“Who would be a mermaid fair, singing alone, combing her hair. Under the sea, in a golden curl with a comb of pearl on a throne…” Lord Alfred Tennyson, The Mermaid
I have a house full of girls on any given afternoon. They love girlie things…ponies, fairies, Littlest Petshop, and LaLaLoopsy dolls. They also love our Under the Sea Kingdom Sensory Bin. But there has always been a problem with that bin. There is no “sea” in it!
Well, today we are fixing that. We are giving the mermaids a chance to swim in actual water. And everyone who works with children of any age knows that when you add water to an activity, you add a bit of magic. It becomes a soothing, imaginary world where children can spend hours playing and creating.
This little lagoon stayed in our sensory table for almost a week. I just kept changing the water out so it stayed clean and warm. The girls didn’t want me to switch it out. They loved the lagoon…from the 2 yr olds to the 7 yr olds. Even my 12 yr old daughter had a go with it on the weekend.
Here is how we built it…
Start with aquarium gravel. You can use sand, but the water doesn’t stay as clean and clear and it’s harder to keep an island shoreline with sand, as it tends to wash away into the rest of the water.Next, you can add an assortment of plastic ocean creatures…I added oyster shells that I had collected from the beach, and some little shells I bought at the pet store for $1…Of course every mermaid lagoon needs jewels and a treasure chest. I purchased the acrylic jewels and the treasure chest in the fish section of the pet store. Both amounted to about $8…Our mermaid lagoon also needed a castle, which I found in the same pet store for $5 in the clearance section. I guess no one wanted a pink castle in their home aquariums! And don’t forget the mermaids! I have been collecting assorted mermaids for our sensory bin since I built it almost a year ago. I find them in McDonald Happy Meals, the dollar store, or the second-hand toy store. I have never paid more than $1 for any of them. The mermaid chair was also purchased at the second-hand toy store, Once Upon a Child.Now for the fun part. The setting up of the lagoon. For me, still a kid at heart, this was my favourite part. I made an island for the mermaids to keep their treasure safe from sharks and pirates and such…The rest of the critters I placed around in the water…The mermaid’s castle and throne were down the way from the treasure, as to not give away the position of the hidden jewels…
Then the fun began in earnest. The girls took one look at the lagoon and gasped with excitement. They played and played and played, til their fingers were all “pruney”. They poured water from one shell to the other…They tried to fill the castle with gravel…And they even sorted the jewels into shells by colour…To say our Mermaid’s Lagoon was successful would be an understatement. I encourage all of you who have little girls in your world, to make one for them. It doesn’t have to be big. You could use a plastic bin, your sink, or your bathtub. I promise you won’t regret it.
Oh, and even the boys played in the lagoon when they had the chance. Mind you, the sharks were attacking the orcas and the pirate ships were slamming into the shore, even a few Transformers crashed the party, but it was all good, clean fun!
Thanks for stopping by!
~Arlee, Small Potatoes