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10 Creative & Frugal Seashell Activities Kids Will Love

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Check out these 10 creative & frugal seashell activities that kids will love. Great for learning fun & play.


Seashell activities with kids are a great way to have hands-on learning fun during the summer-and all year!  You can use seashells in a variety of ways to spark their creative juices, as well as help kids develop fine motor skills.  Check out these 10 Creative & Frugal Seashell Activities Kids Will Love for art, craft, math, and fun play.

I love to discover new ways to teach and learn with my boys.  We tend to gravitate towards hands-on learning with practical items around our home.  Recently, we have been using more and more objects from nature to in our play and learning adventures.

With five boys, we have always had a lot of treasures from nature that are “keepers”.  Captain (13) loved to explore our yard and any outdoor area for pebbles, sticks, and acorns.  Through the years, his younger brothers have added to our collection.

These nature treasures are spread throughout our home.  They are great conversation starters and reminders of fun family times.  Rocks from our beloved summer get-away in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland to driftwood from the Jersey Shore have become beautiful decor for our home.

From our visits to the shore, we have collected quite a few shells.  Countless walks enjoying the sea breeze have resulted in buckets of precious shells.  After a good sorting and cleaning, a select few shells make their way home with us.

Unfortunately, it has been a few years since our last trip to New Jersey shores.  Through much play and handle, our shell collection has dwindled.  When I got the idea to seashell activities for summer learning fun, I knew we could find a way to find shells suitable for our plans.

Coach picked up a few bags of seashells at an arts and crafts store.  If you do not live near the shore or have seashells easily accessible to you, here is a great option:


10 Creative & Frugal Seashell Activities Kids Will Love

Seashell activities with playdough are super fun! Check out these 10 Creative & Frugal ways kids will love learning with seashells.

1.  Playdough

Whip up a batch of homemade playdough.  Need a great recipe?  Here is the one I use with my boys.  It yields a very large batch, plenty for all five boys and myself to use.

More playdough fun with seashell activities. Here is a beach scene that you can make using homemade playdough and seashells.

Do not color your playdough and it will look like sand!  Super fun to pretend you are on the beach and playing with the shells.  Create different beach scenes with your playdough.

Another fun beach scene made with homemade playdough for fun seashell activities.
Smiley with his seashell/homemade playdough beach scene. He named it “Shark eating bear!”


seashell activities Xman Captain
Xman & Captain working on their beach scene with homemade playdough & seashells.


2.  Paint

Use washable paint and have a blast creating beautiful and colorful shells.  Use small tip brushes to add different colors in crevices and nooks.


3.  Crayons

Color your shells with crayons for a pretty effect.  Try coloring with crayons and then paint over top.

Using crayons on seashells is a fun way to create all types of crafts.
Bear creating his shell friends using crayon.


Seashell activities using crayons are fun for kids of all ages.
Bear pointing out his new seashell friends

4.  Crayon Rubs

Get out paper and crayons.  Place shells on flat surface and lay paper on top.  Use crayons (may need to take off paper and use side) to make a crayon rubbing.  What type of cool effects can your different shells make?


5.  Glitter

Do you have kids that like to glitter it up?  I sure do!

Glue & glitter are great ways to have learning fun with seashell activities.

Glue & glitter are great ways to have learning fun with seashell activities.
Captain helping Xman make glitter seashells.

Lay newspaper or other material to ensure clean work area.  Dab white glue onto clean shell surface.  Sprinkle glitter on shell (or dip into glitter in dish).  Tap excess glitter off and let dry.


6.  Art

Seashell activities for art are awesome!  Embellish drawings by glueing on tiny shells.  Use a seashell or two as focal point of art work.  Create a collage of shells on paper or another medium.


7.  Mosaic

Seashells create beautiful mosaics.  Create a plaque using cardboard, glue, and shells.  Glue popsicle sticks into a square and glue seashells on to make an interesting picture frame.


8.  Shell Friends

Glitter & googly eyes can make such adorable seashell friends!
Smiley with his glittery & googly seashell friends.

My boys love to create new little friends.  Googly eyes, glue, markers, yarn, and other decorations can be used to make shell friends and family.  Write their names on the other side of the shell so you don’t get them mixed up (speaking from experience!)

You can make silly seashell friends with a bit of glue, googly eyes, and imagination.
Professor made Alexander “Clam” Bell!


Crayon on seashells is a fun way to decorate and having learning fun.
Smiley created a “smiley” seashell army.


9.  Math Manipulatives

Seashell activities with seashells and homemade playdough are fun for math learning like patterns.

Math is fun with seashell activities!  Use for counting, sorting, and patterns.  Hands-on addition and subtraction help concepts and facts stick.

Seashell activities can be a fun way to practice math concepts like skip counting.
Smiley using seashells for skip counting.


You can make cool patterns using markers on seashells for learning funl
Patterns made using markers on seashell.

We added a bit of science in these activities.  I brought out our Handbook of Nature Study as a reference for identifying and naming shells.

Seashell activities can include science learning fun! Using a nature study handbook is great for seashell identification.



10.  Learning Tools

You can use permanent markers on seashells to label with letters, numbers, shapes, colors, & more!

Using a permanent marker, label shells with concepts like numbers, letters, shapes, and colors.  Larger shells may even be able to fit sight words for reading practice.


As you can see, seashell activities can bring a lot of learning fun to your family.  What types of crafts and activities will use with your seashells?

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