Turtle shell prints for preschoolers

I don’t know what it is about turtles but I just love them and I am always trying to think of new ways to make them so they are a little less craftsy and a little more artsy….

This turned out to be a fun way to make turtle prints to go along with the book – “The Foolish Tortoise” by Eric Carle. Start by cutting out “shell” shapes or ovals from a piece of Styrofoam. I saved my pieces of Styrofoam from packages of meat and then washed them good with soap and hot water…

Older preschoolers can use a toothpick to carve lines or circle-shapes into the Styrofoam – younger preschoolers may need a little assistance to do the carving or can press the shapes into the Styrofoam with a small cookie cutter…

Next, roll some paint over the lines made into the Styrofoam…

Then flip the Styrofoam, paint side down, onto a sheet of paper and rub it. Now lift and you have a turtle shell print…

Provide several pieces of Styrofoam and different paint colors so that the children can explore making a variety of turtle shell prints…

Here is one with the more rounded prints…

Crayons can also be supplied so the children can add arm, legs, and a head if desired. I liked the shells without anything but here is a sample both ways…

Yes, even a preschooler can draw better than me 🙂

More Turtle Links

Fingerprint Turtles from GummyLump

Paper Bowl Turtle from Play and Learn with Dana and Gummy Lump

Recycled Sea Turtles from We Heart Art

Rock Turtles from Preschool Daze

Cake Pan Turtles from The Artful Parent

Torn Paper Turtles from Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

By |2011-04-27T22:23:21+00:00April 27th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. artsy_momma April 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Love, love, love it!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 28, 2011 at 12:51 am - Reply

      I think you could use fingerprints for the body parts too:)

  2. eva harp April 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Fun idea! Thank you for the post.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      You are welcome:)

  3. Chel April 29, 2011 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    Love this idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 29, 2011 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      Thank you Chel:)

  4. kelli May 1, 2011 at 1:32 am - Reply

    i really love this idea! thanks-

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 1, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

      You are welcome Kelly:)

  5. Darcey May 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Deborah, What a great idea! I also like the list of turtle activities you’ve linked to. I’ve included this post on my weekly favorites here: https://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/05/weekly-favorites-for-may-1-2011.html Hope you’re having a great weekend!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you Darcey! You are always so sweet to include my posts in your favorites!

  6. Shauna May 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, do I LOVE this activity. I can’t wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      You are welcome:) I am so glad you like it!

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