Coral Reef Art Project

Coral Reef Art Project for Kindergarten and First Grade

Aren’t coral reefs beautiful? I love all the vibrant colors that seamlessly blend together. They create a gorgeous ecosystem. This easy coral reef art project allows students to make their own stunning coral reefs with just a little paint and some sponges!


  • light blue construction paper
  • acrylic paint in various bright colors
  • sponges
  • permanent black marker
  • scissors
  • paper plates


I found a pack of small sponges for just a few dollars at the grocery store. The sponges are about the size of an index card.

Use a black permanent marker to draw various coral shapes on the sponges. Cut the shapes out with scissors. 

Put a generous amount of paint onto a paper plate. We used one paint color per paper plate.

Dip and rub the sponges in the paint. Then press them down on the construction paper. Continue with different sponges in different colors to create a coral reef scene. Use one of the leftover sponge pieces to create sand at the bottom of the paper.

Warning: Little fingers may get messy! 🙂 You might want to keep wipes or wet paper towels handy for students to wipe their hands.

Coral Reef Art Project

I’ve also tried this project using watercolor paper instead of construction paper. Just have students paint the background with watercolor paint and allow it to dry before sponge painting. The watercolor pictures turn out just as beautiful!

Once the sponge painting is dry, you might allow students to use a small paintbrush and the leftover paint to add a few fish or ocean animals swimming in the coral reef.

Corals’ True Color

Did you know corals are actually white? That’s right! The hard exoskeleton corals build around their soft bodies is white. Corals get their beautiful colors from the algae living inside them. If the algae leaves the coral due to stress or dies, corals lose their vibrant color and turn white. This is called coral bleaching.

More Ocean Resources

This coral reef activity is part of my ocean unit for kindergarten and first grade. Find more ocean resources for young learners by clicking the links below:

Ocean Videos for Kids

Dolphin Number Line Activity

Whale Blow Painting Art Project for Kids

Sea Turtle Life Cycle Activities for K-1


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *