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The seaside, plastic waste and our environment

Topics relating to the sea and seaside are always very popular. They can be truly cross-curricular and are a great way for children to learn about (amongst other things) different types of environment, about creatures who live there and historical changes. There is so much fun to be had visiting and investigating the seaside and there are many wonderful resources to inspire children.

Posted on Tuesday 21st August 2018

This fabulous seaside background can be used to create a learning environment second only to being there and can be adapted as your topic progresses to add different elements to children’s experiences.

One unpleasant but vital element many schools are adding to their planning and which we have decided to highlight in the setting up of our seaside scene, is about making sure children have an awareness and understanding of the damage and harm caused by plastics, particularly in our seaside environments.

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Below are a few facts and ideas which might be useful:

  • Plastic is a human-made, synthetic material made from fossil fuels like oil. It is very popular because it is cheap, incredibly versatile and can be moulded into any kind of shape.
  • Plastic lasts for a very long time and although it can be broken down into tiny pieces it never completely disappears.
  • We throw away enough plastic each year to go around the Earth four times.
  • Much of the plastic that is thrown away ends up in the world’s oceans and causes great harm to sea creatures.
  • Have a look around your classroom. How much plastic can you see?
  • Compare materials and different types of plastic.
  • Take a walk outdoors. Spot the plastic and the different uses it has.
  • Talk about recycling.
  • Think about what you can do as a class to reduce your plastic waste.
  • If possible, visit the seaside to investigate.
  • Look up ‘art from recycled plastic’. There are many beautiful and inspirational ideas.

The seaside, plastic waste and our environment

Why not create a classroom display like the one above? Use the Seaside Backdrop as a great base, add sand and multiple items of waste/litter including plastic bags, metal drink cans and paper cups to emphasise the issue. Ask children what their thoughts are. Talk about how this contributes to marine wildlife suffering (such as turtles swallowing plastic and being caught up in plastic meshing) and how they could help to resolve the problem of litter on our beaches.

See our other classroom display inspiration below including:

Under the Sea



Woodland cave

Woodland castle


Antarctic, Narnia, frozen/winter themes

With thanks to Beverley Smalley for writing this blog. Beverley is an education specialist, writer and former primary school teacher.