Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Means Pearl

Family summer vacations remind me of Pearl. Pearl is the mermaid that my sister and I would spend our time with at the Jersey shore each summer. If we were lucky, we would meet her at Jones Beach for New York adventures, too! All of this happened in our mother’s Pearl stories that she would tell us throughout the summer when we were bored, tired, sad, or cranky. The stories were magical and soothing!

Last year I wanted to see if they still worked, so I tried them out on my Kindergarten students each day during lunch. They were entranced! The stories inspired a massive unit that included the students writing their own Pearl stories, creating underwater art, and a mermaid kingdom dramatic play. At the end of the year, I created a video version of the first story for the children to take home with them over the summer. I’ve run into several of my former students this summer, and they always bring up our adventures with Pearl and how much they enjoy watching the video. You can catch it here. I shared it on the blog last year. Below is a picture of our Pearl Underwater Kingdom dramatic play room including our wall of sea creatures and Mrs. Octavia Calamari's cave.

Why did my sister and I love mermaids so much? I was on Etsy a few months ago searching “mermaids,” a regular activity, and a glass, Avon mermaid popped up on the screen. This reminded me of my grandmother’s years as an Avon lady. It also reminded me that there was another kind of mermaid that Avon sold. She was blonde with a blue tail, and they sold bubble bath that I could still smell if I closed my eyes. With that, I searched Avon mermaid, and there she was. After continued Etsy, Google, and eBay searching, I learned that there was a long line of products with this mermaid on it. Her name was Sweet Sea. TOMY licensed the character and created products with Avon as well as toys sold in mainstream toy stores. I also learned that there was a television movie made. A new goal of mine is to purchase the VHS and create a digital version for myself.

While we’re on the subject of mermaids, I recently discovered an Australian tween series about girls who magically acquire tails. I was able to watch a few episodes thanks to the power of Netflix. The series is called H2O: Just Add Water and seems to be inspired by both Splash and its younger sister, Aquamarine. Nonetheless, it is adorable. If I was 11, that would be MY show!

Off to the shore for more mermaid inspiration. See you next week!

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