Friday, July 12, 2013

Under the Sea with Swimmy!

I absolutely adore Swimmy by Leo Lionni, not only because the story is one of resilience and courage, but also because the artwork is just stunning.

Inspired by my recent vacation at the beach, I dove headfirst into a week of under the sea adventures all inspired by Swimmy.

At this point, I must confess that I may also have chosen this book because of the watercolor illustrations and the fact that it's the end of the year and I'm pretty much out of every art supply except my handy liquid watercolor.

We started off with some very ambitious sea anemones, which got more complicated as the week went on and could even be more complicated if you have the time and the kiddos have the patience.  

Our first attempt was just the anemone, partially invented by my artsy husband when I told him I wanted it to look 3-D.  

By the second attempt, I decided we should wet on wet watercolor the paper first to give the anemone somewhere to reside.

Next I did a lantern-type design to make the bottom of the anemone stick out from the paper.  These had to be glued and allowed to dry before the final step.
Finally, we used yarn soaked in a thin water/glue mixture to create the tentacles.
If you have older children, you could expand from here and add sand or rocks to create the sea floor or even add some happy little clown fish. :)

One of my favorite illustrations in the book is the picture of the jellyfish.  I had high hopes that with more wet on wet watercolor, we could come close to the original.
Not too shabby, if you ask me!

Sometimes, we create projects that I really regret sending home before taking a picture of all of them together - this was one of those projects - they were all unique and equally beautiful!

The third project I had planned was never completed, but while perusing the local grocery store, I came across some awesome fish stickers and picked up a few for my Parent's Night Out kiddos.
Back to that good ole watercolor!

And the little ones all went home with their very own fishbowl!

What are your favorite ocean-themed books?  I love recommendations!


  1. These art projects are beautiful! I love Swimmy too :) One of our other favorite ocean themed books is Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck. We read it several times a week!

    1. I've never read that book - I'll be looking that up right now! Thanks for the recommendation! :)


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