We must first teach children to love the ocean before we ask them to save it.

Please enjoy this guest post from our wonderful volunteer, Jill Johnson as she shares her experiences assisting with our Groms Club from her early education perspective as a preschool teacher!

A morning spent together making connections

On July 20th Surfrider Newport Beach Groms Club partnered with Discovery Cube Ocean Quest.  It was an engaging, fun educational event that started off with an age-appropriate marine biology lesson on the different types of plankton found in our big ocean.  Once the kids had their introduction to plankton, they were given an opportunity to try and create their own plankton using beads, paper clips, corks, rubber bands, metal weights, and foam.  The goal was to combine these different materials so the plankton floated in the middle of the provided container since that is where plankton is found in the ocean.

The children got to work … they were up for the challenge.

Fine motor skills were being nurtured as the children carefully selected their small items and pinched, twisted, and held their masterpieces together.

Creative problem solving skills were exercised by these children as  they tested each of their “plankton “ creations to see what additions or subtractions would get the “plankton “ to float in the middle of the container.  

The children shared space and materials and used the scientific observation method as they went about their work.

There were many smiles and conversations.  Here are some of the comments over heard:

  • “I did it!”  
  • “It’s sinking to the bottom, what can  I do so it won’t sink ?”
  • “Mine will only float on the top”
  • “Take the cork off and see what happens?”
  • “The metal rings will make it sink to the bottom”
  • “Let me help you”
  • “Try this and see what happens”

Once the Groms finished the plankton activity, everyone helped clean up and headed to the Surfrider tent to reapply (ocean friendly) sunscreen and  have a quick snack.  

Then it was off to the Balboa Pier with Mr. Cody (from Discovery Cube Ocean Quest ) to learn about crabs, and then try to catch some.  Cody gave an introduction to  crabs to these excited Groms . 

Vocabulary introduced: Crabs, Decapods, Crustaceans and Arthropods

He baited his crab nets and lowered them into the ocean.  The Groms waited excitedly until it was time to pull the nets back up to the pier and see if any crabs decided to hitch a ride…  everyone gathered around.  We had a mussel, some sea grass and a worm in the nets , but no crabs.  

The Groms were unphased by the lack of crabs and still enjoyed the process. Next is was back to the Surfrider tent to participate in a beach clean up. This gathering of Groms and their families had it all covered:

  • Marine Biology
  • Toes in the sand
  • Cleaning our beautiful beach
  • Connecting with nature
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • *donuts

Thanks to all the Groms and their families who spent the day enjoying one of the most beautiful places on this planet.  When we feel connected to a place, we naturally want to take care of it.