Ahoy, Mateys! That was the greeting we got last week when T attended a Sea Tales preschool class for the first time at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. It’s because the theme of our session was “Ahoy! I See Pirates!” and honestly I can’t think of a better themed class for T at this time in his life.
T is very into pirates right now, which is why I made it a point to remember that the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum would be running this class this month. I am so glad we signed up. When we arrived, we were welcomed with a name-tag craft area (which T wanted no part of, but it was a nice gesture for sure). Kids also got to dress up in pirate hats during the class (which T absolutely loved).
Once everyone had arrived and checked in, our class leader Joel led guests into a pillow-covered part of the museum where the kids could lounge while listening to a story about pirates. Joel was so great with the kids in leading the class overall and keeping their attention during the story time because as T put it pretty loudly, “Boy this is a long book!” It was a long book, indeed, but Joel’s enthusiasm and the story kept the kids’ attention for about a solid 15 minutes, which is pretty amazing when you think about a room filled with toddlers and preschoolers!
Next, Joel led the kids outside for a sidewalk chalk and bubble time, which was a welcome break from all the sitting still. The kids loved using the chalk to write their names or just to doodle whatever came to mind. The bubbles were a huge hit on this lovely day, too.
After outside time ended, Joel gathered the kids up and told them that when they returned inside, they would need to go on a treasure hunt for gold coins. The kids eagerly entered the building and searched high and low in the museum for the hidden treasures. Better yet, they could keep what they found up to three coins… and surprisingly all the kids were really awesome about making sure everyone had their allotment of pirate booty before claiming the finds for themselves. Who says all pirates are bad?
Following the treasure hunt, the kids sat down for a short pirate-themed craft, which was a sticker-based pirate ship necklace. This was a perfect craft for kids of all ages, and a very clean craft at that (probably good for the museum, too!). Toddlers along with the four- and five-year-olds could easily make the necklace in about five minutes with limited assistance, which gave them a great sense of accomplishment in a short amount of time. To fill out the rest of craft time, the kids could decorate a pirate coloring sheet or join Joel in creating their own treasure maps.
To end the class, Joel led a small group at the touch tanks. T wasn’t interested much in that today since he’d just become a pirate, so for him the rest of the time was about playing on the museum’s play boat. Of course it was… T loves that boat!
Newport Harbor Nautical Museum’s Sea Tales classes are held the first and third Wednesdays of the month, and check-in time is 9:45 am for a 10am start time. Classes are $7 per child-and-parent pair and run for about an hour, but class participants are welcome to stick around afterward for a short visit through the museum. The next Sea Tales class is scheduled for next Wednesday April 4, and the theme is “Sail Away!” for the little sailors in your family.
Goodbye, me hearties – er, I mean, RMT’ers!