Every place we lived in brought new challenges with it. In Malta the biggest challenge was to survive indoors during the extremely hot day hours. It was kind of easy: a small snap set pool in the balcony was the best solution ever. Here in Ireland my biggest challenge is also the weather but for very different reasons: cold and wet winter days.
I don’t know about other kids, but my daughters need to get out every day. Rain or snow won’t stop them. I find that if we stay inside, we all go into crazy-mode and all that unleashed energy is detrimental to all of us. That is why I try to think of different activities to engage them, even while indoors.
I’ve came to learn that winter here, in Ireland, is tricky. Weather is quite unpredictable. I believe that the best type of project to go for is something that combines a bit of outdoors and indoors, to keep the girls engaged even inside the house. So, when weather is good you get out and start phase one of the project, in this case, collection of seashells.
When weather is not that good, you set phases 2 and 3: Preparing and Creating. I’ll explain with more detail.
Phase 1: collection
Easy and fun. Just get out there, find a nice beach, bring one or two buckets and collect shells. I tried to motivate them to find as many different types as possible. They couldn’t stop! We were having so much fun until it got too windy and cold and it was time to go back home.
Phase 2: Preparing the shells
We did this a few days after collecting the shells. We started by selecting the better looking shells and then we cleaned them. We carefully washed them in the bathroom sink with some lukewarm water, soap and old toothbrushes. Its amazing to see them doing one activity for so long. Playing with water is always so engaging, works like magic keeping kids on their toes.
During this process, they started noticing the different types of shells and instinctively started a classification of them. I was amazed. They also played with them arranging the shells by size or colour. Once again, play is the best way to learn.
At night, while they were asleep I checked them myself, discarded any broken shells and just made a smaller selection of the best representative of each type of shell.
Phase 3: making the seashell wall art
The hardest part of all was to successfully make the little holes in the shells. I guess there are other ways to do it. After trying with a nail and a hammer, I went with the drill and the smallest drill bit I had. Then, super gently, started to put pressure on the shell. Piece of advice: practice with some discarded shells first.
Once you get that going, the rest is easy and fun. Get a stick, some cord and design your wall art! Ours is still hanging in our playroom. The girls are very proud of their hard work.
Those little hands and feet were so anxious to start working!!