When I think of summer, I think of the beach. In fact, in just a few days we're headed out on our annual family vacation to the beach! While I love beaches, I am super SUPER grossed out by babies eating sand. Apparently my husband ate a lot of sand as a baby and he turned out OK, but nevertheless, sand eating = gross to me. So I like to use an edible substitute when my babies are small - white cornmeal!
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S and I set up this lovely invitation for X to play when he woke up from his nap - a beach complete with shells,a sand bucket,and some Safari Ltd figurines: a life-sized starfish,hermit crab,and two crabs. He was SO excited. (Please note that the items pictured are not baby toys and are not intended for mouthing or unsupervised play). Never one to dawdle about, X dove right into his Beach World.
He loved touching and holding each of the different shaped shells in the world. (Can't you just hear him saying "Ooh!" here?)
He loved, loved, loved swooshing his feet in the sand and getting the sand in between his chubby little toes.
He also loved taking big handfuls of the sand and slowly dropping them over and over. It was really pretty to watch!
Periodically throughout his time playing, he kept peeking in the bucket. S and I were nearly hysterical by the end because I think he checked it a good dozen times.
Though the bin wasn't necessarily intended for S (I generally provide her with smaller "characters" for her to have more freedom within the bin to play - like I did with her Hidden Ocean Small World), she still thoroughly enjoyed it. She loved showing X all the different components of the bin.
And one final gratuitous shot of my kids. Because they're cute. And reallllly goofy.
Though we are playing with this bin outside here, we did also play with it extensively inside (thanks to Seattle's tendency to rain even during the summer!) and it is really easy to clean up. You can lay down a splat mat or just roll with it directly on the floor - cornmeal vacuums very easily. When you're all done playing, so long as you didn't get the cornmeal wet - you can store it for quite a long time in an airtight container.