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Display a picture of a crab and discuss its shell, two pincer claws, and eight legs. Give each of your children a paper plate plus orange construction paper cutouts of two pincer claw shapes and eight leg shapes. Mix condensed milk with drops of red and yellow food coloring to make an orange “paint.” Invite the children to brush the milk paint all over the back of their plates to create shiny orange crab shells. (If desired, let the children also paint their orange pincer claw and leg shapes to give them a shiny look.) Allow the paint to dry for several hours or overnight. Have each of the children glue two circles punched out of black paper on the “top” rim of their crab shell, about 1 inch apart, for eyes. Then help them glue or tape their pincer claws and legs to the backside of their crab shells.

Have your children brush glue over the bottom half of pieces of blue construction paper. While the glue is still wet, help them sprinkle sand over the glue and shake off the excess. Then give each child a simple cutout of an orange paper crab (a circle body with two pincer claws works well) to glue onto the sand.


CRAB COUNTERS  (Number Recognition/Counting)
Set out orange washable inkpads. Or make orange inkpads by pouring a mixture of red and yellow food coloring over pieces of felt placed in shallow containers. Give each of your children five index cards numbered from 1 to 5. Show them how to read the numeral on each of their cards and then stamp on a matching number of orange thumbprints to make “crab shells.” Have them use fine-point black markers to draw on eyes and orange markers to add pincer claws and legs. When the cards have dried, let your children use them for counting practice.

CRAB FINGERPLAY  (Math/Language)
One little crab by the sea so blue, (Hold up one finger.)
Along came another crab, and that made two. (Hold up two fingers.)
Two little crabs swimming in the sea,
Along came another crab, and that made three. (Hold up three fingers.)
Three little crabs playing on the shore,
Along came another crab, and that made four. (Hold up four fingers.)
Four little crabs so glad to be alive,
Along came another crab, and that made five. (Hold up five fingers.)
Five little crabs just having some fun,
Crawling on the sand in the hot summer sun. (Wiggle fingers.)
                                          Liz Ryerson


Pincer Fun: Have your children make pincer claws by holding their four fingers together and leaving their thumbs free. Let them try picking up various objects by holding them between their thumbs and four fingers.
Crab Walk: Demonstrate how to do this traditional activity: Sit with your hands and feet on the floor, knees bent, and push yourself up so that the front of your body is facing the ceiling. Then walk back and forth sideways on your hands and feet.   

HERMIT CRABS  (Science/Language/Art)
Bring in a Hermit Crab or display a picture of one.
Talk with your children about the Hermit Crab’s habits. Explain that instead of growing its own shell, the Hermit Crab looks for an empty seashell to use for its home. When the Hermit Crab grows too big for the shell, it crawls out and looks for a larger one.
Read Eric Carle’s “A House for Hermit Crab” to the children. Encourage them to draw their own illustrations of the story.

Tune: “I’m a Little Teapot”

We are little orange crabs by the sea,
Playing on the sand we’re happy as can be.
Watch us crawling this way and that way, too,
And then go swimming in the sea so blue.
                 Heather McPhail
Invite your children to act out the song as you sing.

CRAB SNACKTIME  (Art/Food Preparation)
Crab Placemats: Make black and white photocopies of crabs. Have your children color the pictures, cut them out, and glue them onto pieces of construction paper. Cover the finished placemats with clear Contact paper, if you wish.
Orange Foods: Talk about the orange color of crab shells. Then let the children help you prepare orange snacks, such as cheese cubes, orange juice, or baby carrots with dip.