Sensory Bin Play with Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab an Activity for Preschool and Kindergarteners

My children love to read Eric Carle’s books with me! 

One book that we have used for multiple different activities is A House for Hermit Crab. Your little one will enjoy and learn simultaneously because of how Eric Carle added multiple educational elements to this book’s text and illustrations. For more Eric Carle book activities please see my other blog Eric Carle Activities for Preschoolers.

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A House for Hermit Crab Written by Eric Carle

Follow along an entire year in the life of a hermit crab as he transforms his house from being “plain” to “perfect.” There are so many skills that can be practiced or taught using this book! My children loved the illustrations especially.

Activities after Reading A House for the Hermit Crab 

Counting Sea Animals While Reading

Try pausing as you read this book with your child and ask them to count the animals on each page. Then stay on the page again to notice how each animal is described differently in the book. We used Sum Blox. These wooden math blocks are one of my favorite splurges my kids use daily.

Sensory Bin Activity for A House For Hermit Crab

For a sensory bin activity with this book, try and use shells, ocean animal figurines, sand, gravel, rocks, and water. I displayed different containers of filler materials for my daughter and I to layer the materials in the bin together. This was a great way to ask her the order of events in this book while we made the ocean floor from the book.

Materials for the Sensory Bin

  • Glass gems
  • Painted lentils
  • Painted chicks peas
  • Blue kinetic sand
  • Shells
  • Loose parts- mini erasers, buttons

After my kids played for a while, we reread the book and paused page by page and added extra elements to build the hermit crab’s house.

We added pipe cleaners for coral, as well as mini starfish, package filler for seaweed, and rocks and gravel.

Literacy Activities for after reading A House for Hermit Crab

Re-read the book with your child and focus on words that start with the letter s. We charted and discussed the terms; sea, small, shell, starfish, spied, school, spotted, smooth, swam, sponges, and September. 

Create a flipbook showing the year in the life of the hermit crab. Each page is a different month. A corresponding math activity would be counting numbers 1-12 to correspond with the number of months to the number of animals on each page.

Focus your child’s attention to the different verbs in this book, and as a fun game, have them act out what these verbs would look like. We focused on the words gaze, crawl, murmured, whispered, complained, said, cried, cheered, and helped from the book.

Compare letter c words and their sounds in the book. We focused on the words; crab, crusty, claw, coral, cried, cheered, and complained, for this activity. 

Lastly, try comparing and contrasting using a nonfiction book about hermit crabs for your child to discover similarities and differences in the illustrations and pictures in the different books. I used the library as a great resource for these books.

Field Trip to a Marine Center or Aquarium

Explore the sense of touch by visiting a local marine center to explore or touch ocean animals’ different textures up close.

We visited Loggerhead Park and observed marine life in their small aquarium before seeing all the turtles.

Art Activities with Eric Carle & A House for Hermit Crab

Try an art project based on the word plain from the book. Start with just white paper and talk about how this is like the bland shell in the book. Then have your child try to make an underwater scene with animal friends by the end of their creations. 

The way that Eric Carle drew the seafloor in this book is ideal for an art project! Let your child use tissue paper and do layers of splatter dot paint technique like Eric Carle. His website has step-by-step instructions for his process.

Use dot art to make a background for puppet theatre to act out the story with animal figurines.

Hopefully your child enjoys these activities as much as my children did. For more hands-on activities for your young learners, please read my other articles below or follow me on Pinterest and Instagram to get daily updates.

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