Going to the beach? That’s where I am! A little in-state “vaca” is doing me a world of good…and I’ve only been in earshot of the Atlantic for 24 hours. The sun is setting, so the water is turning battleship gray with slivers of pink glinting off the swells. The lights along the shoreline will be doused soon too – a nod of respect to the sea turtles coming ashore here on Hilton Head Island.
On any given night from now until fall, Loggerheads will lumber ashore to scoop out sand hollows in the dunes to lay their eggs. In about two months, hatchlings will make their way into the surf – as long as manmade lights don’t beckon them to their demise. Loggerhead babies are drawn to the ocean by the reflection of starlight on the water, but they can easily be fooled by porch lights and lamps along walkways. “Kill the Lights. Don’t Kill the Turtles” is a well-known slogan in these parts.
Only about one in 10,000 hatchlings will make it to adulthood. And thus, their endangered status makes “Do Not Disturb” postings necessary at the high tide line. Nesting spots are taped off, and dogs have to be leashed
Hilton Head is full of islanders and vacationing families with young children relishing their newfound freedom. But just because school is out, learning doesn’t have to stop. The spontaneity of summer allows time to nurture imaginative play, encourage physical activity, and explore interests in more depth.
Vacation offers a wide range of learning opportunities. Local history, culture and geography are great jumping off points for playful learning. Parks and local wildlife reserves provide nature pamphlets and children’s programs. (Check out the Coastal Discovery Museum website.) Pair that with companion reading, crafts and games and children can avoid the mental regression and summer reading slide so often associated with this annual break from the classroom.
We have 24/7 Internet access here at the resort, so it would be a cinch for parents to access the wide variety of children’s books on Big Universe Learning. I took a quick survey of its online shelves and found tons of picture books about ocean habitats, salt marsh life and our topic du jour: TURTLES.
Bellwether Media publishing’s “Sea Turtles,” written by Ann Herriges, and Rourke Publishing’s “Sea Turtles” by Cindy Rodriguez are two nice examples. The Bellwether book is perfect for the K-second-grade crowd, and the Rourke book is good for third- and fourth-graders. Other books on www.biguniverse.com include the following:
Children’s Books about Turtles
- Turtle Summer: A Journal For My Daughter
- Turtles In My Sandbox
- Las Tortugas en mi Cajón Arena (Spanish)
- Carolina's Story
- Where Should Turtle Be?
- ¿Dónde Debaria Estar la Tortuga? (Spanish)
- Zoobies: Turtles
- The Life Cycle of a Turtle
- Why Animals Live in Shells
- Caring for Your Turtle
- A Turtle in the Sun
- Reptiles y Anfibios (Spanish)
- Sea Turtles (Bellwether)
- Sea Turtles (Rourke)