Not sure what to do with all the seashells and rocks your kids bring home from the beach? Use their beach treasures to create mementoes of your trip with shell stepping stones for your garden a perfect activity for our 3rd week of storybook summer this year all about the oceans.

DIY summer craft for you and your kids to make to remember your beach trip. Use your shell collections to make beautiful sand moulded stepping stones.

My kids and I love going to the beach on warm summer days. And when they need a break from the water and the excitement of jumping over the waves, we always turn our attention to shell collecting. My kids will scour the beach for hours hunting for treasure: seashells, rocks, and animal carcasses.

Star fish

They love the hunt. And they squeal with each treasure they find as they race to me to put it in their bucket. But at the end of the day, they beg me to bring all their treasures home. The animal carcasses are a hard pass for me, but I let my kids choose a few special shells or rocks to bring home as mementoes from our trip.

But what to do with all the shells once we get back home?

If after this project you have excess shells then why not dye them and create pretty wind chimes out of them.

10 tips for getting toddlers to the beach

There’s only so many shells we can pile into jars and on shelves and in their rooms. Instead of chucking them when my kids aren’t looking, we started to create shell stepping stones for our family garden. My kids get to keep their shells and look at them often and I don’t have shells piling up on dressers and falling on the floor where I will inevitably step on them. Plus, these shell stepping stones make inexpensive and meaningful souvenirs for any beach trips we take.

Check out our Vacation Memory Jar for another idea for keeping mementoes from your trips.

DIY memory stepping stones for kids to make

Storybook Summer Featured Book

We have included links to the book and resources we used to create this summer craft project. If you purchase via these links we may earn a small commission.

We love to read books in our family and there are many great beach and shell books. The book I love to read with my kids is A Beach Day, by Douglas Florian.

It’s a sweet predictable rhyming poem, reminiscing about all the sweet things we can do together during our day at the beach. And at the very back of the book are pictures of shells that you and your child may recognize.

shell collections and using books to identify the shells collected at the beach

With our shells, we look over the last page of the book and see if we have any matches. We try to figure out what kind of animals lived in our shells and talk about the different kinds of shells and why they might look different. And we discuss why an animal would need a shell to survive in the ocean.

If you find this book difficult to get hold of then check out our other books to read about beaches and oceans.

Ingredients to Make a Shell Stepping Stones

Disposable bucket you’re willing to throw away

Wet sand from the beach (or sand from the playground if you don’t want to/can’t drag sand home from the beach)

Cardboard box (like a box that holds water bottles or soda cans)

Shells and rocks collected from the beach

Stepping stone concrete mix

Measuring cup and water

Disposable wooden spoon you’re willing to throw away or a paint stirring stick from a paint store

Popsicle stick or pencil you can throw away when you’re done

Equipment needed to make some beach memory stepping stones for the garden

How to Make Your Summer Memory Beach Stepping Stones

1 – Place the wet sand in the shallow box and create the shape of the stepping stone you want with your fingers. Build up the sides of sand to create a wall.

Keep in mind, the bottom of the shape will be the top of the stepping stone. So make sure to define that space with your finger well. We have made hearts and circles and squares.

making sand moulded shapes to form the stepping stones

2 – Place the shells into the bottom of your sand shape. Keep in mind what you place face down will be seen on the stepping stone and what you can see now will be hidden by concrete.

using shells collected from the beach to create a memory stone with kids for the garden

3 – Carefully mix the concrete in a bucket you are willing to throw away with a sturdy wooden spoon you will also throw away. Follow the directions carefully on the stepping stone mix packaging. Make sure to stir all the way to the bottom of your bucket to get all of the concrete mixed in.

Be careful not to add too much water because a little goes a long way. You want the final consistency to be similar to brownie batter. If you add too much water, it will take longer to dry and you may not be able to write in your concrete.

using milestones stepping stone mix to create summer memory stones

4 – Spoon the concrete mixture over your shells and flatten it so the top layer of concrete is smooth and even. If you get concrete on your fingers or clothes, wash it immediately.

5 – If you wish, use a popsicle stick or a pencil you will throw away to write on your stepping stone. We tend to write the name of the beach where we found the shells and the year. You can also write “Summer of…” if the shells were collected over several visits to the beach.

making annual summer memory stones with location and date on them

6 – Let the shell stepping stone dry overnight.

7 – When it’s fully dry, carefully lift it out of the sand and rinse off the extra sand.

shell stepping stones DIY

8 – Place your shell stepping stone in your garden and enjoy! Remember that shells are sharp on feet and stepping on these could break the shells. So while they are technically stepping stones, we place them in between our herbs so that won’t get stepped on.

DIY summer craft for you and your kids to make to remember your beach trip. Use your shell collections to make beautiful sand moulded stepping stones.

On your next beach trip, you can now encourage your kids to find shells and rocks on the beach without worrying where you’re going to put them all once you get back home. Which will make your beach trip that much more enjoyable. But you may still have to convince your kids that animal carcasses have to stay at the beach.

Nicole Black is a recovering elementary school teacher, a mom to three super busy kids, and mostly survives on strong coffee.
She shares her best parenting tips and tricks for intentionally raising kind kids, creating a stronger family connection, and bullying prevention at Coffee and Carpool.
Follow her at www.coffeeandcarpool.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coffeeandcarpool

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DIY summer craft for you and your kids to make to remember your beach trip. Use your shell collections to make beautiful sand moulded stepping stones.

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DIY summer craft for you and your kids to make to remember your beach trip. Use your shell collections to make beautiful sand moulded stepping stones.

Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

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