A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle follows the adventures of the Hermit Crab who has outgrown his first shell. Throughout the year many new friends help to decorate and protect his new house. Our fabulous contributor Yvonne Leialoha has created a Build A House For Hermit Crab Sensory Small World to compliment the story. See how she created a sensory small world where children can decorate a house for Hermit Crab. She may also be the first person to spray paint a Tuff Spot!
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Today’s activity post is actually a bit of 3 in 1 awesomeness. Allow me to take it part by part…
The FIRST part was an experiment to see if the Tuff Tray could be painted in other colors.
I live in the US and was fortunate enough to be able to purchase 3 black trays from an international seller on Ebay when I first became interested in creating tuff tray activities for my kids. They ended up having a blast with the different tuff tray activities we were doing, their favorite being water based activities.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find any of the other colors available from sellers that ship here, and since it’s a bit difficult to see tinted water based activities, I decided to experiment and paint one of the trays using a textured outdoor paint, similar to the color of stone or sand.
The verdict: It painted and held up beautifully! I found that using a slightly textured paint ended up being very forgiving for people like me (who aren’t that great on bigger DIY projects and was most likely spraying like a heavy handed gorilla).
The SECOND part is the intended activity itself, based on Eric Carle’s book – A House for Hermit Crab.
I intended it to be a water based activity, mimicking what happened in the book with the crab decorating his new home. My first idea was to use empty seashells, but they can be very fragile and *my son is 4 years old*… and as most of you already know – a WHOLE lot is said in that one simple statement.
Materials needed for Build A House For Hermit Crab Sensory Small World
– Outdoor texture painted tuff tray – UK readers are able to use a white Tuff Spot
* Coconut Shell Reptile Hiding Cave (x4) – you can find these at your local pet store or online at Amazon similar to these
* Water and food coloring
The wonderful thing about all of these materials (aside from the color tinted water) is that they’re all reuseable – even the mounting putty! [On an awesome side note, if you like adult coloring books, the mounting putty can be balled up and used to gently to lift color away when you’ve pressed too hard while using coloring pencils.]
Build A House For Hermit Crab Sensory Small World
With the activity set up, the kids would then collect different treasures to help hermit crab decorate his house, using pieces of the mounting putty to stick them together.
This brings us to the THIRD part of this interesting 3 in 1 post –
“HOUSTON, we have a problem…”
I noticed two issues while I was in the middle of photographing the activity. I noticed that the “sand” gravel made everything look too busy, so you couldn’t really appreciate all the little details of the decorative pieces the kids were collecting.
The other was that the putty didn’t stick as well as I expected it to. When I originally had the idea to use the coconut hideaways and tested the putty to stick things to it, everything was dry. Definitely one of those “duh!” moments.
I knew that I would have to tweak and redo the activity, but instead of simply reshooting and replacing the original activity with a new one – I decided to keep and share some of the wet activity photos. There is sometimes a general misconception that bloggers get all of their posts and pinterest activities perfect each and every time – and this is not the case!
Things sometimes don’t work the way we expect. Sometimes the kids aren’t feeling it or take things in a completely different direction than you wanted them to – and I wanted to show that it’s perfectly okay and part of the process! The key is learning how to roll with it.
I decided to redo the activity without the water and gravel, and it worked out great! My kids had fun with both the water activity even though the putty didn’t stick for long and the dry activity as well. They were very proud of the new houses they made for their hermit crabs, undoing and redoing the decorations to get it juuuust right.
This activity is perfect for kids who love learning about sea life or doing water based activities.
… and remember, if things don’t work out the way you expect, it’s nothing more than a learning opportunity to flex those roll-with-it muscles for both you and your kiddos!
At the time of this activity, my HGTV network decorator stars were ages 6 and 4.
With Much Aloha,
– Leialoha @ Hermit Rock
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Kid-Made Crab Spaghetti // Sugar Spice and Glitter
Best Water Play Ideas // Bambini Travel
Crayon Texture Drawings // Bambini Travel
Seashell Acid Base Experiment // Teach Beside Me
How do Fish Breath? And Hermit Crab too? Gills Experiment // Preschool Powol Packets
How to Take an Ocean Field Trip // Bambini Travel
More Ocean Activities
Best Ocean Storytime and Extensions for Preschoolers // My Storytime Corner
Under the Sea Coloring Page // Messy Little Monster
Moana Inspired Curriculum Ideas // Bambini Travel
Sea Turtle Unit // Bambini Travel
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