Whether you are an early childhood educator looking for a creative craft for an ocean lesson theme or a parent in need of a project focusing on the sea shore, there are a variety of aquatic art ideas that can entertain and educate preschoolers. From colourful collages to pretty paintings, your preschooler will delight in trying his or her hand at an imaginative sea shore craft.
Help your preschooler to discover the magic of the sea shore by creating a paper and glue beach collage. After visiting the sea shore, or reading books/looking at pictures about it, ask the child to describe various things that he or she would find on the beach. These may include sand, sand castles, people, towels, shells, beach umbrellas, beach chairs or seaweed. Use cut or torn construction paper to create a simple landscape of this scene. It may be helpful to pre-cut shapes that make-up the various items. For example, kids can combine a circle and rectangles to make beach goers or use strips of golden and yellow paper to collage sand. For an added effect incorporate beach themed clippings from old child-friendly magazines or newspapers. Look for photos of sea shells, sand castles, fish or other similar objects.
Sea Shore Painting
Preschoolers can learn about the differences between the water and the land through an imaginative underwater sea shore painting. Divide an eight by ten or larger piece of white drawing or construction paper in half by folding like a book. Explain to the child that one side will be the sea and the other will be the shore. Use crayons to draw underwater creatures such as fish, lobsters, an octopus or dolphin on the sea side and shells, people, or other land items on the shore side. Paint over the sea section with blue and the land side with yellow water colours. The crayons will resist that water colour paint and show through. Allow the paint at least two hours to dry. Finish the painting by gluing on a few small sized shells to the underwater side or adding streaks of craft sand to make a textured beach.
Make crafty crabs or other sea shore creatures that will add to the preschooler's learning experience. Discuss different marine life that comes out on to the beach. Look at pictures, posters or read a child-friendly non-fiction beach book. Print out a crab (or other creature) template from a preschool/early childhood craft or lesson site. For example, the First-School site offers free printable crab templates and assembly ideas for teachers or parents. Colour the crab creature in oranges or reds. Cut out the template and help the child to assemble it using glue or brass fasteners for mobility. As an alternative you may choose to make your own creature using simple shapes such as ovals and rectangles instead of a pre-printed template. Add googley eyes or glitter for a special look.
Make a simple mosaic using cardboard, shells and glue. Cut pieces of cardboard into six-by-six-inch squares or larger. Provide the preschooler with a variety of different coloured shells. You can purchase small sized shells for craft use at many arts or crafts supply stores or online through school supply retailers. Ask the child to draw a simple design onto the cardboard with a pencil or crayon such as a geometric pattern or a large shape. Have the child sort the shells into like-coloured piles. Use clear drying glue to attach the shells to the cardboard in different areas. For example, if the child draws a circle and a square he could glue only white shells onto the circle, brown shells onto the square and fill the rest with tan shells.
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