As I explained in my first post about this project, my girls love mermaids. We have taken the opportunity to expand on their interest, and have embarked on a very creative, hands-on learning experience, and have transformed the kids bathroom into a mermaid habitat:)
One of the first projects we did for the habitat, as I mentioned in my previous post, was to make jellyfish. We hung them in the bathroom, along with blue streamers, to make it look more like they were under water. We also printed out some tropical fish coloring pages, and traced them onto another piece of paper so they would have 2 sides. When we were done coloring them we stuffed them with newspaper to make them “3-D” and hung them up.
A friend of my moms heard about our project, and that the girls had never been to the ocean, and gave them an amazing bag filled with sea items she had collected from various trips. It was like opening a treasure bag! The girls and I had so much fun going through everything. There were many many shells, a fan coral, ocean rocks and wood, feathers from sea birds, sand dollars, an urchin, and even various bags of sand, each a different type from different locations. She also let us borrow an amazing book about shells, so that we could look up and identify various types. We had so much fun looking these up, as well as other creatures online. Did you know that the little sea-bird shaped bones in the sand dollars were once it’s mouth?
The girls organized the shells by type, color, and size, and my youngest even made a giant shell “wave.”
Now that we had so many shells for decoration, we decided to begin building a mermaid throne. We measured and cut a cardboard “shell” to fit on the “throne” and the girls painted and decorated it with shells, stones, and other items. They then made a smaller one for one of their dolls:)
My older daughter was so inspired by creating the thrones, she decided to make some mermaid costumes for her dolls. She did this completely on her own (I was not in the room) with some fabric and a glue gun. She then went on to make a fairy outfit, and an evening ball gown. She says she wants to design fashion when she is older.
Another fun activity we did as part of our project was to make bath paints. We took a mixture of soap (we used dish soap), corn starch, and food coloring, and painted our own coral reef. We also looked up various types of seaweed and tried painting the different kinds. We learned that seaweed is not considered a plant, but an algae, and there are three main types: brown, green, and red.
Yet another activity we did, was to fold origami sea creatures. We got a pack of 12, with instructions, at our local dollar store! They were easy enough for my oldest to do herself (except the darn shrimp!) and the younger one helped me crease. My fingers were, however, a bit sore when we were done!
For the final part of our habitat, we decided to make a spa/tide pool for the mermaids. We filled the sink with things that might be in a real tide pool (I can’t wait to take the girls to the coast to see the real thing one day!) and created a hot tub area, and beauty salon for the mermaids. We set up a beach area on the ground, with the different types of sand in different containers with shells and sea glass for the mermaids to dig for. The girls had so much fun comparing the different sands by touching them and looking at them, and spent a long time just burying and digging out the shells in the containers. Once we were finished, we had a party for the mermaids, and even wrote tiny invitations on shell shaped paper:) The mermaids had a blast swimming and playing in the sand and getting their nails done with tiny shells at the salon. They even had real “sea kelp delight” snacks to eat.
After all those fun activities, I think we are finished with the mermaid habitat, for now. We may have a few activities to add later. The love for these creatures hasn’t faded though, but is expanding elsewhere. My oldest is now planning on creating a costume mermaid tail for her to wear in the bath or pool from old swimsuits we are collecting:)
I hope this has inspired you, as it has for us, to expand on your own loves and interests, try some new activities, and to go out there to learn and create more:)
Resources/fun links from above:
The Mermaid Project: Part 1:
Seaweed facts and pictures: