile of natural items from the beach

pile-of-natural-beach-junk
15. Holes in the sand

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16. Insect

insect
17. Tangled hair

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18. Sand dollar

sand-dollar
19. Sea foam

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20. Sunset

beach-sunset

Milk Fireworks

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

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My kids created milk fireworks with whole milk, dish detergent, and egg dye. You will laugh when you hear that I found this idea in a torn out page from Family Fun Magazine, and the date on the bottom of the page was over 10 years ago! I grabbed the page and wondered why I had never done this simple experiment that takes less than five minutes.

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First you need to buy some whole milk, because you need the fat in the milk for this experiment to work. This might also work with liquid whipping cream, since it has even more fat.

Pour the whole milk into a clear dish. If you don’t want to waste so much milk, you can use a smaller dish. Also take into consideration that you can’t feed this milk to your cat after the dish soap is in it. But if you hate whole milk, that’s where you can put the rest of the carton that you didn’t need: in your cat dish!

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Have your kids drip food coloring into the milk. Now pour the liquid soap into the whole milk. Enjoy the show!

You should start seeing the colors swirling around like a tye dyed shirt. The fat from the milk caused the food coloring to float at first, but then the liquid soap broke up the fat globules, causing the colors to expand and swirl into each other!

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