Preschool Seashell Activities

Preschool Seashell Activities

Sweet summertime is here, and what says summer more than a trip to the beach? In my classroom, we are kicking off our summer learning with a beach theme. To start off the unit, I am sharing three seashell-themed activities to try with your preschoolers. All of these are quick to set up and you can reuse the materials for other activities. 

seashell activities

Seashell Sorting Bin 

The first seashell activity uses real seashells. I love to include real-world pictures and objects as much as possible in my classroom for my students to explore. 

Setting up the Seashell Sorting Bin 

seashell sorting activity preschool

To get started I gathered the following:

  • Kinetic Sand
  • Seashell Packs (I found them at Dollar Tree) 
  • Mini Sand Buckets 
  • Printed and Laminated Attribute Cards (from Beach Week Lesson Plans)

Seashell Sorting

Little ones loved sorting the sea shells by different attributes (shapes, color, texture). As each bucket would fill up with shells they would get so excited! This sensory bin sparked lots of conversation about the different types of shells and their experiences at the beach. 

seashell sorting activity preschool

My kiddos played in this sensory bin for so long! They loved playing with the kinetic sand and molding it into sand castles to decorate with their sea shells. If you haven’t used kinetic sand before, it is not nearly as messy as it looks. It easily clumps together which makes clean up pretty easy. 

seashell preschool activity

This was such a fun activity to kick off our summer learning!  

Seashell Color Sorting

This fun seashell activity focuses on sorting by color. Instead of real shells, I printed off the colorful shells from my Beach Week Lesson Plans and laminated them. This way I can use them again next year and for other activities in our beach unit. 

Setting Up Seashell Color Sorting

color sorting preschool activity

The setup for this one was pretty simple. The materials were:

  • Tivi tray or any sensory bin/tray
  • Sensory Bin Filler
  • Rainbow Shell printouts
  • Kid Tweezers
  • Seashell Graphing Sheet (3 different options available in the lesson plans)

I filled my Tivi tray with rice as the sensory filler (you could use a different filler, like the kinetic sand from the first activity), and buried the colorful shells within the filler. 

preschool color sort

I also got out my kid-size tweezers for little ones to use. I love using kid tweezers in my activities because it gives the little ones more of a challenge and works on those fine motor skills. 

Sorting the Rainbow Shells

Little learners then used their tweezers to find the colored shells and graph them on their sheets. As mentioned above, there are three different graphing sheets to choose from in the lesson plans, so this activity could be easily differentiated. 

color sorting and graphing preschool

What I love is that this one simple activity works on so many skills: fine motor, color recognition, sensory, and math skills! 

Seashell Painting

Looking for a quick, easy setup activity for morning centers or when you have some extra time? This seashell painting activity is perfect! If you have extra sea shells from your sorting sensory bin this is a great way to use them. The best part is all you need is seashells and watercolor paint! 


@preschoolpackets Painting seashells is so easy to set up ans the kids loved it! Perfect for an easy morning center! #inhomedaycare #summerideasforkids #toddlersummerideas ♬ original sound - Ms. Brittany


Little ones loved getting to display their artistic talents by painting the seashells with watercolors. Once they were dry we were able to put them back into our sensory bins to use again! 

seashell painting preschool activity

If you are looking for more beach-themed activities for your preschoolers, my Beach Activities Weekly Lesson Plan has five days of book recommendations, hands-on activities, crafts and more! And if you are looking for any of the materials I used in my beach theme, they are all on my Amazon storefront

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