Seashell art and crafts are often very popular with young learners. The act of finding nature’s discarded treasures can capture a child’s curiosity and elicit excitement, wonder, and joy. As little hands gather and collect each unique and beautiful shell, creative shell theme ideas emerge. Maybe the shells can be painted, or strung together as a necklace, or perhaps glued together to make a sculpture. There are many ways shells can be used for learning and play.
Unfortunately, not all children have access to the shore. Today you’ll be making a fun seashell art project even if you can’t make it to the beach! Let’s create cardboard seashell cutouts by using a variety of unconventional art materials and techniques. Your child’s senses will be captivated as sight, touch, and sound are amplified and explored. Shiny metallic silver, pops and tings of sound, and tactile manipulation will all be right at your fingertips!
FIND ALL OF OUR SHELL ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS FOR PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS.
Seashell Cutouts for your Senses
Seashell Art and Music
As an elementary art teacher to young learners, my students are often overjoyed when sounds or beats are created through the art making process. Oftentimes it is a happy accident! As a Q-tip hops on the tinfoil a fun Ting Ting Ting sound is created. We often sing a fun, repetitive chant of “hop, hop, hop all over the tinfoil” as a reminder to follow the painting directions. When working with bubble wrap, it’s natural and satisfying to pop away the bubbles of air. Sound adds an additional layer of engagement while also soothing and/or focusing each little artist. The sound created by tying a set of bells to the end of a paintbrush may encourage students to stay engaged and motivated throughout the painting process.
Materials for Seashell Art Project:
- Cardboard or cereal boxes
- Bubble wrap
Draw and Cut!
Begin by sketching each shell onto a piece of cardboard or a cereal box. You may wish to have real shells on hand for observation and look up additional shells online or in a book. Cut out the shells. Parents may need to assist when cutting thick cardboard.
Wrap it Up!
Have your child inspect a piece of tinfoil. How do they react to the shiny color and slick texture? Cut a large piece of tinfoil and lay the seashell cutout on top. Wrap the tinfoil up and over the edges of the cutout. Use your fingers to bend, flatten, and attach the tinfoil securely. Use a marker to sketch the outline and details of the seashell. Refer to shell photos as needed.
Pop & Hop!
Have your child investigate and manipulate the Q-tips and bubble wrap. Let them pop those little bubbles for a bit. Next, paint a small area of bubble wrap and print it onto the tinfoil shell.
As you lift up the bubble wrap small circles are left behind.
Dip a Q-tip into paint and hop on the shell to add additional details. Experiment with the amount of pressure and paint used during this process. Various paint colors can be used throughout.
Extend this Art Activity
- What sounds did you create during the art-making process?
- Compare and contrast painting with a Q-tip vs. the bubble wrap.
- Review how each small circle of paint was created on each shell.
- Imagine and explore what sea creatures used each seashell as a home.
Art and Literacy
I recommend the book It’s a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree as a companion to this lesson. The book takes the reader on a seashell hunt as the main character finds a variety of unique shells. The shells are sorted, counted, and displayed as nature’s beauty is highlighted and appreciated.
I hope your child’s senses are elevated as they manipulate the tinfoil and create sound through the various painting processes. Art and music-making are a wonderful combination that are sure to bring joy to little artists everywhere.
We would love to see your unique and magical creations! Please tag @fantasticfunandlearning and @youngschoolartwithmr.g on Instagram!
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GET A FULL WEEK OF SHELL 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) Collecting Seashells Counting Emergent Reader (three variations)
2) Dissolving Shells Science Experiment Recording Sheet (in color and b/w)
3) 0-35 Shell Theme Number Cards
4) Shell Roll and Graph Math Activity
5) Types of Shells Photograph and Label Cards
6) Alphabet Recording Sheet for Seashell ABC Hunt (3 versions in both color and b/w)
7) Seashell Shapes Mats and Activity
8) Beginning Sound Seashell Sort Activity
9) My Shell Words Sight Word Recording Sheets (in color and b/w)
10) A to Z Shell Theme Letter Formation Work Mats