Handprint Hermit Crab Craft

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.


After reading one of our favorite classic Eric Carle books, A House for Hermit Crab, the kids were eager to create a hermit crab craft. I’m a sucker for their sweet little handprints, so we decided to make a handprint hermit crab craft!

*Pair this cute craft with our Ocean Animals Writing Center Activities!

This handprint hermit crab craft is a great extension of the Eric Carle book, A House for Hermit Crab and makes a great classroom display!

Handprint Hermit Crab Craft

A House for Hermit Crab is about a little hermit crab who must find a new home and discovers new friends and possibilities in the process. In the story, Hermit Crab thinks his new shell looks too plain. Over time he meets new friends that help add to his shell.

We used sponges and paint to decorate our shells for our handprint hermit crab craft.


We used red tempera paint for the hand and green, orange, and purple tempera paint for the shell. We watered down our tempera paint slightly. Liquid watercolors would work great too.

This craft pairs perfectly with the classic book, A House for Hermit Crab, by Eric Carle.


1. Apply paint to your child’s left hand and press it onto a piece of white card stock. Allow to dry.

2. Cut a circle out of white card stock for the hermit crab’s shell. Using a pencil draw a swirl on the shell.

3. Cut the sponge into long pieces for painting.

4. Dab sponges in paint and lightly dab onto the hermit crab’s shell. Allow to dry.

Dab sponges in paint to create a beautiful shell for the hermit crab.

5. While pieces are drying, cut a small piece from the pipe cleaner and fold in half for the antennae.

6. Cut the handprint out once the paint has dried, cutting around the fingers.

Red handprints and googly eyes make for the perfect hermit crab.

7. Glue googly eyes to the ends of the pipe cleaner.

8. Attach the handprint to the shell of the hermit crab so that the fingers are pointing downwards. Attach the thumb to the back of the hermit crab’s shell.

9. Glue or tape the pipe cleaner to the back of the handprint so that the eyes stick out above the handprint

This simple hermit crab craft is also an adorable handprint keepsake.

There are several educational concepts and life lessons that can be derived from A House for Hermit Crab, such as the life cycle of a hermit crab and months of a year, creating lots of opportunities for teaching and discussion.

Extend the Activity:

  • Hermit Crab made several new friends over the year. Have a discussion about friendship and what it means to be a friend.
  • Have a discussion about how Hermit Crab embraced change and how we can too if we move or change schools.
  • Talk about the other sea life found in the book: sea anemones, starfish, corals, snails, sea urchins, and lanternfish. (You could even grab these ocean animal vocabulary cards.)
  • Read other favorite Eric Carle books such as Mister Seahorse, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Very Lonely Firefly, or The Foolish Tortoise.

Want unlimited access to even MORE of our activities and resources? Join us in the Print and Play Club!

Your planning will be so much easier with instant access to:

  • hundreds of printables
  • every TKC resource
  • video lessons
  • a digital games vault
  • Pre-K and TK Scope & Sequence
  • a PLAYlist of fun songs AND activities
  • professional development
  • additional teacher resources…
Want unlimited access to tons of activities and resources for Pre-K, TK, and Kindergarten? Join us in the Print and Play Club!

Be sure to request an invitation so that you don’t miss your chance to be part of the best early childhood club around!

Latest posts by Kim (see all)


  1. Thank you so much for the cute idea! This was fantastic. We ended up going outside and collecting things from nature to glue onto the sponge painted shells we made. My kids each chose about 5-6 things that would serve a purpose for the hermit crab like his friends did for him in the book. For instance, moss could be his blanket and a piece of bark could be a shield to defend himself (I have two boys). It was really fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *