What is it about the ocean that brings calm, inspires us to dream, oh… and is filled with so many stories and so much science to keep our brains well fed? This summer librarians across the country are celebrating all things oceans with a cool summer reading theme: Ocean of Possibilities. I am so here for that!
I have the perfect activity to marry that dreamy Ocean theme with craft and literacy. And today is step number one… making your very own sea. This can be scaled down or scaled up depending on how much space you have and whether you are doing this at home or at your local library.
This is one my favorite projects I have EVER done with my kiddos and I know you’ll love it too..
The first step is making the ocean, our beautiful blue backdrop that will serve as our canvas for all of our sea related crafts and story time.
Ocean Mural (Supplies & Step-by-Step)
I am making a 15 foot mural that will set the mood and create a natural home for our crafts and adventures, hanging it on the rather short and mostly unused wall in our bonus room. But don’t forget this could be tucked into a corner of a bedroom, down a hallway, lengthwise in the kitchen or across a wall… you decide what works best for you! Any shape and size will do.
To do this, you’ll need a roll of paper. We used brown resin paper (contractors use it all the time and you can find at hardware stores and home improvement stores) because it’s a little weightier and stronger than the paper roll for children’s art easels, but I do think that type of paper could work as well. You also need:
- Blue Painter’s tape
- a variety of non-toxic washable paints in ocean colors
- paint brush and painting sponges (available at craft stores)
- paper plates (they will serve as paint palettes)
UNLEASH the kiddos. Get out the measuring tape and measure how much wall you are devoting to ocean. You can do this with measuring tape, but it’s also a great curriculum/math tie-in opportunity… example: our mural is how many kiddos long? How many pencils tall? Etc.
Take your paper roll and measuring tape outside and roll the paper out alongside your measuring tape. Once you’ve reached the desired length, tape your paper down to the driveway or whatever surface you are painting on.
Have kiddos squeeze as many colors and as much paint as he/she wants onto the paper plate.
Cover the entire paper surface with paint. There is no right way to paint the ocean, imaginations can run free here!
TIP: the painting sponges create a frothier looking sea. Let the kids go crazy with this. You can really set them loose with this one : )
After the mural is dry, take your sponge dip it into white paint and ever so lightly, dab the top of your mural, to create white sea foam.
Take scissors and trim the top of the mural lengthwise to create a wavy border.
SAND – repeat above steps with sand colors if you want to add a beach to your mural. or use the brown resin paper in its present form.
Now you are ready to hang the mural. We used blue painter’s tape to attach it to the wall. This tape should come off the wall easily without damaging the paint on your walls. I taped the side and bottom edges to the wall and made sticky bunches of blue tape for the back of the mural. Now that your mural is in place, you are ready to make a month’s worth of crafts to place in your sea or on your beach!
What’s even better than making a super fun ocean? Reading by it! Grab a beach towel and this list of books to get your started!
Don’t forget to order my new release… Think lighthouse, remote island, and a little girl hero that is going to inspire you. Best part is–this story is completely true! COURAGE LIKE KATE is the picture book of my heart because it is such a special story of heroism. Meet Kate Moore, she’s the lighthouse hero who started keeping the light and saving lives at age twelve back in the 1800’s! Her story COURAGE LIKE KATE: THE TRUE STORY OF A GIRL LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER is available for pre-order right now.
Here’s to Oceans of Possibilities!