torn paper turtles 

From the moment we put up our ocean wall, Jackson has been waiting to add TURTLES. This was the project we came up with. 

First, we painted egg carton pieces… love upcycled materials! (I got this fabulous idea on Pinterest from Emma Owl.)

We mixed different shades of green and Jackson painted his hand. The usual. 

After our shells dried, Lucas joined us to make the bodies. (I forgot tails. Oops. Science fail.) 

I wanted the boys to get some practice tearing pieces of paper, a great fine motor and hand-strengthening activity. I provided several shades of green, which also gave them different textures and paper strengths to manipulate. (Ironically, they tear pages in our library books much easier than they tore these! Good thing we have a resident book doctor.)

Once we had a pile of flippers, we counted out four for each shell (yay math!) and attached each with glue. Placing the flippers was hard for Jackson, but I wanted him to try. (You could also draw and cut out a whole turtle body and glue the cardboard shell on top.)

The arts are a fantastic tool for helping children problem solve and work through challenges. I’m still working on backing off and letting them explore. It’s a process for both of us, for sure. 

In this case, Jackson started out using way too much glue. He got frustrated when the flippers fell off as he pushed the shell around. But he was determined. He quickly began adding the glue (“just a dab’ll do ya mama!”) to one side of the flipper, the side that would touch the shell. He gently turned the shell to add all 4 flippers. He did it. 

No pictures of this part. We were knee-deep in a flipper crisis. You understand. 

Persistence, problem solving, spatial awareness, color sorting and mixing, fine motor skills, hand muscle strengthening, counting. AND you get a turtle out of it. Woot woot. 

Once we added a pom pom head to each, we let them dry and then added them to the ocean. Some are even crawling out to lay their eggs. 

Up next… fish!


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