A Mock Beach Party

Created by My Art to Inspire Contributor: Jeanne

Objective: To help children who may never experience "the ocean" get a better understanding of the recreational and educational aspects oceans present.

Materials for mural: white bulletin board paper, very large brushes, blue and green tempera paints, regular watercolor paint sets, etc. (Seashells such as clams and mussels from a recent supper)

As a culmination activity for a multi-sensory educational unit of study about the “Ocean” (while living in the land-locked desert of Arizona) I came up with this. It was so much fun, and it really helped my K-2 students understand some of the concepts. They were even able to “smell” the ocean! Read on….

What was required:  beach towels, inflatable toys, a boom box with real ocean and sea bird sounds, and of course, ocean mist provided by the adults in charge of the spray bottles. A picnic lunch and specially designed games were also a hit. A game of tag called, “Hungry Ocean Animals” had the kindergarten kids as the “shrimps” stationed closer to the shore. Several feet behind them were the first grade “seahorses”, and lastly a few feet “deeper” in the ocean were the second grade “sharks”.

On the mark, everyone “swam” (ran) with the seahorses trying to eat their favorite meal of shrimp, and the sharks trying to get the seahorses.

Although it was 112 degrees that Phoenix day, all had fun pretending it was cool and that we were at the beach while really being in the Sonoran desert.

Ocean Smells: This was a happy accident. I thoroughly washed the clam and mussel shells from a dinner we had eaten at home. Then I dried them and put them into a large Ziplock bag. To my surprise, the students not only saw and handled the shells, but the smell was exactly that of the oceans I have been in!

Art Connection: I do not have a photo of it, but the students had all contributed to making a very large ocean mural on white bulletin board paper. They had first used large (house paint) brushes and wet on wet technique to create the blue and green water effects. When it dried, they added the sand at the bottom and green plants with regular water color paint sets. Then they designed, colored, and cut out many different kinds of ocean animals and added them to the mural. It was delightful.