Egg Carton Sea Life Recycled Craft

The theme this week for Discover & Explore is Sea Life. We made a recycled egg carton coral reef play set. Read below for the simple how-to. Then we’d love for you to share your favorite activities, crafts, tips, and resources about ocean creatures at the end of this post.

See the world through a child's eyes

Get a full week of ocean theme lesson plans for 

Home Preschool or your Preschool Classroom.

My oldest is fascinated by ocean animals. She has been since she was an infant. This summer she’s sure that we need to have a pet orca, and she’s eagerly awaiting Big Buddy’s return from vacation…he’s bringing her a sea turtle after all. 😉

Since I can’t quite make that a reality for her, I thought this recycled egg carton craft would be a fun way to do some crafting and encourage pretend play.

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Egg Carton Sea Life

I originally saw the idea for egg carton sea creatures in Parents Magazine. I started by cutting apart a couple egg cartons. I tried my best to cut a few pieces and tape them together to look like fish. They work for our purposes, but I’m sure some of you could come up with some very crafty looking sea creatures.  Either way both of the girls loved finding this invitation to create waiting for them one morning.

Sea Animals Craft

The type of paint you need will depend on the type of egg cartons you have. Washable tempera paint worked well for the cardboard cartons, but we had to use acrylics for the styrofoam cartons. Lovey enjoyed painting the smaller pieces, and Tinker spent her time painting the bottom of the larger carton (pictured below) to make the base of our coral reef.

Once the pieces were dry we added googly eyes, chenille stems, and some basic facial features.  The girls could barely wait to get started playing, and they’ve gotten a lot of use out of this play set already.

Ocean Crafts for Kids

 Tinker loves the little yellow fish best.

Egg Carton Coral Reef Craft

 I think the crab is my favorite part of the set!

Recycled Crafts-Crab

The widget below includes some of our favorite sea life toys and books.

Now it’s your turn. We’d love for you to share how you

Discover & Explore: Sea Life

Discover & Explore Sea Life-Crafts Activities and More

Get a Full Week of Ocean Theme Learning and Play

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:

1) Shark Dice Game (color and black/white)
2) Whale Dice Game (color and black/white)
3) Starfish Sorting and Patterning Cards
4) Ocean Letter Matching Puzzles
5) Ocean Life Number Cards 0 to 35
6) Ocean Family Counting Sets for Numbers 1-10
7) Sea Life Cards (for counting, patterning, and sorting)
8) Ocean Roll and Graph Game
9) Sea Life Word Building Cards
10) Sea Life Syllable Sort Activity

Get Your Lesson Plans

Home Preschool Ocean Theme Lesson Plans

Preschool Classroom Ocean Theme Lesson Plans


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  1. These are adorable. I wanted to let you know that I am featuring these with a link and photo if you don’t mind.

  2. This is one of my best pins of the year! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. That blue crab is awfully cute!

  4. This looks like so much fun!

  5. Shaunna, these are so cute. I especially love the crab! Thank you for sharing on my Facebook page today!

  6. These are so cute (especially the yellow fish)!

    I really love sea turtles too, such beautiful, gentle, graceful creatures…

    • Shaunna says:

      Ooh, a sea turtle would be a wonderful addition…and easy to put together, too. We’ll have to give that a try!

  7. I love this idea! We have tons of egg cartons. I’m putting this on my home school craft to-do list.

  8. These are so adorable!!! Thanks for sharing

    Your post has been selected to feature in Monsters Ed’s Hearts of the Home Blog Hop post which will go live on Thursday, July 25th! Congratulations!!! Remember to grab the “I was featured” button!

  9. Found you on share it Saturday, we love Ocean themes and now I can’t wait to try this 🙂

    • Shaunna says:

      Welcome! We’ve been having a lot of ocean-inspired fun this summer, too. Please let me know if you make your own sea life. I’d love to see them!

  10. Wow, I am so glad I have come across this website!!! I love that your linky is theme based…it makes my lesson planning so much easier and better too! As long as we do the same units at the same time, I’ll be set ;).

    • Shaunna says:

      Katie, I’m so glad to hear that!! When we started the linky I knew I would have loved to come across something like this when I was still teaching in the classroom. I love using the linky for planning our home preschool activities, too. I hope you find tons of great ideas here for your class!

  11. I absolutely love these underwater sea creatures made from egg cartons. What a great idea. Jodi @ Meaningful Mama

  12. That crab is sooooo cute!

  13. You always have such wonderful ideas to share with the kiddos! I think my favorite is the blue crab too! I’m teaching a beach-themed summer camp at preschool next week. I think I need to work this craft into my plans. 🙂

    • Shaunna says:

      Oh, this would be a fun summer camp project. I bet the kids will come up with some very colorful and creative creatures!

  14. Please come share your cute sea creatures with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday!

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