Age: 18 Months - 5 Years (younger ones need more supervision)
Time: 10 min (+ Prep)
Theme: Crabs, Hermit Crabs, Sea Creatures
Books: A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carl, Hamsters to the Rescue by Ellen Stoll Walsh (somewhat long so better for older kids)
Materials:Red Construction Paper
Craft (popsicle) sticks
Reinforcement Labels (little donut shaped stickers used to reinforce pages in ring binders)
3oz Paper Cups (‘bathroom’ size)
Adults get to use Scissors, Pinking Sheers & Exacto Knife
Prep: Cut out crab bodies and claws from the red paper. By folding a full sheet in quarters like an M you should be able to make 4 bodies and 4 sets of claws per sheet. The claws should look a little like a lollypop when they are first cut, then the pinking sheers are used to cut out the ‘pinchers’. All parts are cut with the fold at the top so that they ‘match’ easily. Prep the cups by cutting two small parallel slits in the bottom of each cup with an exacto knife. The resulting hole should be just large enough for the craft stick to slide through.
Activity: Each child gets a crab body, claws, a craft stick, and a glue stick. Put glue all over the ‘inside’ of the crab body. Place the arms near the bottom of the body then fold the body over the stick. Trade in the glue stick for a paper cup and 2 labels (for eyes). Add the labels for eyes. Gently fold the crabs arms forward so that he appears to be clapping, then slide the stick into the hole in the cup. The crab should be able to ‘hide’ in the cup, then peek over the rim by pulling the stick up and down through the bottom of the cup.
Notes/Tips: By including the step of trading the glue stick for the eyes and cup, the glue has an extra minute to dry. This will help prevent the crabs from pulling off the stick in case of an overly zealous first round of ‘peek-a-boo’. To make this a ‘big kid’ project, add different colors of paper and only prep the cups. Demonstrate the technique of creating a ‘body’ then challenge the kids to create their own ‘peek-a-boo’ characters. (Aliens work great!)