If you have a child that is going through a collection phase, you might have noticed that there are a lot more things from the outdoor world that are migrating into the house. Toys are one thing—every elementary school aged kid seems to be wearing their Silly Bandz these days—but naturally occurring collectibles can actually be put to good use for a Camp Mom kid craft.
Floridian kids love their seashells. We’ve always been fans of the smooth, intact shells from the Gulf Coast, but our kids have also picked up a fair amount from nearby Cocoa Beach. Instead of letting all those shells languish in a bucket in the garage somewhere, put those unused shells to good use.
Clear glass bottles with a cork top can be purchased at a local craft shop and filled with sand and smaller shells. Crafting or playground sand works if you don’t want to bring home scoops of salty oceanfront sand. A slightly larger shell with a hole already in it can make a great pendant with a thin leather strap. Large, intact shells can be painted and serve a number of purposes around the house, from a place to put loose change or a mini soap dish for seashell shaped soaps. Glue on a couple of googly eyes and write “Florida” on the shell and you might be able to sell a few in an I-Drive gift shop.
This suggestion is a bit more expensive, but having seen the results with one of our son’s birthday presents earlier this year, we were duly impressed with the results of the Thumler’s Tumbler rotary rock tumbler that was purchased at Colonial Photo and Hobby in Orlando. Rock tumblers come with a starter kit, but other similar-sized rocks can be added to the mix (just don’t add soft, chalky rocks that are unsuitable for polishing).
If your child is patient enough to wait the 24 days to get those rocks polished (the tumbler has to sit in the garage, unless you like the sound of a babbling brook all the time) they really do come out smooth and glossy, and the four separate steps are easy to follow for a child in the 8 and up range. Of course, having a rock tumbler at home might inspire a child to bring home even more rocks…
Toys and Trinkets
If your child is starting a collection of toys or trinkets, make sure they are stored in one designated place (that will avoid having a situation where Bakugans are rolling all over the house). If your child wants to display their collection, an inexpensive wall shelf adds personality to the room while keeping the toys safe from being lost or banged up a bit. Better yet, use errands as an incentive to earn an allowance to help your child add to their collection.