Pasta Art: Great Barrier Reef

As part of our Australia Unit, we talked about not only the land mass but also the surrounding ocean habitat. The Great Barrier Reef is considered a natural wonder of the world, and unfortunately in recent history it is dying as a result of a disturbance in the environment in which it had recently flourished.

I remember when I visited Australia in 2012, I really wanted to visit the Great Barrier Reef – it came as a bit of a shock that not only was the reef north of the major airports, but by over 1,000 miles. It is pretty crazy how big Australia is, but I digress…

My oldest has made some simple pasta art prior to this activity, but I decided to take it to the next level. For weeks I acquired unique pasta – my hubby must have thought I was on a carb craze or something!

My sources were limited to chain grocery stores such as King Soupers, Safeway, Walmart and Target, but I was able to find enough to create my masterpiece.

My first step was to glue the pasta into oceanic designs.

I used the following pasta

  • Trompetti
  • Ziti
  • Egg Noodles
  • Medium Shells
  • Spaghetti
  • Radiatore
  • Large Shell
  • Elbows
  • Rigatoni
  • Linguine
  • Orzo

I used a hot glue gun because it was easy to work quickly and not wait too long for the glue to dry.

Tompetti glued end to end and then glued together like a bouquet.
Ziti glued end to end and then glued together to form tubulars
I created a tree-shaped structure with the Linguini
Orzo glued to the linguine made a lovely coral
Egg noodles glued end to end and then in bunches made lovely seaweed.
I glued pieces of spaghetti to a medium shell to form a sea urchin
Radiatore glued into a column made another unique coral
A jumbo shell plus elbows made a great giant clam

The hardest piece was making my sea urchin as gluing each little spaghetti piece took a bit of time – you had to hold the spines in place until completely cooled or they wouldn’t stand up right. The egg noodles were a little fragile to work with, but everything else came together pretty easily!

I painted all the creations bold colors.

After I had created my pasta pieces, I wanted to make some scatter shells to put at the bottom of the “sea floor” – I poured approximately 1/2 cup of small shells and mixed a tsp of vinegar and a few drops of food coloring and mixed them well. The dyed shells I let dry for about an hour and they were ready to use.

I used an plastic bin I purchased salad in to assemble my reef. I used orzo pasta for my ocean floor/sand. I added a little extra to one side to make a slope, and then assembled my pieces.

My preschooler really enjoyed helping me make this – the hot glue was not something I could allow her to help with, but she did help with the painting and I would do touch-up afterwards.

As part of this activity, we discussed how important it is to watch how our lifestyle, which can negatively impact our planet. In just a few years the Great Barrier Reef has started dying so rapidly that it is possible this natural wonder will be remembered by only pictures someday.

But for now my daughter is three and she had a blast making this diorama of the Great Barrier Reef. She says she wants to go swim in it tomorrow. Me too baby girl. šŸ™‚

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