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Volume 1 Issue 1
June 26, 2003

Welcome to a Sneak Preview issue of EARLY CHILDHOOD EDBYTES! EduPuppy.com and EducationWorld.com have teamed up to produce this new, FREE, e-newsletter.

As a subscriber to the former EduPuppy email newsletter, you have been automatically subscribed to this new newsletter. Beginning in August, look for award-winning, top-notch resources and curriculum ideas to be delivered directly into your e-mailbox. Each biweekly issue of the Early Childhood EdBytes newsletter will include a brief article on a theme of interest to preschool and primary-level educators, integration ideas, tips and tricks, links to practical online resources, and -- of course -- a few surprises!

If this newsletter does not meet your current needs, please see the Unsubscribe notes at the bottom of this email. In addition, feel free to pass along this sneak-preview edition of Early Childhood EdBytes to friends and colleagues who have interests in early childhood education.

This sneak preview is brought to you by Educators Protection Group.

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Sand, Surf, and Sun -- A Formula for Fun!


Who said sand castles are only for kids? I spent summers at my family's cottage on a little pond in Maine every year until I was 16. I learned to walk on a neighbor's sandy beach, dug for treasures along the shore, and baked "mud pies" in the old stone grill. Often mom would announce a last minute day-trip to Wells or Ogunquit Beach and we would quickly pack a crate of sand toys, buckets, and fishnets. Chasing seagulls and catching sand crabs with my grandfather is a permanent part of who I am. He would often bring his kites, which we would fly high all day as we built sandcastles, sand cities, and memories.

How many of us can recall special moments in our lives that touch us deep inside and reawaken the child within? As a teacher I was able to draw from my experiences as a child, and share the joy and wonder of discovery. Now that I am a parent, it is even more fun to tell the "old stories," as my children refer to them!

The activities and resources within this special preview issue of Early Childhood EdBytes offer some great ideas for learning fun and creating memories for you and the children whose memories will bear the positive imprint of your care.

Kristen Hammond
CEO, EduPuppy.com


Want to see some great sand castles? Check out these on the Web!

* First stop...Sand Castle Central at http://www.sandcastlecentral.com/. Here you will find sand sculptures, free tips for beginners, information on the best sand-carving tools, updated contest and master sculptor information, related links, and LOTS of photos!

* Utilizing some 3,500 tons (yes, TONS!) of sand and an international crew of master sand sculptors, the works of Jules Verne are being created in sand at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark in South Padre Island, Texas. These sculptures are being treated with an environmentally friendly sealant so they last all summer long! You will find terrific "in progress" pictures of HUGE scale castle building at http://www.sandcastleisland.com/photos/index.html.

* For loads of images of sand structures, use Google.com, click on the IMAGES tab, and search for "sand castles." You will find great photos! My particular favorite is a "painting" of Santa and his elves at the beach. [Note: ALWAYS PREVIEW IMAGES before sharing them with children, as Google might bring up some inappropriate images of sand builders wearing their "birthday suits!"]


* Create an "inside sandbox." Use a large plastic storage box, a plastic hard-sided swim pool, or a covered character sandbox. (You have seen them at Walmart and most toy stores. They come in the shapes of a turtle, crab, fish, or tugboat...) This inside sandbox makes a great prop, and helps create a beach environment in the classroom. Besides, once it turns sunny and warm, you can move it outside and fill it up with water!

* Dribble castles work well for inside play, especially for tabletop building. You can fill a ketchup squeeze bottle (with the tip cut off a bit) with "liquid" sand. Sand should be the consistency of drinkable yogurt!

* Beach Bucket Basketball! Bury buckets in the sand so that the rims are even with the ground. "Shoot" plastic or foam balls into the holes, assigning point values according to distance.

For additional ideas, Parents Magazine had a great collection of sand fun and games in the June/July 2003 issue. Family Fun Magazine is also a great source for activities.


* Use all kinds of forms for sand building. Use buckets, pans, old Tupperware, PVC pipe, plastic flowerpots, Pringles potato chip cans, film canisters, Crystal Light containers, and trashcans of various sizes -- with the bottoms cut out. Sand building forms are limited only by your imagination!

* You can buy forms, but here's an EduPuppy idea for making your own: Use a plastic roll-up sled, create the column size you desire, then seal with duct tape to keep the shape. You can remove the tape and create as many sizes and shapes as you want until the duck -- err, I mean duct -- tape runs out! Or... Get some adhesive Velcro and attach it to the plastic sled in predetermined cylinder sizes. Then fill 'em up!

