Fun at Home - Marvellous Molluscs

Shells have been around for over 500 million years. Today we see a wide variety on the beach but what mollusc animals are responsible for making these amazing shell structures, including some that have the beautiful, lustrous mother of pearl?

Discover what these marvellous mollusc animals are through a delightful range of playful hands-on activities for children and their families. 

Visit the Lustre online exhibition and explore more about the marvellous mollusc that creates this natural gem.

Activity 1 - Clacking Castanets

Completed Clacking Castanet

Find out more about a marvellous mollusc, the pearl oyster, and make your own pair of clacking castanets!

You will need:

  • A4 information and Clacking Castanets templates - PDF download
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Staples or sticky tape
  • Four small pieces of blu tac
  • Two matching plastic or metal bottle caps.


Choose either the silver lipped pearl oyster from the Broome area or the black lipped pearl oyster from the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

Step 2
Cut off the top finger band of each and set aside.

Step 3
Fold the page in two along the long blue dotted line. Glue together

Step 4
Cut around the shell and along the orange lines, leaving two white wedge shapes marked A and B. Do not cut the blue dashed lines.

Step 5
Look for the three lots of dashed blue lines. Fold along these.

Slide the A and B wedges under and stick with glue, sticky tape or staple together.

Step 7
Take the finger band and fold up along the dash blue lines.

Step 8
Line up the white dots on the finger band with the white dots on the shell and stick with a staple or sticky tape.

Step 9
Refold along dashed blue line – the hinge line – where the two shell halves meet.

Step 10
Roll the four pieces of blue tac into sausage shapes and press on to the top edge of each bottlecap.

Step 11
Line up the second cap on top of the first, close the shell and press on the second cap. Stick firmly using thumb and fingers.

Step 12
Slip your fingers through the finger band and test your clacking castanet!

Step 13
Post a picture or video of you using your castanets on the Museum of Geraldton’s Facebook page

Activity 2 - Person with a pearl

Person with a Pearl gallery

Put yourself into the picture!

Give a fresh and modern take on Vermeer’s famous 1665 painting: Girl with a Pearl Earring and draw yourself as the Person with a Pearl.

You will need:

  • A4 information and picture frame template Person With a Pearl - PDF download
  • Coloured pencils or textas


Step 1
Choose and print your template, with or without a ready-made frame.

Step 2
Design your own unique and precious pearl pieces to wear.

Step 3
Will they be an earring, necklace, nose stud, eyebrow stud, headpiece, tiara…?

Step 4
Draw a frame around your portrait or decorate and colour the ready-made one.

Step 5
Post your drawing on the Museum of Geraldton’s Facebook page #personwithapearl

Activity 3 - Create a Mollusc Timeline

What animal is still around after 500 million years?

It’s the mollusc! A soft bodied invertebrate (no backbone) animal, many of which have a hard outer shell for protection. We are more familiar with their remains - the shells we find on the beach.

You will need:

  • A4 information and timeline game pieces template - PDF Download
  • scissors


Step 1
Make a line on the ground or floor, about two metres long using string or wool or rope. You can make it longer if you have the room.

Step 2
Copy (write and draw) or print the timeline game pieces: objects and dates.

Step 3
Cut out each date piece eg 1880’s, and place it on the timeline starting with the oldest, 500 million years, and finish with Today - 2020.

Step 4
Cut out each object piece, complete with title and date. Match the date on the timeline with the date on the object.

Step 5
What other things and events can you add to the mollusc timeline? Eg.
• When did you find your first or your favourite shell?
• When did you make something using shells?
• When did you eat a mollusc? (oysters, scallops, abalone, mussels…)

Step 6
What other themes can you make a timeline for?
• your own personal timeline
• your family
• dinosaurs
• insects
• your pet…

Step 7
Share your timelines with your friends and compare what was recorded and delight in the differences that come up.

This Fun at Home activity is presented by:

Museum of Geraldton Logo