Location: Any beach or open coastal space where seashore items can be found.

Materials: None required although some basic digging tools and buckets may help

Running the activity: You don’t need a clean sandy beach to make beach sculptures or beach drawings. Beach sculptures can be made at any scale from very small intricate pieces, to large Groups pieces. Useful items include shells, stones, beach litter (except for unsanitary items and sharps), driftwood and rope. You may wish to set ground rules at the start about what can be used. Nothing that is living should be used (This includes seaweed attached to rocks), nor any sharps, explosives or unsanitary items or anything that another group has gathered for their sculpture.

The MBA logo made from sand and stranded seaweed

Divide a large group into smaller teams or all work together if you have space.

Decide on a theme. A sea creature (real or imaginary) is usually a good subject. If the groups can’t decide between two ideas, you could suggest they combine them to make an imaginary creature! Set a time limit and encourage teamwork, perhaps suggesting that roles are assigned in the team (gatherers, designers, builders etc). Another idea is to ask children to invent their own sea creature, adapted to live on the shore.

Picture of Crabs made from beach debris at the mouth of an estuary

When sculptures are completed, pretend that the whole group is visiting an art gallery and walk to each sculpture, stopping at each whilst groups explain a little about their sculpture and others ask questions about the work. Take photos of the artists with their work before the tide ‘wipes the canvas clean’. It is also a good opportunity to discuss beach litter, removing any that has been used in artwork to dispose of sensibly. Talk about some of the other interesting things, which can be found on the strandline and may be used in the designs.An addition could be to run the beach art activity after a scavenger hunt, using the finds from the hunt in the beach sculptures.



Group Size



up to an hour

Ocean Literacy Links