Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shells 101, Lady Lobster and Southie Treasures @ Kid's Bash

Save the Harbor's Kid's Bash and Splash was a show stopper! We pulled out all the stops, incorporating seven amazing activity stations, a barbecue lunch, and of course, our famous splash! The festivities included art, sports, fishing, kite flying, and, my favorite, the shell+ touch tank display! Imagine a beach covered in 400+ kids having the time of their little lives, then add a few more. In actuality, over 450 Boston youth came out to our kids bash!

At our shell display, 450 youth were able to explore seashells from creatures such as mussels, abalone, clams and periwinkles, to name a few. We had a seashell matching game set up to help kids learn to identify the seashells by size and shape. Most of the kids who came to the shell display couldn't even identify a mussel shell upon arrival! However, by the time they left the station, many kids were able to accurately identify plenty of different shells.

Lady lobster was also a big hit. When kids came up to the touch tank they were SHOCKED to see a REAL, LIVE lobster! Many of the kids had seen lobsters before, but usually only on dinner plates. It was interesting to be able to teach so many kids about their local decapodian mascot.

Kids were fascinated to learn that lobsters have two slightly different claws that are specialized for different duties. They liked the idea that the lobster had a big strong crusher claw in addition to a very sharp pincer claw. One child said that the different claws were like a knife and a fork!

Another favorite activity was guessing whether the lobster was male or female, then finding out how to tell for sure. For some reason, 90% of the kids were quite certain that this formidable-looking lobster HAD to be male. They were shocked to find out that she was indeed a lady lobster! The kids enjoyed touching the lobster's swimmerettes and its tail.

In addition to the lobster and shell activities, we did a special "Treasures of Southie" station, where kids could find "treasures" in a bin of sand. The treasures were in fact items such as sea glass, parts of toys, pottery pieces. It was interesting to have the kids think about the origins of the objects of their fascination. The kids enjoyed learning how beach glass was made and digging through the sand.

Before long, it was time for lunch, the splash, sea shanty singing and other activities! By the time the kids left, their bellies and minds were full of hot dogs and sea creature wisdom, respectively.

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