A recipe for delighting young children often includes simple and thoughtful activities that increase fine motor skills while stimulating curiosity. This shell collection fit the bill. After several shell infused afternoons, my mother whispered "I have some larger ones, you know..." Out to her shed she went and returned with a box of shells anyone would have oohhed and aahhhed over, but imagine the little girl that had been immersed in shells for days. Ecstasy, really.
Our next visit was filled with washing and caring for them. As I said, simple and thoughtful. With a tub of slightly soapy water, a little rag, and a drying cloth my daughter proceeded to happily wash shells for much longer than anticipated. Do you have a collection of shells? Set up a washing station: it's worth doing.
Soon my mother introduced a little ladle and a glass vase. She discarded the soapy water and added clean water to the tub. Carefully, my daughter ladled the water into the vase. She selected some favorite shells and dropped them in gently.
To her surprise many shells gave birth to a little water bubble... like little pearls.
Filling a glass jar (or vase) of shells is something many of us have done. There's a reason... it's like holding a bit of the magical underwater world in our hands. I find it just as captivating now as I did when I was little.
I always associate them with summer, but really you can spend time with shells at any time of year.