Last week we went on a mini roadtrip down to the NSW South Coast. It was the second week of the school holidays and I’ve been given the use of a brand new Ford Focus Titanium as part of the Choose Your Own Adventure challenge, so it was the perfect opportunity for a getaway.
The weather was gorgeous and we spent days beach combing, wandering around rock pools and swimming. As always, being creative was never far from our minds, so armed with just a roll of string Roxy and I made some fun craft projects from our beach collections.
We collected all sorts of beach treasures from dried seaweed and plants to sea glass and shells. Roxy loved the idea that we were collecting with the purpose to make things and we had a mental list of the sort of things we were after – like shells with holes in – which made the finding all the more exciting and rewarding for her. I made sure that we didn’t collect shells from right on the shoreline or from rock pools and checked them all for living creatures before adding them to our stash.
These are my ideas on how to use your beach combing haul, engage your children, get them learning through play and have fun when you’ve had enough sun.
Make a shell mandala
Mandalas are fun to make on the sand or to distract kids when they are starving and waiting for dinner after a big and exhausting day. Even small children can do this and it’s great for getting them to engage and focus and for developing maths skills like counting, grouping, sorting and making patterns.
Make sure you photograph their creations! On your return home you could make more mandalas and hot glue them onto pieces of white cardboard or rustic timber. This is such a simple and easy idea and the resulting art is beautiful.
Make a beach and bush weaving
Making a random weave wall hanging is a great way to use up all the odd things that kids like to pick up like a million sticks, pieces of seaweed and plants.
Start by making a loom. This part is something you’ll have to do. Find three or four branches that are roughly the same length. The fourth one – for the top of the weaving – can be longer like ours is. Overlap the branches to form a square and bind them together with string.
Now add the warp – this is the yarn that runs up and down on the loom which you’ll weave through. Tie the string to the bottom left corner of the loom and using figure 8 motion wind it over the top branch and back down over the bottom one. Continue working your way across the loom: under the top, over the bottom, and finish by tying the string off when you reach the other side.
Start random weaving!
Make shell jewellery
This is an oldie but a goodie. We’ve all loved making and wearing our beach treasure necklaces on summer holidays at some time, and it’s fun hunting for shells with holes in them!
Make a beach comber’s wreath
This is another easy but gratifying craft project. Just start with a long piece of dried beach grass or vine and form it into a circle. Overlap the ends and tie together with string to form the base of the wreath. Then all you have to do is add seaweed, shells and other beach comber’s finds to decorate it. So easy.
If you make this at home you can glue the decorations in place, or if you’re decorating your beach holiday accommodation use the string to tie it together or play a balancing game!
Make a driftwood weaving or a little raft for shell people
I think bleached driftwood is so lovely with all it’s light silvery beauty – with this mini weaving project you can make a little work of art… unless the kids prefer to make shell people and use it as their raft.
Weaving with driftwood can be a bit tricky, so this project is best made with you holding the sticks and the child wrapping the string around them. Group the driftwood together then tie the string around the first piece. Now holding the driftwood in place, weave the string under and over until you get to the end. It’s easiest to do this if you pass the string over and under at the very top of the sticks and then slide the string down. Go around the last piece of driftwood and weave back in the other direction and continue until you are happy with it.
I hope my top 5 kids craft ideas for your next beach visit inspired you. Now I’ve shown you how to make a shell mandala, a driftwood weaving, a beach comber’s wreath, some shell necklaces or a random weave with your children there will be no excuse for that familiar refrain we all hear at some time during the summer holidays: “I’m bored!”.
Looking for more inspiration? You can find loads of other crafts from both kids and adults on my craft and DIY tutorials page. Happy making!