preschool · sahm

PAPER PLATE AQUARIUM: Come Swim Under the Sea with Me!

Miss R’s kinder class is learning all about oceans this month, so I volunteered to come in and lead an ocean-themed art project. This one fit the bill perfectly, and the kids loved it! It worked well for a group project, though I was grateful that the teacher was there to help since the activity involves several different steps. Check out our updated pics, and scroll on down for the original tutorial. 

Baby K enjoyed being a kindergartener and was mostly cooperative!


Before R ventured out to the aquarium with her Mimi and Papa Deedee this am, she wanted to swim under the sea — so to speak. I had woken up feeling capable of orchestrating artyness, with my half-opened eye on a specific project (I intended for us to create the festive and pinky-pretty heart wreath by blogger extraordinaire The Fancy Elephant Life). But R decided to save the tissue paper wreath for later, determined as she was to build an aquarium. Truly, she is responsible for most details in the fishy project that follows, and it turned out wonderfully. I highly recommend it for all ocean-loving kiddos. We’re currently in the sign of Aquarius, after all, and are now pumped up for our Hawaii sojourn next month.

DIY aquarium craftsThis activity demands very little in the way of materials:

  • 2 paper plates
  • kid-friendly paint and brushes
  • patterned paper
  • scissors
  • sequins and other embellishments
  • glue
  • mod-podge
  1. Start by cutting out the center of one plate to create a circular frame. Paint your plate-frame the color of your choice. 
  2. Paint the second plate blue (or whatever color you fancy for water). 
  3. Build your sea life scene by gluing on cut-outs of paper fish, seaweed, coral, etc. Note: Patience is not yet a virtue of R, and it would have behooved us to have waited to glue until the paint dried. Our plates became heavy with liquid pretty quickly. 
  4. Embellish your aquarium/ocean however you like! We used sequins for fish eyes and added blue gemstones for coral and sea glass. 
  5. Adorn the frame and attach it to the ocean scene by lining up the two plates. R fished out (ha!) an old Mardi Gras necklace to use as a colorful border. 
  6. Once everything is dry, I suggest a coat of mod podge to seal and protect. 

Yay! I’m quite pleased with the result, and R feels empowered by her bright ideas and artistry (I hope ☺️). What preschool-friendly winter crafts do you have up your sleeve to alleviate stir-craziness?

Paper plate aquarium for kids


6 thoughts on “PAPER PLATE AQUARIUM: Come Swim Under the Sea with Me!

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