Beach Week: Learning at the Beach Part I: Art


All this week I am off on an imaginary family trip to the beach! So far we’ve prepared for the trip with some great books for all ages, we’ve packed and we’ve enjoyed the first full day and evening at the beach. Today we’re doing a little learning. This will be a two post “series within the series”–both parts to be posted today!


First a Great Picture Book


First, a story book, because story books are just so cool. I didn’t put this one in the preparing for the beach post because the idea was to let the kiddos notice these things without grow-ups point them out. The parental helicopter is grounded on this vacation.

The Paint-Box Sea, sadly is out-of-print, but you can find reasonably priced used copies online or many copies are still in libraries–ask for Interlibrary Loan if necessary.  One of my hopes for this post is that someone, maybe an indepdent art publisher, will republish this gem.

All Images from this book are copyright by McGraw Hill


The vivid illustrations and rhyming text tell the story of a summer by the beach and how a girl named Jane comes to use her new paints to capture the sights and lights of the beach at Penobscot Bay, Maine.



All Images from this book are copyright by McGraw Hill



All Images from this book are copyright by McGraw Hill

In the story Jane and her brother, Jim, explore the changes of the water, beach and sky in different types of weather. It is a gentle story, not a cliched object lesson. The children explore with all their sense. Best of all, to me, there are no adults showing them how they “should” see it or pointing it all out to them. They are doing this on their own. If modern children ask where the parents are, just say they were taking the pictures!

I remember my own first trip to the Beach–Lee Street Beach in Evantston, Illinois. I remember the cold sand and the stink of dead fish that had washed up. It was probably Spring or Fall–it definitely wasn’t summer. I remember Mom letting us explore. A free feeling and fun.


Mine was the one on the bottom. I still have it.

Around the same time, I also remember getting a lovely box of watercolors. Mom let me just try them, but she also showed my brother and me how to really paint with them. Sadly, I really didn’t have much talent for it, but my brother sure did! Of course, Mom is very artistic–her Great-Uncle was artist Edwin Fulwider.





Here’s a very cute modern set  of water color paints in a available at a reasonable price.


You can buy a lovely set of watercolors or you can buy a set of these lovely watercolor pencils (you can get a matching sketch pad, too). These you draw and color with and then wash with water. So, you can do the drawing on the beach, but not have to deal with wet paper till you are home. Watercolor Pencils, Sketch Pad, Regular Colored Pencils & Sketch Pad Set and Fat Colored Pencils (for little hands).



Resist the urge to help “perfect” the child’s technique–just let them create. If they really want to learn to draw there are ways you can help. Drawing With Children is book that lets any parent help a child learn to draw. (There is a version of the book for Adults and Older Children as well). My own children and I used the book and both kids had after-school enrichment classes at various times that were based on this technique for learning to draw. I highly recommend it.

There are also countless videos on Youtube, local Art Museum kids days and kids classes and other ways to learn to draw and capture what you are seeing.

Another way of learning with art is Journaling–keeping a travel journal or, as we’ll see in the second “Learning at the Beach” post–nature journal.  When traveling take simple journals–even blank paper–and let everyone draw or describe (or both) or make collages or scrapbook their experience. When you get home, use one of these techniques to bind them or scan them and include them in a family photobook. Simple Book Binding, Japanese Book Binding  and Fabric Binding or just take them to an office supply store and have them spiral bound–whatever your level of “crafty” likes. Here’s a great way that even the youngest members of the family can contribute to the family journal or scrapbook–the can draw, write or dictate their answers.







Maybe you prefer making crafts to drawing. I’ve put together a special Pinterest board of crafts for all ages. Ways to make those seashells, driftwood and other flotsam and jetsam of your trip into mementos of your happy vacation.





First though, if you prefer to buy a craft kit to do some memorable crafts with your children here is a great kit for sand casting. Piece of the Beach kit.








Later today: Part II of Learning at the Beach–Science and Nature

I enjoy reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s