My kindergarteners are in the midst of an Eric Carle author study and what started as a simple reading of A House for Hermit Crab
, quickly turned into Hermit Crab fever! When I saw Ms. Kimball’s
crab costume, I knew I had to try to make one. And it turned out to be a wonderfully fun success. The costume prompted an art project and a painted jumbo pasta shell morphed into a cross-departmental, month-long project.
Because the kiddos had already read Eric Carle’s story twice, I thought it would be a great opportunity to have them recall the details and then compare it to non-fiction hermit crab books. The kids were fascinated by the books and were thrilled to learn how hermit crabs poop.
Book: Animals Up Close: Zoom in on the World’s Most Incredible Creatures by Igor Siqanowicz
This book was the kids’ first opportunity to see a “real” hermit crab and they were enthralled. They were able to see all the details and made several observations between real crabs and Eric Carle’s character.
Book: My Friend the Hermit Crab by Joanne Randolph
I did not read this book cover to cover, but it had more fun facts and big, bright photographs.
After exploring the non-fiction books using a document camera, we moved to the tables and the students transformed jumbo shell pasta into beautiful hermit crab shells. It is important to note that the Animal Planet
cautions against painting a living hermit crab’s shell (we were going for the colorful Eric Carle-esque shells and I talked to the kiddos about why painting a living creature could be harmful to their well-being).
Per the art teacher’s advice, we used tempera paint. It worked wonderfully and the kids loved it!
Beautiful! It was discovered that the kids who are paint enthusiasts and love to add layers and layers of wet paint would end up with a cracked shell.