* A tamper is very important, as you must press the sand firmly, and hands can get tired. You can make your own tamper by covering a potato masher with waxed cardboard or plywood. Glue it on the bottom or secure it with string.

* Once you have the forms in place, fill them up with damp sand and press down firmly with your hands or tamper. Be sure to "wiggle" them a bit before removing.

* You will want to have some carving tools too. Plastic tableware can be used for detailing and cutting. Use sandpaper to dull the knives, and remove fork tines so you can make stripes or lines.

* A pencil works well for carving words, and the eraser makes interesting impressions.

* Have cookie cutters available: press gently to create the outline, then carefully dig out the shape.

* Melon ballers, putty knives, garden trowels, plastic cups, handled mugs, and measuring cups make great scoops.

* Don't throw away those old paintbrushes! The soft-bristle ones are the best -- excellent for getting rid of loose sand or unsightly knife marks.

* Sand Castle Toolkits: Each child can create his or her own castle kit to keep at home or in the car for last minute beach days!


* Be sure to check out our continually expanding directory of early childhood resources and information at http://www.EduPuppy.com/TKkcZ/! EduPuppy's Curriculum Connection coming soon!!!!

* If you are looking for great ideas, lessons, and WebQuests for older kids, check out EducationWorld at /. You will find great summer activity ideas on our summer archive page at /holidays/archives/summer.shtml.


Have you thought of all the cool, creative ways you might use sand for inside classroom activities? How about...

* Sand paintings
Help each child drip or paint glue on paper to make letters, numbers, or a design; sprinkle sand over paper and shake off excess.

* Sandy Candles
Cover a pillar candle with non-flammable school glue. Roll in colored sand.

* Make a Mini Beach
-- baby food jars w/ lids (Other small jars -- such as jelly jars -- can be used. Small, clear-plastic ones are always preferable to glass! You might be able to located small, plastic peanut butter jars.)
-- sand
-- shells (Pasta shells can be used to represent real shells.)
Fill a baby food jar ¼ to 1/3 with sand. Arrange pebbles and shells. If you want to add "water," place blue plastic wrap inside the jar before the sand and objects.

If your kids collect rocks as mine do, you might want to try this idea ... Limit each child to one "take home" rock per beach visit or nature walk. After arriving home, wash and dry them, and let children to paint their rocks with nail polish. Buy inexpensive brands in various colors, and let kids go wild! When dry, seal with clear polish or spray with polyurethane. Add the rocks to a pebble path or rock garden of memories. As the years pass, the children will delight in finding their rocks and remembering the special outings of their youth.
NOTE: Be sure to use nail polishes and sealants in well-ventilated areas; and be sure surfaces and kids are appropriately covered before starting. Keeping non-acetone remover on hand is also a good idea.


* Build literacy by reading Just Grandma and Me -- A Day at the Beach by Mercer Mayer. Little Critter has all sorts of fun at the beach -- including building castles, swimming, and sharing hotdogs with Grandma.

* An interactive computer version of that Mayer book is available on CD. It has lots of great fun for kids. They will listen to the story, interact, or play beach games. My kids love it! If you don't have the software, check with your local library. Many have software to loan.

* Of course, children also enjoy building castles with wooden blocks, Legos, large cardboard "bricks" -- or making drawings of their dream castles!

* Have an Indoor beach party (see ONLINE FUN below).

* Search for treasure in shoeboxes! Half-fill a shoebox with sand, then hide shells and small age-appropriate objects for the kids to uncover with spoons and paint brushes.

* Make a memory book with everyone's "My Day at the Beach" pictures.

Check out our growing collection of EduPuppy seasonal units and lessons at http://www.edupuppy.com/RQbXZ/page.cfm?id=1870.


* The Web site Fun With Otty at http://www.digitalozone.com/beachfun is a good site for building skills of shape recognition and matching. The text is written, not spoken, so younger children will need help with the directions the first time.

* Free the Beach asks visitors to locate trash and place it into proper recycling bins. http://www.funschool.com/php/games/

* Have an indoor beach party on a rainy day. Skip the sand, but turn up the heat, turn on the bright lights, play some beach music, and serve summer treats. Have sunglasses, hats, umbrellas, and towels on hand. Whip up "beach food" and serve it on the towels! You will find some great ideas for indoor beach days at http://www.kidspartyfun.com/beach-party/.


Send us pictures of your students' finished sand activities and we'll choose a few to spotlight on the EduPuppy Web site at www.edupuppy.com! Please be sure to have permission from parents to post children's pictures or names on the Web. If that is an issue, we can "blur" faces with photo editing software. Send photos and caption information to [email protected].