Beach Activities – Real life learning opportunities

What a joy it was to be able to stop and explore the natural world around us in Nags Head, North Carolina. Every day provided us with an opportunity to learn something new in a completely self-directed way.

Here are a few of our favorite topics from our beach vacation:

1. Puffer Fish: we found two of these fascinating fish washed up on the beach. Immediately, resulted in questions about what they eat, are they edible, are they poisonous even when they are dead, do they travel in schools, what caused them to wash ashore, and more.

2. Constellations: Living in a city doesn’t afford us the luxury of the skyline that we had every night on the beach. A great new application for the iPad called Star Walk helped us navigate the night-time sky. We used it to not only identify the constellations, but also several planets like Neptune and Jupiter. The names of the constellations also sparked a good ol’ fashion Greek mythology story telling. JJ just shined, entertaining his cousins with his knowledge of mythology.

3. Hurricanes – Hurricane Earl provided us with a great geography and meteorology lesson. Although being barred from the water due to rough surf was an unwelcome by product.

4. Ghost Crabs

Chasing these little creatures at night with flashlights was a real highlight for the boys. According to what we were able to find out, they did once live in the ocean, but are now living just beside it. They cannot go too far away from the water because they have to wet their gills twice a day. We know one thing for sure. Boy! are they fast!

5. Southern Stingrays – Coincidentally, we had just been to the Stingray exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo which featured these very cool animals. We got to see one in real life as it swap past us in the surf. Did you know that Southern Stingray mothers give birth to live pups. She can have between three and ten pups at a time. Once born they are on their own! The one we saw was fairly small and probably young.

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