During the summer it is a good idea to bring the sea into the crafts you do with kids. Just as Kids KnittingProjects are a good idea in the winter, “Down By The Sea” crafts are a good idea during the summer.
For families who travel to the beach, it’s not unusual to come home with a bucket full of shells or other found items from the trip. The problem becomes what to do with all those shells. Here are two “down by the sea” crafts for kids to be able to keep their treasures and give them some function.
Sea shell paper weights
Help your children make sea shell paper weights. This will enable them to keep the shells and make something which can be kept out in view. You’ll need the following items:
- Found shells or other items from your trip
- White tacky craft glue
- Paint (optional)
- Plastic tubes (similar to Wilson tennis ball containers or some potato chip containers)
- Plaster of Paris
- Fun foam
- Clear gloss spray paint
Begin by making a base for the paperweight. Parents can cut the bottom from the plastic containers. Then cut down about another inch, leaving two or three tabs sticking up. This will be the mold for the base for the paperweight and can be reused.
Parents will want to follow the instructions on the plaster of Paris and mix it according to those instructions. Pour the plaster into the base and allow it to dry thoroughly. When it is dry, turn it upside down and tap it onto a table. This should cause the base to fall out.
While you’re waiting for bases to dry, you’ll want to cut a three-inch circle from the fun foam for each base you make. These will be glued to the plaster base using tacky craft glue.
Paint the plaster base and allow it to dry unless you’re using water color; water color paint won’t require drying time. You can go to the next step which is mixing craft glue with sand to make it moist. The base will have an impression; fill the impression with the glue and sand mixture, making a mound.
Press several sea shells into the sand. When the sand has dried, you can spray the paperweight with clear gloss spray paint to keep the sand from coming off.
For something less time consuming, you can create a seascape using a glass fish bowl. You’ll need the following items:
- Glass fish bowl
- Photos of the day you spent at the beach
- Clear tape
- Sand from the beach
- Treasures found at the beach (shells, sea glass, driftwood, etc.)
- Wooden skewers
- Nautical pictures or stickers
Begin by carefully taping a photo of your family at the beach onto the inside of the fish bowl. Be sure to tape along the edges to keep sand from getting behind the photo. Then pour enough beach sand (or play sand) into the fish bowl to fill it about halfway full or until it covers the bottom of the picture.
When the sand is arranged the way you want it, start adding the sea shells or other items collected on the trip. Using stickers or images cut from magazines, tape the images on a wooden skewer and then trim them so the images will rest on the sand when pushed in.
There are many other ways your children can use their treasures from “down by the sea” to create crafts, but you may want to start with these two ideas. The point is to allow the children to enjoy the items they found and make them functional so they can see them and remember the fun of the day.