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Storytime at Home: Beach Days

Posted about 5 days ago by Sarah Fenninger
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Welcome to the Storytime at Home series! Every other week, we share a list of book options tied to a kid-approved theme, a craft you can set up to go along with the theme, songs/rhymes you can do during storytime, and additional enrichment activities. All books are available at Richmond Public Library, and crafts will involve items you likely have at home already! Our hope is that we can make it easy for you to share stories with your little ones and create a little bit of library magic at home. 

P.S. Love library storytimes? Take a look at all in-library storytime options here. There is a storytime for your child every morning at our various branches!

Okay, now to the fun stuff…

School’s out! The sun’s out! It’s time to get out and hit the beach – or at least read about it. The beach is such a fun topic to share with your children. Talking about the sights, sounds, smells, and senses you can experience at the beach opens up so many learning opportunities for young children. Exploring the beach via books is also a great way to support motor development. You can pretend to build sandcastles, jump over waves, pinch your crab claws, flap your seagull wings, and so much more. The library has many wonderful books about the beach, and we’ve included some of our favorites below. When you visit, you can also search ‘beach’ in our catalog, or ask a librarian to help you find the perfect one for you and your child.

Reading to your kiddos turns them into confident thinkers. Making books a regular part of your daily routine is a great way to build children’s love of reading and learning. Storytimes also help build excitement around reading to support their literacy development. 

Here are a few book options you can choose from for your beach-themed storytime.

There are many ways to make reading fun and engaging for your little one! Click the arrow below to see some of our favorite tips for bringing stories to life at home.

Click here to see some of our favorite reading tips
  • Point at the pictures and ask your child what they see. Help build their vocabulary by pointing to pictures and saying the word aloud. 
  • Ask your child questions about the story: What do you think will happen next? How do you think this character is feeling? This character is wearing a bathing suit; do you remember when we wore ours? 
  • Read with expression and enthusiasm, and use different voices for different characters. 
  • Act out what’s happening in the story. For example, if you’re reading about building sand castles, pretend to scoop the sand, pour it in the bucket, dump it out, etc. 
  • As your child gets older, count objects in a book, discuss the different colors they see, point out shapes in the story, etc. 
  • Snuggle up and be patient. Reading is great bonding time for you and your child. Take your time walking them through the story. If your child wants to turn the page or be finished with reading, that’s OK too. You don’t have to read every word or even every page for reading with your little one to be beneficial for their development. 

We love adding songs and rhymes to our storytimes. This is a great way to practice language with your child and support their physical (motor) development through movement. 

Here are two songs and rhymes you can use for this themed storytime.

Sing: A Day At The Beach
Tune: Wheels On The Bus

(hold hands in circle above head as you sing)
The sun at the beach is shining bright,
Shining bright, shining bright
The sun at the beach is shining bright,
All through the day 

Repeat with: 
Waves on the sea are rolling in (rolls arms around each other)
Dolphins in the sea go up and down (bring arms up and down)
Crabs near the rocks go pinch pinch pinch (pinch fingers together like crab claws)
Sand underfoot goes crunch, crunch, crunch (stomp feet)
Kids at the ocean splash and play (jump around)

Counting and Movement Rhyme: Five Little Seashells
Five little seashells lying on the shore, (hold hand up showing five fingers, count them with your child)
Swish! went the waves, and then there were four. (swish arms then hold up four fingers)
Four little seashells cozy as could be, (wrap arms around yourself to give a hug)
Swish! went the waves, and then there were three. (swish arms then hold up three fingers)
Three little seashells all pearly new, (wiggle fingers)
Swish! went the waves, and then there were two. (swish arms then hold up two fingers)
Two little seashells lying in the sun, (wave hand with two fingers back and forth)
Swish! went the waves, and then there was one. (swish arms then hold up one finger)
One little seashell lying all alone. (put one finger down on ground)
I picked it up, and then I took it home. (lift up finger, hold it in other hand)

Adding a craft along with a book is a great way to continue allowing your child to learn, explore, and grow. Crafts are a nice supplement as they encourage motor development, creativity, self-confidence, and more. 

