Summer is here! That means it’s time for family trips to the beach. If you’d like to capture special memories of the sun and sand to talk about later (because shared memories are some of the best memories!), try making this beach in a jar with your children! (Be sure to keep reading for some educational activities related to the beach too!)
Several years ago, we started to create these beach in a jar keepsakes. We were looking for something to help us remember our beach days, and these unique and personalized jars were more meaningful than any other souvenirs we could find.
Not only do our jars remind us of special family times together, but we have also used these to spark educational lessons and discussions as we’ve noticed differences in the sand and shells we collect.
Supplies for Making a Beach in a Jar
- glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (Mason jars or decorative jars from a craft store work well.)
- paper tags (You can make your own tags with card stock and scissors.)
- pen (Sharpie, pen, or color pencils to write on the tag)
- string, yarn, or ribbon
- beach-related stickers or stamps (optional)
- shells and sand
How to Make a Beach in a Jar
Step 1: Wash the glass jar and lid and dry completely.
Step 2: Add sand to the bottom of the jar, and then arrange shells on top of the sand. Place the lid on the jar and tighten securely.
Step 3: Decorate your tag. We usually include the date and location. You can use stamps, pencils, stickers, etc. to add more decoration to the tag.
Step 4: Attach the tag to the jar using string, ribbon, or yarn.
** Be very careful transporting your beach in a jar back home! Make sure the glass does not get damaged and try not to shake the jar too much or the shells could get buried under the sand!**
Beach Education Ideas
When you get back home, you can use your jar to remind you of your fun-filled times at the beach. For a little added education, try some of the ideas listed below.
1. Learn about shells and the creatures that live (or once lived) in them.
Research the types of shells you collected and the creatures that once used these shells for shelter.
2. Make a beach in a jar for each beach you visit.
Create more jars as you visit different beaches and compare the color and consistency of the sand of one beach to another. (This is great for observation skills in all ages!)
3. Try more sand-related educational activities!
Take a look at these 5 Easy STEM Activities to Do at the Beach for more educational sand-related ideas! Be sure to look before you go to the beach, though, because some of these suggestions should be done while you’re there!
4. Do some map work and some math.
On a map, mark the beaches your family visits over the years and note interesting landmarks, animals, or shells you find there. While you’ve got your maps out, plot the distance from one beach to another. How many miles is it between those two beaches? How long would it take you to drive from one of the beaches to the other? Calculate the amount you would spend on gas by figuring how many gallons of gas it would take to travel from Point A to Point B based on the gas mileage of the vehicle you’ll be taking on your imaginary drive and current gas prices.
5. Try notebooking!
Use the code HHMSeaLife to get $4 off a set of Sea Life Notebook Pages from Hip Homeschool Moms! That means you’ll pay only $2.99 for a set of 58 printable notebooking pages including 39 sea life pages (listed by common name) along with 19 lined companion pages to use for recording additional information. (Go to the Sea Life Notebook Pages link for a much more detailed description of what’s included in the set.)
6. Play games that are fun but that encourage creative thinking.
7. Read with your children (whether they’re littles, middles, or teens).
Reading is a wonderful activity to do with your children no matter their ages! I love reading at the beach (or any other time, to be honest), and I love sharing books with my kids. If you’re not sure what books to read, take a look at these 10 Books to Read This Summer. It’s not so much a book list as it is a list of suggestions for the kinds of books you might want to read with your children. Take a look! You may find yourself encouraged to branch out and try some books you otherwise wouldn’t have read together.
I hope you have a fun and interesting summer filled with special family memories!
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Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 31 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three adult children. Hannah, age 27, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 25, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 19, was the last homeschool graduate. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow a garden every summer with limited success. (But she's learning!)