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Seaweed Uses & Projects

Updated on July 25, 2016
Bladderwrack at Bracelet Bay
Bladderwrack at Bracelet Bay | Source

Children's Seaweed Projects

Last year my kids took part in a seashore safari. There was so much to learn about and most of it was hidden under that fascinating stuff – seaweed.

Seaweed is considered to be a plant but scientifically they are more akin to simple algae. Rather than roots (unlike most land-dwelling plants, they don't need roots for water or nutrients), they have developed efficient 'hold-fasts' that anchor them to rocks. There are many, many species of seaweed, classified loosely as brown (about 1,800 varieties) and green (about 1,500).

Seaweed has been useful to mankind for thousands of years – first as fuel and food and nowadays for its ability to provide us with many useful chemical compounds.

You can collect seaweed from any beach but try to use the ones that are washed up on the beach, rather than those that are rooted in tide pools. You can easily damage a micro eco-sytem by ripping up the homes and shelter of delicate marine life that inhabits rock pools.

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Kelp washed up on a beach (Creative Commons CC.BY.3.0) via Flickr.
Kelp washed up on a beach (Creative Commons CC.BY.3.0) via Flickr. | Source

Magical Seaweed Weather Predictor

Collect a large piece of washed-up kelp. Kelp is the seaweed that looks like a bunch of ribbons gathered onto a stalk at one end. Stow it in a waterproof bag and take it home. Don't wash it. Hang it on a nail or hook somewhere in your yard – on the shed or a convenient wall. Look at the kelp everyday and make a note of its appearance. If it is dry and a bit shrivelled-looking, then the weather will stay fine, if it swells and becomes damp, then there is rain in the air.

If you don't live near the ocean, you can also use pine cones as weather predictors – open = fine and dry; closed = damp and wet.

Garden Fertilizer

Most seaweeds make excellent garden fertilizer. Collect seaweed from the beach – the ones nearest the sea are better than the dried out stuff above the tide line. Put it into bin liners and take it home. Turn the hose on it and thoroughly wash out the salt. Your mom or dad can chop it up and dig it into the soil. It is especially good for vegetables as it is completely organic although it can be a bit smelly!

Kelp washed up on the beach just waiting to make you a slippery, slimy bath (Creative Commons CC.BY.3.0).
Kelp washed up on the beach just waiting to make you a slippery, slimy bath (Creative Commons CC.BY.3.0). | Source

Slimy Seaweed Bath

Seaweed baths are very good for your skin as seaweed contains nutrients, such as calcium, iodine, potassium, magnesium and even iron. Collect a bucket of seaweed - either bladderwrack or kelp is good. Wash the sand out of it with a hosepipe. Run a really hot bath and tip in your bucket of seaweed. The water needs to be hot so all the good minerals can leach into the water. Let it cool until you can sit in it comfortably. Wallow in the slimy mess for as long as you like. Then you'd better have a shower!

Note: Your bathtub will get very slippery, so be careful getting in and out.

"Halloweed" Costume

Collect some bladderwrack – it is the brown seaweed with interesting bladders or air bubbles all over it - see the picture at the top of the page. Wash and dry it really well. Ask mom to use an old bedsheet to make a 'traditional' ghost costume with holes for eyes. Now ask her to sew or staple strips of bladderwrack all over the costume. Don't add too much or it will be very heavy. What a great costume. You look like a disgusting sea monster – and you smell like one too!

Skin Conditioner for Mom & You

Collect a small bag or bucket of any common seaweed. Wash it well. Mom can cut it up with a pair of kitchen shears and feed it into a food processor. Mix the resulting mush with coconut oil and apply to your faces as a reviving face mask. If you make enough you can use it as a spa treatment - spread it all over your body, wrap yourself in a large towel and relax for up to 30 minutes. Shower off.

Have you tried using seaweed for anything?

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    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Many thanks, wilderness.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Kelp as a weather predictor! Who would have known. This is great for those that live on the coast and can gather as much seaweed as they want. Great article and quite useful.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Thanks, Denise! It's hard for most Brits to imagine not being within reach of a beach. I think the furthest you can get from the ocean in the UK is about 1.5 hours. Pinecones are cool, especially the huge ones.

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 5 years ago from Idaho

      There are no oceans in Idaho, but we have a lot of pinecones. I think your weather station is a clever idea, especially for those with kids. Like Alicia, the only place I've used seaweed is in sushi. Fun info. Voted up!

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Thanks, AliciaC, most appreciated. x

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I eat seaweed, but I've never thought of using it for any other purpose. These sound like interesting projects! Thanks for sharing them.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev 5 years ago from Wales

      Thanks, Judi. I considered the seaweed bath myself for about 30 seconds!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Didn't know about the kelp "weather station" - will combine a bit of beach combing with the dog walk this evening. Suggested the seaweed bath to my daughter but she's not keen!

      Really interesting, voted up etc.