In my last post, we remembered our beach vacation with books. But books aren’t the only way we’ll remember our vacation.

Some people collect magnets to remember vacations and places they’ve been. Other have hats, t-shirts, or even books. For me, it is ornaments. I know they’re usually for holidays, but ornaments can be decorations any time of the year. Especially the ones we made.

Beach Ornaments

This year the boys collected a ton of broken shells. Yes, I know. Odd they collected broken shells and not whole ones. They seemed more focused on quantity than quality. They are three- and six-year-old boys after all. As we walked back to our rental with buckets of shells, I wondered what we were going to do with them. And that’s when it hit me—ornaments.

When we returned home, I was pleased to find a variety of clear, fillable options at Michaels. You can also try Amazon. It seems there are two types:

  • Fill from the top—I like this because it seems less likely to spill the contents, though the metal part at the top doesn’t stand up to being swung around. A caution for if you fill this type with sand like we did. We were also able to add some small shell pieces, but the hole limited what we could include.
  • Split ornament—This worked much better for our bigger shells. We filled each side of the ornament with shells and then put them together. Once the hole is lined up at the top, we added the string. It seems pretty secure, but I opted not to add sand to this one.

We used both types, which turned out to be a lesson in categorizing. We sorted the shells by what we thought would fit through the hole at the top vs. those that wouldn’t. Then we tested our guess.


Once the ornaments were closed, the boys wrote their names, our beach destination, and year on the ornaments with permanent marker. Here are the results.


Other Ideas for Beach Mementos

beach_shell_jarsBrowsing through Michaels, we discovered other ways to make keepsakes with our shells. Here are a few ideas, and they don’t only work for the beach. You can make mementos for any special occasion you’d like to remember.

  • Glass jars to display shells, sand, and other treasures
  • Decorated picture frames that include a printed photo of your adventures
  • Shadow box for nice shells or other 3-D objects
  • String to make a necklace, bracelet, or another type of ornament/decoration

Nonfiction Beach Books

I always like to include some nonfiction or true books when we’re reading so much on one topic. On our last trip to the beach, the boys also loved collecting shells and other beach treasures. In preparation for this vacation, I found nonfiction books to learn more about the beach and things we might find. This extends the list of beach books from my last post:

How do you commemorate or remember your vacations and special occasions?