NURSERIES and schools around the city are busy painting snails, but these children have gone a few steps further.

Inspired by the Martlets Hospice snail sculpture trail, which is coming to Brighton and Hove this autumn, children at Pumpkin Patch nursery in Brighton have been engaging in snail-related activities and creative projects in their art studio for months.

Nursery manager Anita O’Hara said: “First we gave the children a shell, which we decided was a baby snail called Henry.

“The children were very concerned that Henry had lost his mummy so when the giant snail arrived from Martlets the children quickly made the connection between Henry and his mum and set about creating snail trails using drawings and tape around the nursery to help Henry to find his mum.”

“We wrote and drew messages to the snail and each other and invited families to decorate their own mini plaster snails at home to form part of the finished snail.

“Our snail quickly became a mail delivery snail called Pippa.

“Alongside the creating of the snail we have been promoting the message of slowing down and mindfulness through yoga, a Tibetan singing bowls session and more.

“One of the children’s mums told me it had encouraged her to stop worrying about all the things that needed to get done and spend more time with her family.

“It also keeps the children engaged in the same theme for an extended period of time, instead of moving onto the next thing all the time."

The nursery’s resident artist, or “atelierista”, Mariana Peron, said: “We have looked at the spiral shape of the shell, and where else we can find it in nature.

“We have done a lot of art activities around snails, like drawing a big spiral and making designs for reusable bags.

“Each child had their own milk bottle lid to stick found items like shells and buttons onto, and we used these to decorate the Martlets snail’s shell.”

Pumpkin Patch has so far raised more than £1,000 for Martlets Hospice through fundraising activities such as a snail party in Wish Park, and has set itself a target of £2,500.