These shark bookmarks are just adorable and oh! so simple to make. Using either construction paper or the template included with the Sharks & Rays Science Unit available on Teachers Pay Teachers. Simply print out the template, trace onto construction paper or use as-is. Glue on the shark’s mouth and teeth. Fold along the dotted lines, and glue together. Cut the three triangles that make up the fins and glue in the location of your desire.
Making art out of old fishing floats is a great way to spread awareness about the growing problem of plastic in the ocean. If you need a project for your class for World Oceans Day, consider making art out of marine debris.
This video shows how I make art out of marine debris. First, the debris is collected, soaked, scrubbed, and dried. Then, using an oil pastel, I sketch a draft of what I will be painting. Then, I use Liquitex acrylic paints to paint the buoy. Sometimes, I have to give the buoy a little coat of primer using white paint or gesso, so that the color shows through a little better.
A new study shows that some eight million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. At that rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Ask your students to think about things that they can do to use less plastic.
Here is a little activity I like to do with my kids. We look for an interesting image on the internet or in a book and then we sit down together and draw it. I let my kids watch me so that if they are having trouble, they can see how I am working it out. In this case we each drew a fish.
My son drew the fish on the top, mine is on the bottom. In case you are wondering, it is a flame angelfish. Anyways, when we are done drawing, we switch papers and color each others’ drawings.
This activity would work in a classroom setting as well using guided drawing and then having the kids turn in their drawings and asking one of the students to hand out the papers. Then having the kids color in the drawings. Collaborative art in the classroom is always fun.
If you like to draw fish, I recommend a site called marinelifephotography. Keoki Stender and his wife take some amazing underwater photographs!
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Here’s a fun activity for your kids, that still has some educational value. Build a coral reef in their bedroom. After reading a brief description of the animals that live on the reef, choose the ones that you would like for your own personal reef, color them in, cut them out and glue them onto the wall. You can make some of the corals out their hand prints after tracing them onto construction paper. This fun project can keep the kids busy for hours.
Where do you start? Download the Build Your Own Coral Reef Kit from Teachers Pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook, cover the wall with blue butcher paper, print out the reef animals you like best, color, cut an glue.
And you have just built your own coral reef!
Gyotaku is a great project for lessons on marine life, or visual arts or just a fun craft to do with your kids this summer. Children can learn about the anatomy of a fish first hand while making a unique print or painting. There are several steps you must follow to achieve a successful fish rubbing. I have listed the steps below.
Before I get in to that you may be wondering what is Gyotaku.
Gyotaku is a traditional method of Japanese fish printing or fish rubbing as the name implies. This ancient art dates back to the mid-1800s and was used by fishermen to record their catches. Japanese fisherman used non-toxic ink so they could record their catch, wash away the ink, and still eat the fish. Over time, it has become its own form of art.
Here are the supplies that you will need to make a fish rubbing:
Fish, Acrylic paint, ink, or even tempera paint will work, Container for the paint, Paintbrush, Newspaper or a shallow pan, Paper towels, Cork, pins, foam core, or clay, and Rice Paper
Preparing the Fish:
First you must prepare your fish. An improperly prepared fish can have disasterous results on your fish printing. Your fish must be brought to room temperature. Freshly caught fish work great. The fish must be washed to remove the slime, but nor the scales. You can use soap, lemon juice, salt, or vinegar to wash the fish. It must then be dried. The gills and other open orifices are notorious for leaking, you may stuff them with tissue or use a blow dryer to ensure that your fish is dry.
Next, place the fish in a shallow pan or on a piece of newspaper. You may use clay, corks, foam core or pins to open and support the fish’s fins. The blow dryer can be used once the fins have been opened to dry them and keep them open.
Inking the Fish:
Once the fish has been dried and arranged, you can apply the paint or ink with a brush or sponge. Be aware that if you use a course brush, the lines made in the paint will translate onto your fish print. Avoid painting or inking the eye. If you paint it, you can remove the paint with a Qtip.
Rubbing the Fish:
Now you are ready to rub the fish. Cut a piece of rice paper to fit your fish. I recommend using a standard size in case you want to frame it. Rice paper is often sold in rolls and is fibrous. Regular art papers will not work for this project, the paper needs to be flexible and fibrous. I have seen it done with T-shirts, fabric, and even paper bags.
Place your cut piece of paper gently onto the fish; try not to wrinkle the paper as you rub the top of the paper to transfer the print. Also, try not to move the paper once it is placed on the fish to avoid smearing or double printing.
Begin to rub the fish so that the paint is transferred to the paper. You may want to place your free fingers under the fins and press upward to ensure that they are printed. Go slow and be careful. When you have rubbed the entire fish, slowly lift the paper away. Voila, fish print!
Painting the fish:
You now have a monochromatic fish print. You may want to add color to your print by painting in details such as stripes or other patterns and colors. Before you do so however, allow the print to dry completely. You will also want to paint in the eye.
You may notice some interesting things about your fish while you are printing it. For children that want to know about the anatomy of the fish, refer to the picture below. If you are doing this project in a science class, you may want your students to label the fins and other anatomical features that characteristic of fish.