Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sand Art

In an effort to think "warm thoughts," and to integrate an ocean/beach/summer theme, we have been working with sand in different areas of the classroom.  There are different types of sands for spooning and pouring in Practical Life and shells for counting in Math.  I thought it would be fitting for the children to be able to work with sand and bits of shell in an artistic, creative way as well.  The following activity is set up at a stationary table in order to maximize the sensorial element of the lesson - I wanted the children to simply not have to worry about carrying the materials to the workspace...they are able to do that with other lessons throughout the classroom.  Here, it is all about the tactile experience with the sand types while expressing creativity and self. 

From left to right:  Dark colored tag board and smaller sized cream colored oak tag in shell-shaped napkin holder.  Small jar with white pencil for writing name on dark paper.  Container of glue with brush for application.  Three-sectioned, clear container with three varying types of sand:  coarse, medium, fine.   White cover of shoe box (for carrying the work to drying rack when the child finishes).  The  newsprint protects the workspace.

First, the child chooses one piece of dark colored paper, writes their name with the white pencil, and turns it over placing slightly to the right of the workspace.  Then, they take one piece of cream colored oak tag  and place it to the left of the dark paper. 

The child then applies glue to the light paper and turns it over onto the dark paper, creating a frame for the art work.  Next, the child applies glue to various places on the cream paper.  Now, they are ready to start exploring and creating with the different types of sand!

When the child in finished, they place their work onto the white lid and carry it over the drying rack.  Once the glue is dry, the excess sand is shaken off into a box.  Here is what they look like hanging in our hallway:

 Happy, warm, "beachy" thoughts!


  1. What a great creative sensorial activity! I love your detailed photos and descriptions of how to prepare the work at a stationary table. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday!

  2. Thanks, Deb! And thank you also for the feature on your facebook page. I enjoy sharing ideas and was so happy to post at Montessori Monday - I look forward to doing it again!

  3. Do you limit children to how many of these they can create? At one that other children can have a turn. Do you create a list of children waiting for works, so that they don't have to stand and wait for the child to finish to secure their turn.

    1. I usually have a list of names next to the lesson where the children can cross off their name once they have completed the lesson (one per sitting). I always make sure each child has done one (if they choose to) before others can make another one. After I know each child has made at least one, they can make as many as they wish, still one at each sitting.
      After I present the lesson, I make sure the children understand how many children can work on it at one time. For this particular lesson, they understood that only one child at a time could be working on it. Anyone who is watching much follow the "watching rules" - not talking to the person who is working and being sure not to touch the other person's work... Part of the lesson also includes the clean up, so the other children know the work is ready for another person once all the materials are back in place. For example, if someone wanted to start on it but the previous child was still cleaning the brush at the sink, they would know it is not yet ready because the brush isn't there...
      I don't keep a list of children who would like to use a particular lesson - I usually let the children figure out a solution if there is a "back up." They are really good at keeping track of whose turn is next, etc!!! :)