CREATIVE FAMILY FUN: Collecting sea glass, shells and stones

By Donna Erickson


A family sorts and indentifies sea glass collected from the coast. (Photo by Donna Erickson)

“Spending time with my seven young grandkids is about learning together and making discoveries that ignite the human spirit,” says Jan Bowman, retired teacher and grandmother of seven. “Whether you are 6 or 60, connecting with one another around an activity we all enjoy is catching. That’s what the hunt for sea glass does for us.”

Recently, after a big storm, I said, “Let’s go to the coast this morning. I bet we’ll find some rare sea glass that was churned up in the ocean and landed on the sand, just for us to find.” Sure enough, nature’s jewelry was dotting the beach.

What is sea glass and what is the allure? Plain and simple, it’s discarded glass that was cast into the ocean and lost to sea — until some pieces came back in interesting shapes and sizes after being tumbled and chemically weathered. It’s often castoffs from glass factories, or discarded bottles from shipwrecks that broke and tumbled in the sea, decades and centuries ago. Nowadays, it’s a hobby that knows no bounds, popular stateside to global shores from Australia to the U.K.

Whether your family gets hooked on collecting sea glass, seashells or pretty rocks and pebbles along streams and around lakes, there’s always fun to be had when you return home with pockets full of finds. Enjoy these easy-to-do crafts using sea glass, shells or stones:

—Frame a photo of your child at the beach where the sea glass or shells were found. Embellish the plain frame with a select few of the treasures glued to a corner.

—Glue “finds” on the top of a small box in interesting patterns. Fill it with more summer souvenirs.

—Tie thin cording around a find, knot it, and glue the knot in place for a memory-filled necklace.

For inspiration and information on sea glass, find author Richard LaMotte’s comprehensive book with photography by Celia Pearson, “Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems” and “Pure Sea Glass Identification Deck” (


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© 2022 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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