We have made a lot of fun sea creatures with coffee filters (jellyfish, sea horses, and sea turtles); so now it’s time to move on to a new medium. Our family of six eats a lot of eggs, giving us an egg carton or two every week to be creative with. A few months ago, we studied crabs, and I thought how perfect an egg carton section would be for the carapace of a crab.
These snappy little crustaceans were a blast to learn about. We borrowed multiple books from the library (our favorites being Crabs by Mary Jo Rhodes, The Magic School Bus Gets Crabby by Kristin Earhart, and A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle). We examined hermit crabs at the pet store and found discarded crab legs at the beach. We watched a video about the amazing sandbubbler crab at National Geographic and learned about tiny crabs that help keep coral reefs clean at National Geographic for Kids. In our research, we discovered that it is cruel to keep a hermit crab as a pet. We learned about horseshoe crabs (not really crabs), spider crabs, and king crabs, but we decided that our favorite was the robber crab (also known as the coconut crab). Check out this video about this crab that likes to steal silverware and sneakers!
Now, let’s get on to making some cute little egg carton crabs.
Here’s what you need to complete this project: two wooden spring clothespins, an egg carton section, paint, paintbrush, two flexible drinking straws, two pipe cleaners, two googly eyes, scissors, and glue (you can use school glue but I opted to use a hot glue gun for speed and security for the clothespin pincers.)
First, you will paint your carapace (the egg carton section) and pincers (clothespins). Some of my kids used lots of colors and lots of paint, and others were much more sparing. Allow to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Cut each pipe cleaner into four equal sections so that you have eight legs total. Cut the tops off each flexible drinking straw underneath the bendy part.
Start gluing your crab together. I began with the pincers, asking the child how they wanted the pincers positioned on the body and then gluing them on. I held them tight to the carapace for a few minutes while the glue set up. Then I glued on the legs underneath the carapace, bending them out and then giving them a little bend in the middle for the “knee.” Finally, I glued the straws to the top of the carapace as eye stalks and added the googly eyes on top of those.
These adorable crusty creatures make great decorations but can be useful as well. Gabi’s crab sits on my kitchen windowsill and holds recipe cards with its pincers. David gave his to his therapist, and she uses it at her desk to hold memos and photos.
And, if you are feeling pretty technical and want to be super accurate with your egg carton crab, go ahead and give him two more pipe cleaner legs. Crabs are decapods, meaning they have ten limbs. We did eight because artistic license and all that. (and maybe I forgot that little fact when we were creating this craft?) Just maybe.