Category Archives: Too Cute

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Reef Kids: Dinoflagellates

Dino pet davana - reefsThis cute little guy is the Dino Pet – a toy, a friend, and a science project in one.  As the website states: “The Dino Pet is a new kind of pet that photosynthesizes during the day and glows brilliantly when you play with it at night. The alluring blue light emitted by the Dino Pet is bioluminescence, made from the dinoflagellates — a type of plankton — found within the apatosaurus-shaped aquarium. By using sunlight, water, and nutrients, instead of batteries and electricity, the Dino Pet allows you to hold one of nature’s most magical occurrences in the palm of your hand.… More:

Reef Market

 Like many of you, my children have been surrounded by aquariums, plants, and a multitude of animals since (before) they were born. For them, it was a given that we spend part of our days tending to the things we love, and now, as they are getting older, they care for their own little pets and fish.  But before they were able to participate, they relied on me and the other adults around them to provide all of their entertainment and stimulation, as well as teach them about their world. Babies are shaped by what surrounds them – both their environment and the people that inhabit that space. Their early experiences will effect them for the rest of their lives (this article has great information on the subject), so why not stack the cards in their favor and dress them in charming, original clothes that will spark fun interactions?  A young child wearing a lionfish shirt, shark nightgown, or sea jelly pants will find themselves in quite a few pleasant conversations about those exciting, beautiful sea creatures. And best of all, the clothes listed here can all be found on ebay, so your purchase helps support an independent artist or small business owner while introducing your own tiny reef fanatic to this amazing world.… More:

Reef Kids

turtle craft 1My children are fascinated with sea turtles. Those enormous reptiles that drift peacefully for thousands of miles on the ocean currents, observing the world with gentle eyes, have captured their hearts. If your kids feel the same way, they might enjoy making themselves a pet turtle to play with in the bathtub or pool, or to take for walks in the rain puddles!  You just need a 2-liter bottle, string, a sturdy needle, and something for the body – craft foam like this would work, or substitute something similar that you already have.… More:

Sea Sheep

sea sheepThis is, without a doubt, one of the most adorable sea creatures I have ever seen – and it’s a slug! The tiny creature looks like a cartoon or maybe a Wallace and Gromit character, but it is most certainly real. Costasiella kuroshimae (or ‘Leaf Sheep’ for short) is found in saltwater environments near Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, and can grow up to 5mm in length. And, like the mammal it gets its name from, it likes its greens. The Leaf Sheep eats algae, and is one of the only animals in the world that is able to photosynthesize. And while it is not very efficient at it, some species can live for months on photosynthesis alone. As it eats, it partially digests the algae, but leaves the chloroplasts intact, incorporating them into its own body, and storing them in its multiple spiky appendages. The cute little slug then uses the chloroplasts to manufacture energy. The process is called kleptoplasty,a term derived from the Greek word Kleptes (κλέπτης), which means “thief”. and can only be found in certain sacoglossan sea slugs…like this little guy.… More:

Reef Kids

 If your kids are anything like mine, they LOVE bringing home treasures. Encourage them to just collect 2 or 3 little things (instead of half the beach) with this easy craft, which can become a souvenir of that lovely afternoon by the seashore. Simply fill an old, clean jar with some sand and gently drop in the shells, sticks, rocks, sea glass, etc.… More:

Reef Kids

  Ah, summer! The season when kids can do really messy art projects (like this cool hand- and footprint ocean scene) OUTSIDE and get hosed off before coming back in. I really like the lobster and the jellyfish, and I think a huge school of different-colored fish would be fun to create. If you use newsprint, the artwork can be recycled as wrapping paper! I like to make my own paint or use earth-based pigments like these from Natural Earth Paint, which won’t hurt the grass when it’s time to clean up. And for $10, I buy the 4-foot-wide paper remnants from my local newspaper printer that normally get recycled. Here is a great video about newspaper production and recycling, the host cracks me up!  … More:

Reef Kids

jellyfish craft 3Here’s a fun art project to keep the little ones entertained and occupied during these long summer days – a serene jellyfish of one’s own, floating peacefully in a water bottle.  The activity uses all recycled materials; its a great opportunity to talk with the kids about our oceans, and the havoc that plastic bags and other plastic debris is causing. The National Resources Defense Council has a great article about this problem, if you need a jumping-off point:  www.nrdc.org/oceans/plastic-ocean/The project itself is quite simple, you just need a plastic grocery bag, a water bottle, string, food coloring, and scissors.… More:

Long Island Collecting Log: The next wave has arrived

Spotfin and tangsLast week I reported on the arrival of the first tropical fishes of the year to appear in Long Island waters after a seining trip at Fire Island inlet turned up a filefish, groupers, and northern sennets. This week I am happy to announce that the next wave has arrived.… More:


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