Beach Themed My Obstacle Course: Station Activities Using Shells

I know that it is now August and people are probably in “back to school” mode but we just returned from a vacation at the beach and I got lots of ideas for a beach themed My Obstacle Course to use with Andrew before school starts again. Don’t worry, I have LOTS of ideas for the fall but since it is still summer I’m going to try to remain in the present and enjoy the rest of the season, even if a chill in the air would be a dream come true!


This was our third trip to the beach but the first time that Andrew was willing to walk a little bit in the sand. One of the ways we gave these walks some purpose was to gather up some shells. In typical Andrew fashion, he began by wanting to know exactly how many shells he had to get before he could go back. He would then grab that number of shells as quickly as he could get his hands on them and run back to our spot. We learned and then gave the beach walks a certain length of time or a certain distance, such as walking to a specific house before turning back. This helped a bunch, knowing that there was an end to something he wasn’t really crazy about (a familiar theme for us!). He eventually became VERY interested in finding shells because he learned that they could be glued together to make shell ceiling fans (thanks Tina!). He was not only able to gather up shells but was really focused on finding ones that were all a similar size and shape to give the fans similar blades. These shell ceiling fans are now hanging from the pull chains of his bedroom ceiling fan and are a prized possession of his.

Andrew's Shell Ceiling Fan

My Obstacle Course Station Activity: Sorting Shells

Now, my station activity idea is not to create shell ceiling fans, unless your child is crazy about ceiling fans like mine is, and if so, go for it! I was thinking more about using shells to work on skills like:

  • Sequencing the shells by size (smallest to largest)
  • Sorting the shells by shape, size or color
I did not bring any shells back from the beach because my suitcase was packed so I am going to check out Michael’s to see if they have some, which I’m sure they do, perhaps even at a discount because they probably have Christmas items out on display!! I digress – back to My Obstacle Course station ideas.

My Obstacle Course Station Activity: Shell Description

This is a really basic station activity using one shell and working together to see how many words we can come up with to describe that shell. This is aimed at increasing vocabulary and descriptive language regarding a single object. I would do this activity with a dry erase board or sheet of paper and I would probably do the writing since that is not my objective, however, if your child is ready for that and is still able to come up with ideas, go for it! You can always take turns if it ends up being an issue.

Some examples:

  • smooth
  • curved edges
  • has ridges
  • round
  • flat
  • sharp
  • pointy
  • brown
  • speckled
  • striped

My Obstacle Course Station Activity: Shell Creations

Another fun activity is to gather some shells and see what you can create using them. In the bunch of shells I found at the beach, I was able to make a dolphin, turtle and queen, complete with hula skirt :).

Have fun, get a little creative and help your child build skills using something a little out of the ordinary!

Engage, Encourage and Empower!

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