We’ve been regularly exploring outdoors since the beginning of the year and it’s been amazing all the things that J has discovered and learnt. But this week there was a real moment of awe and wonder. We visited the sea shore and found seals, lots of shells and star fish amongst other things.

exploring the sea shore

As a teacher one of the big things that was spoken about was creating awe and wonder in children and although I’ve seen it with J – especially the frogs they created wonder it’s always been fleeting and of the moment. However last week on Friday we took a gamble. Stuck our finger on a map and went to the location – The beach, a shingle beach not our typical go to beach for play.

a sense of wonder in nature
J's first glimpse of the sea this year

Arriving at the beach it was shingles all the way with hills and troughs (not easy to negotiate with a baby on your back at all) but it was worth it. First thing was pebble throwing into the sea. Yes it’s April and it wasn’t overly warm but as soon as we saw the sea you could see J’s face light up. That moment of awe. It’s priceless and something that I want to see every day.

Suddenly from my back came the cry “LOOK WHAT THAT” T had spotted something – pointing out in front of us she had spotted a grey seal popping it’s head up right in front of us – looking more we spotted at least another four. J’s decided “Must show Daddy seals”. It was a fairly high tide and quite rough but with an amazing sky full of blue and a multitude of coloured clouds from pure white to the darkest grey. Every sight was a learning experience.

The pebbles were dark or light depending on where the waves had hit – I passed pebbles back to T in the carrier and she passed them back to me feeling the different textures smooth when I found a piece of flint rough when it was sand stone. Then we discovered the high tide line on the pebbles. A Treasure Trove of nature.

J examining some bladderwrack we found on the high tide line

First was bladderwrack – one of our most common sea weeds – but J hasn’t seen it before as the beach we have visited with Nana and Pops is sandy without much hold for it to grow – yet here it was common along the line. J admired the texture, the bubbles and the slippery nature of it when wet.

Star fish
J studying a star fish

The moment of wonder when looking closer we found a star fish – yes it was dead but he had never seen a real one he picked it up and we studied the legs, turning it over we could see where it’s mouth was and I pointed it out – lots of strange looks as he thought it was a tummy as it was in the middle ( I could see the logic).

crab hunting
J showing the crab the sea

Next find a mermaids purse, a quick explanation that it was either a shark or a ray egg case and a baby would have grown in it (it’s been collected and added to our newly created nature table at home). Then a crab was discovered – on it’s last legs and not fighting a toddler holding it – J held it with such care and tenderness he examined it all – taking it to look at the sea and see the waves and seals. He then laid it down in the surf and said bye bye to it.

sea kale
J examining the sea kale we found in the shingles

We played for ages throwing stones into the sea, watching the seals play becoming more inquisitive and getting closer and closer. T on my back pointing to the birds flying around. We listened and spotted the sky lark flying high above us. On our way back we came across a clump of sea kale – a brasica and delicious when blanched and as a new experience for me and J we tasted a bit to see what it was like.

Our book is Clumsy Crab – a story of a crab that doesn’t like his big claws as they get in the way until he discovers what to do with them. We love it for the rhymes it has in it as well as the bright colours and pictures in it.

What moments of awe and wonder have you seen in your children recently?

Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.


  1. Fabulous beach! Was that near the place with all the coloured beach huts?

    Love getting all close to nature like that! Brilliant.

    Thank you for sharing on Family Frolics. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Oh, I am so envious that you live so close to the beach (one thing I really do miss living here!). What a fantastic day they must have had, and such exciting finds! Thanks for sharing with us as the Outdoor Play Party.

  3. Cerys, this is a lovely post & isn’t it great that you have such a great beach nearby & actually take the time to enjoy it with them. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that things are new to children, just because we have seen them lots of times. Thanks so much for linking up, Kierna

  4. Fantastic pictures to support a great day out learning. Some real treasures you have found there too, I love the star fish! the Country Kids linky is now up too. See you there!

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