- 1 1/2" metal flange (a standard pipe fitting found in hardware stores)
- Silver poster paint (or any color your child chooses)
- Two 1" sponge brushes
- All-purpose waterproof sealer
- 5 different shells of approximately the same sizes
- Drill with 1/8" drill bit (optional)
- Darning or ribbon embroidery needle (optional)
- Ruler or yardstick
- Glue or hot glue gun
- Very small washers (to fit holes in flange)
- 1 large bead
- 1 1/2" S-hook
- Eye hook
A trip to the shore can offer more than fun in the sun and sand for your child this summer. By gathering shells that have washed onto the beach and then stringing them together as a wind chime, your child will boost her math and science abilities and her appreciation of nature.
"Grouping the shells by shape and color as they're collected provides children with practice in sorting and classifying, skills that are the bases of important mathematical concepts," says Sara Wilford, director of the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. Shells' beautiful shapes and colors are intrinsically fascinating to kids, and you can heighten your child's interest by looking through books on marine life to help her identify the various shells she finds as you comb the beach together.
Once she begins making the chime, your child will add to essential fine-motor skills as she works with you on gluing her collection of shells to the strings, then measuring, knotting, threading, and tying, according to Wilford.
After you've completed the chime, hang it on your patio or near a window in your child's room. As the breeze passes through, she'll delight in the shells' movement and calming sounds and relive her warm memories of summer.