Looking for a beach-inspired art project to enjoy with your kiddos this summer? Good news: I’ve got you covered with this super easy ocean art tutorial and the best part is that it’s perfect for kids!
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What I love about this beach-inspired tutorial is that it’s really forgiving and it only requires a few supplies to make it happen. Those two things make it the perfect ocean art project for kids!
Easy Ocean Art for Kids
Here are the supplies you’ll need to gather for your kids:
- canvas panels or stretched canvas
- assorted acrylic craft paints (look for white and a couple of blues, aqua greens, and browns)
- white paint pen (optional)
Step 1 – Blue Skies
Once you have all of your supplies, lightly draw two lines on the canvas to create dividing lines for the sky, water, and sand. Then start painting the sky by choosing one of your blues and painting some horizontal lines across the canvas.
Depending on your canvas and paintbrush size, you may create several of these lines or just a couple. Either way, be mindful of that first dividing line as you paint your sky.
Next, fill in the white spaces in the top section with the other blue using the same horizontal strokes.
When the top section of the canvas is covered with the blue tones, go back and use a light swooping stroke — still horizontal — to blend the lines where the blues meet or to add some extra color to the sky.
This blending is why this easy ocean art is particularly forgiving. It makes up for any wonky lines that happen and adds interest to the sky. Better yet, as long as the strokes stay horizontal, there’s not much that can go wrong here.
Step 2 – Gorgeous Ocean
To start painting the ocean, move down to the middle section and paint the same horizontal lines from Step 1, but this time using two or three turquoise tones.
(Note: this Caribbean and Key West acrylic set would work well for this step. I’m not positive what we used for the lighter color here, but we did use Caribbean for the darker turquoise shade.)
When the middle section is completely filled with the turquoise tones, blend them using those light swooping horizontal strokes. You can also work in small amounts of blue from your sky as you blend the turquoise tones.
If your artist prefers the ocean as is, move on to step three. If not, add some waves to the water by using the darker turquoise tone to create triangle-like shapes wherever desired.
If needed, remind your kiddo about perspective. Smaller waves need to be added near the horizon (close to where the blue and turquoise meet), but bigger waves need to be in the bottom half of this middle section.
To fill in the waves, take a break from those horizontal strokes and paint in the triangles with more triangles, working inward in each wave and using the other shades to highlight each wave and provide contrast with the horizontal strokes.
Step 3 – Sandy Shores
After the sky and ocean sections are complete, it’s time to move on to the sand. This step is an easy and familiar one. Use two tones — brown, beige, tan, and flesh tones could all work — to create the sand.
Use the darker sand color on the upper half of this section and the lighter on the bottom. Paint both colors in using the same long horizontal lines used in the rest of this easy ocean art. Then repeat the blending process where the colors meet.
Step 4 – Final Touches
When the sand is dry, use a white acrylic paint to add any final touches. You can this white to to add interest anywhere in the sand, sky, and ocean. For example, these touches can be small dabs of white to accent the crests of the waves or slight curves near the sand to show the foamy water approaching the shore.
Lastly, if desired, use a white sharpie pen somewhere in the sand to write a message. My little one wrote “Take a walk” on hers. 🙂
Once it all dries, your easy ocean art is ready to display and enjoy!