In fact, art and craft activities:

  • Build fine motor skills. Actions such as painting, coloring, gluing, and cutting develop small muscles in small hands and improve coordination skills as children learn to use both hands at the same time. 
  • Support early literacy. When children make art, they learn vocabulary and how to follow directions when getting verbal instructions from parents and caregivers. They also boost their communication skills via talking about their work!
  • Teach early math concepts. Math skills are used frequently in arts and crafts. Kids learn about and recognize different shapes, count and sort art supplies, and even measure out materials. 
  • Encourage creativity. Art helps develop creativity, self-expression, problem-solving, and curiosity. 
  • Boost self-esteem. Doing arts and crafts can give children a sense of achievement and allow them to take pride in their work, which builds confidence. 
  • Offer bonding time. Kids love spending quality time with parents and caregivers, and arts and crafts are a great opportunity for this.

Here is a craft activity you can do along with the beach theme. 

Materials Needed

  • Paper or plastic disposable bowls
  • Tissue paper, cut into squares
    • Alternative: Markers or paint
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Googly eyes

Source: Natural Beach Living

Directions

  • If using tissue paper, rub glue evenly all over back of bowl until covered.
  • Press the tissue paper all over, slightly overlapping.
  • Let dry completely.
  • If using markers or paint, have your child decorate the bottom of their bowl as desired. Let dry before next step.
  • Cut a small hole into the top of bowl, just large enough to fit the ribbon through.
  • Take a piece of ribbon, about 18 inches long, fold it in half and stick both open ends through the hole. Knot it on the inside of the bowl. This will be the hanger.
  • Now cut 12 pieces of different color ribbons, about 1 yard each, and tie together in a knot at one end.
  • Tape the knot end inside the bowl where the other knot you tied earlier is. Make sure it is centered.
  • Glue on the googly eyes and let dry.
  • The jellyfish are ready to hang!

The fun doesn’t have to end at books, songs, and a craft. There are many ways to enrich a storytime with additional activities and lessons. Here are a few ideas for you and your child: 

  • Go visit one of the local beaches on the James River – Texas Beach, The Wetlands, Chapel Island, Canal Beach are all great options.
  • Take a day trip to one of the larger beaches nearby – Virginia Beach, Colonial Beach, Jamestown Beach, Bear Creek Lake State Park, Lake Anna State Park, etc.
  • Make your own kinetic sand or sand dough to build sandcastles.
  • Play with beach balls outside – throw, kick, and toss to your heart’s content!
  • Have a “beach day” at home or at a local public pool or splash pad. Grab some chairs, pack some beach snacks, lather up the sunscreen, and create your own beach magic.
  • Set up a beach-themed sensory bin for your child. Fill with sand and add some animal figures, shells, etc. Let your child scoop and dig in the sand!
  • Build beach items with playdough. Can you make a shell? A crab? A sandcastle?
  • Do other beach-themed arts and crafts activities. There are so many options! We love this one for a fun keepsake.
  • Create a beach-themed snack with your child like a jolly jellyfish, odd octopus, turtle treat, or some under the sea bars.

We share these Storytime at Home posts twice a month, so be sure to check back soon for more. You can also search “#storytimeathome” to see all past posts.

Have a suggestion for the next theme we cover? Email Sarah at sarah.fenninger@rva.gov and let us know!

Sarah Fenninger

Sarah Fenninger is a lifelong book worm and library lover, and an enthusiastic appreciator of puns, creative outlets, silliness, and FUN. She considers herself lucky to be able to combine all of these things into a role as a Library Associate in Youth Services and Outreach with Richmond Public Library. Sarah loves interactive children's books and singing songs that promote motor development and movement. When she's not at work preparing crafts or reading silly books about dinosaurs in underwear, Sarah can be found at one of Richmond's many local parks/trails and spending time with family, including her husband, daughter, cat, and two chickens.

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