Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fish Are Friends!

I can not believe that this is the first week of August - where is the summer going! I have not even had the chance to take the children to the beach this year as all of our vacation destinations have been inland. This past weekend we took a family day to the National Aquarium in Washington, DC. (Note to Washington DC visitors: you will feel like you paid to much for this little aquarium. It is a great distraction and intimate enough to keep the smaller set entertained as my one year old loved doing laps and grabbing human tushies (!) along the way. Make time for the National Aquarium in Baltimore if you want to be impressed). Miss E is a shark lover so we went to celebrate shark weekend. Now as someone who grew up in the Jaws generation I have a healthy fear of sharks and because of this I don't really think about them too much in my day to day life. There are around 400 different types of sharks and they are found in oceans all over the world. There are very small sharks, like the spined pygmy shark, and sharks that are bigger than a bus, like the whale shark. I did learn some sobering statistics. Almost 1/5 of all sharks and rays are critically close to extinction. Did you know that 250,000 sharks die each day? Miss E was NOT happy, and is very concerned about her favorite Hammerhead friends (we even ended up with a large, plush hammerhead shark named Alex Fred, Junior.).

So today we celebrate summer, the shark, and our other underwater friends.

My son's favorite sea animal is the turtle, and the aquarium had an adorable sea turtle for him to ooh and ahh over during his laps. If you have a turtle lover, Wild Republic offers the Sea Turtle Belly Bunch. The Sea Turtle is made of soft plush, with a "belly bag" that holds other animals (a crab, two different kinds of sharks and a sea turtle) that share her environment. This is a great "take along" toy to the doctor's office, a restaurant, or a long car ride.

Mudpuppy's Under the Sea First Puzzle shows a polkadot fish, a seahorse, an octopus, and a porpoise illustrated by Roge. All four puzzles are packed in a colorful box with a handle. Kobold Toys also offers their Color Me Under the Ocean Puzzle Mudpuppy's Under the Sea Color Me Puzzle shows a big blue whale, an octopus, sea stars, a swordfish, sea snail, seahorse, porpoise, jellyfish, and lots of other oceanic life. Design your own sea stacks with Mudpuppy's Under the Sea Constructibles Building Set. Jennifer Yanok has illustrated jelly fish, octopus, sea turtle, seaweed, coral, crab, sea urchin, seahorse, sea star, sea snail--and of course, lots of colorful fish--all on this set of 25 interlocking slotted card pieces in 5 basic shapes. In addition to being fun and a creative outlet, constructibles building sets improve hand-eye coordination, develop fine motor skills, and reinforce principles of balance and spatial relationships.

Although we have yet to encounter a mermaid at an aquarium or on the water, we still believe they exist. Peter Pan says it is so! If your child's favorite sea creature is the mermaid. Consider Manhattan Toy's Maddie Mermaid. She is exquisitely designed from her shell inspired handbag to her polka dotted tail and long, lavender hair. An easily removable tail reveals a playful skirt and legs to take Maddie from sea to shore in no time!

If you have a shark lover, you may want to check out Shark Week at Discovery Channel. The fun/fear starts on August 2nd. I hope your summer continues along swimmingly and that you are all having wonderful adventures.

Have a great week! ~ Ashley

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