One of the major advantages of living in Australia on the coast is getting to explore beaches, rock pools and endless amounts of beautiful shells and we are lucky, there are a few serene, mostly deserted beaches nearby that we visit regularly.
Usually we hunt for treasure, look for crabs and creatures in rock pools, build sand structures, draw in the sand, jump waves and search for unusual shells. There is one beach we visit driving there by 4x4 and we usually have the entire beach to our self, it never fails to provide pile after pile of shells. Amongst them are these pretty little shells with the most intricate patterns that I used to collect with my mum as a kid.
Dimples has taken on the family tradition, he loves collecting shells. On this occasion we collected our treasures and specifically seeked out these small little shells. Bankivia Fasciata, a mollusk known as silver kelp shell but they don't actually live on kelp they live in sand just out of the break water. So after rough seas lots get washed up. Pinks, purples, greys, browns, whites, & cream colours with stripes or zig zag patterns (or both).
Once home we sorted our finds into piles; rocks, our silver kelp shells, shells with holes to thread, shells for the hermit crab pet & shells for the garden. Dimples started noticing the patterns and asking if they were a crab or slug (mollusk) & if they were the same even though they were all different. He noticed the zig zags and stripes so we decided to pick some favourites and look at them under a microscope. I drew up some outlines and dimples chose his shells and identified the colours and the shades on them, then focused on the detailed patterns.
It was complicated; drawing tight zig zags and differentiating between shades of the colours and then identifying the way in which the patterns flowed on the shell. Using a steady hand and trying to stay in side the lines he did the patterning.
After he spent a long time focusing on the details of the shells and talking about how they are different, he announced he was finished and got a bit of clear tape to stick the shell he drew next to his picture of it. He was very pleased with his creations and told me that one is for me, one for Nan & one for his great Aunt who he went shell collecting with while she was visiting recently.
Identifying colors & shades
Learning about shells
Steady pencil grip
Focused attention to detail
identifying differences and similarities
Ideas for Extension:
Draw the patterns in white crayon & then use water color to paint the sea shell
Collect shells for a pretend play beach
Exploring different sizes and shapes of shells found
Use them with some sand dough in a Sand Dough Activity like this
Use them in some Play dough Texture Printing
Happy Adventures :)