Seashore sculptures

Art at the seashore

Learning outcome

To select and use seashore materials and create a sculpture.

Key Stubbington focus

Teamwork - create a sculpture

  • For any age group
  • Duration 2.5 hours (morning or afternoon)
Success criteria
  • I can identify and find different colours for a sculpture
  • I can identify and find different textures for a sculpture
  • I can effectively use material to enhance a sculpture
  • I can work as part of a team
Session plan

Introduction 10-15 minutes

In Great Chamber or Games room with PowerPoint or Roundhouse with example photographs).

Explain the task to the children. Start by talking through making a rainbow as a whole class, to enable children to see the colours and textures that can be found on the beach. Then explain group task to create a sculpture on a given theme (check with schools beforehand).

Give hints on making

  • Appropriate size
  • Draw outline first, dig trench along outline and pile sand into the middle to create 3D effect
  • Work as a team and use skills effectively

Explain health and safety. This may be a reminder if the school chose to do a walk earlier in the week.

Explain that children are responsible for the buckets and tools.

Sort children into groups (check numbers and combinations with adults beforehand).

Send children off to get dressed appropriately, and use toilets if needed, and meet outside the Snufflehole.

Main - on beach

Give each group a different material to collect for the class rainbow. E.g. seaweed (red, brown or green); mussel shells, slipper limpets, periwinkles, cockles, stones (orange, black or white), driftwood, cuttlefish bones. NB these materials will vary during the year.

Children collect material (about 10mins). When a group has a good amount, get them started on the rainbow. Gradually call over other groups to add their material to the rainbow. When groups have contributed, they can start collecting material for their sculpture or hunt for fossils.

When the rainbow is complete, talk through it with the whole group. Identify the different materials, textures and colours found. Focus on the effect each has, (e.g. neat, messy, bright) and the ease of finding each material.

Children then work in groups on their own sculpture, referring to the rainbow when necessary. It maybe necessary to define working areas, depending on the tide.

Circulate around groups and remind them to draw outline, dig trench and have some busy collecting all the time. Ask children to give their sculptures a title.


Allow 10-15 minutes to evaluate work and 10 minutes to rinse out buckets and count tools).

Evaluate sculptures

This is best done by everyone standing around a sculpture. The sculptors share some information about their artwork. The group then share things they like. The artists can then tell the group something they would change or improve if they had more time or were to do this again. Repeat with each sculpture.

If the group is a large group, then speak to all the children about how to evaluate, what things are being looked for etc. Then give them time to independently look at each sculpture and then bring them altogether for a whole group discussion.

Encourage children to refer to the art work and use related words, e.g. colour, texture, material.

Lead group through clearing up. An adult with a throw bag is to supervise cleaning out of buckets at the water’s edge.

Before children are back on site, make sure they haven’t got any living specimens in pockets, they’ve shaken loose sand off their clothes, all buckets and tools are counted.

Once back, children will need to wash hands, change out of wet clothing and hang up waterproofs etc.

Less able children

Give children an example of what needs to be collected and point them towards the best area on the beach to collect.

More able children

  • Challenge children to think carefully about the texture of the objects and the effect it has
  • Challenge children to think about how to frame the art work

Pre visit activities

  • Selecting of material to create an effect
  • If you were going to create a piece of artwork of a face, what would you use if you weren’t allowed to use paint, crayons, pencils etc

Follow up activities

  • An evening sculpture session, either using the amphitheatre, the conservation area or smaller scale in the classrooms using material already collected
  • Look at an artist who uses natural material, e.g. Andy Goldsworthy
  • Children could use his work as a stimulus for their own work
Health and safety checks
  • Appropriate clothing- lots of layers in cold weather; hats and sun cream in hot weather
  • At all times, children should wear wellington boots
  • Keep hands away from face, no sweets
  • Wash hands on return
  • Awareness of public
  • No paddling in water (supervised cleaning out of buckets at the end of the session)
  • Throw bags and first aid kits
  • Children should have asthma inhalers off site
  • No throwing of anything, including pebbles into the sea
  • Check tide times beforehand