Mermaid Treasure Hunt
Mermaids, treasure, sibling squabbles, and boxfish burgers. What more could you want? Today is Multicultural Children's Book Day and I am thrilled to be joining a host of other bloggers to share books and activities on a range of topics! I was assigned the book below about two multicultural mermaids who despite their fantastical life under the ocean have common place squabbles with which all siblings can relate.
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Even in the multicultural mermaid world of Tail Flippers practice, boxfish burgers, and sponge couches, sibling rivalry still exists. Echo is tired of her bossy, older sister Crystal. Echo finds a fascinating object and when Crystal takes it from her, insisting she found it first, their tension explodes. A relate-able theme set in the imaginative world of mermaids. This creative look at life under the sea is filled with a glossary worth (see the appendix) of ocean terminology. A delightful combination of real life common issues, playful mer-language, and intriguing oceanography topics. This is a fun read for any early elementary schooler with a big sister, an interest in marine life, or the desire to get lost in a fantastical mermaid tale.
Echo's fascination treasure discovery that causes the main conflict in the book was also a source of great interest for my twins. The idea of finding treasure was a theme they kept returning to in our conversations. I set up this fun treasure hunt for them to both extend this interest and work on developing descriptive skills. It combines language development skills, sensory play and is loosely based on this Beach Mystery Bag game that we played earlier.
Gather the materials below and then fill your sensory bin with the waterbeads or gems. Sand would also work as a filler. If I was going to pick one, I would use water beads (you can order some here) for their awesome texture. Something just seems more underwatery about them (Yes. We're going to pretend that's a word.) We used gems because I had them on hand.
Next hide the assorted home items amongst the sensory materials. Your children are going to pretend that they are mer-people discovering human treasure so any home items will do. I used: crayon, spoon, play train, new toothbrush, pen, and a card from one of our games. Anything that your child is familiar with should work.
Lastly, next to the sensory bin place a bag for each child. I used little draw string bags from another game, but any bag that is not clear would work.
Invite your preschoolers to come look for treasure. Explain that, like Echo and Crystal, they are going to pretend to be mermaids/mer-people. Hidden amongst these under the water stones are human treasure. When they find a treasure they should hide it inside their bag and not show anyone else.
Have them explore the bin and hunt for treasure. If needed, remind them to hide their treasure when they find it.
When all of the treasure has been found (or someone loses interest) it is time to move to the second part of the game.
At this point, each person should have at least a couple treasures in their bag. Remind them that they are secrets.
Now you are going to play a verbal game to see if your mermaid friends can help you identify your treasure. The goal (aside from having fun, obviously) is to strengthen language skills by working on describing objects and listening to others.
One person starts. They pick one object from their bag and describe it to the other mermaids. They can't say the name of the object, but they can describe what it looks like or might be used for by humans. The other mermaids try to guess what it is.
When someone guesses correctly it is their turn to describe an object.
Play continues back and forth until the objects have all been identified.
Have a race to see who can return their objects to their proper place in the house.
Then if they want, find new objects and begin again.
When you are done with the sensory tub, pour the filler back into a bag (I use ziploc ones to hold sensory materials) and then wash out your sensory bin so it is ready for next time.
*Learn more about crabs. We did a unit about Hermit Crabs.
*Play this version of the Beach Mystery Bag game.
*Visit the local aquarium and look for the sea creatures you read about in the story.
*Read more books in the Mermaid Tales series.
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