Preschool Hermit Crab Craft

Page content

Preschool students will have lots of fun making this textured hermit crab. This craft is easy for little fingers to make and great for practicing using glue.


A book about hermit crabs (see list below for ideas)

Pictures of hermit crabs

Hermit crab shape cut out of white card stock or construction paper, one per child

One inch squares of tissues paper in a variety of colors

Crayons or markers



Here are a few ideas for books to use with this craft.

  • Is This a House for Hermit Crab? by Megan McDonald - Preschoolers will love this cute story about a hermit crab searching for a new home. It’s perfect for a sea animals unit or a study of animal habitats.
  • A House for a Hermit Crab by Eric Carle - A hermit crabs makes lots of new friends as he adjusts to his new bigger shell. Preschoolers will be introduced to some unfamiliar sea creatures like lantern fish and sea anemones with this Eric Carle classic.
  • What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld - This nonfiction book introduces children to all kinds of animals who make shells their homes.
  • Hermit Crab’s Home: Safe in a Shell by Janet Halfmann - This book from the Smithsonian Oceanic Collection follows the life cycle of a young hermit crab as she finds her first shell and continues to need new, larger shells to keep her safe until eventually she becomes a mother herself.


Read a book, fiction or nonfiction, about hermit crabs to the class. If you are making the craft as part of a unit about sea animals or pets, talk about hermit crabs in relation to your unit. You might talk about what they eat, where they live or what you would need to have one as a pet. Show your students some photographs of hermit crabs and talk about what they look like. Point out the different shapes, colors and patterns on their shells and ask the students if the shells look smooth or bumpy.


Tell the class that they are going to be making their own hermit crabs and show them a finished model that you have made. Then give each child a hermit crab shape and some glue and place a bowl of tissue papers squares at each table. Show the students how to take one square of tissue paper and crumple it up into a little ball. Then glue it onto the shell of the hermit crab.Tell them to keep making the tissue paper balls and gluing them on until the shell is covered. Point out that when finished their crabs will have a bumpy, textured shell, like the ones in the pictures you showed them. They can then use markers or crayons to color the hermit crab.


On another day after the glue has dried, have the students glue their hermit crabs to a larger piece of paper and color a sea or beach scene around them. Or hang the finished crabs on a bulletin board for a cute ocean display. Cover the bottom half in yellow or tan paper for sand and the rest in blue.

Making this hermit crab craft is sure to be lots of fun for your preschool students. For more preschool sea animal crafts try this octopus craft or these preschool dolphin crafts.

This post is part of the series: Preschool Lessons and Crafts about Sea Animals

Use these sea animal lesson plans and crafts as part of a sea or ocean theme with preschool students. You’ll find crafts for making a hermit crab, an octopus and some fun fish crafts as well as literature connections to go with each craft and lesson.

  1. Commotion in the Ocean: A Preschool Lesson about Sea Animals
  2. Two Fun Fish Crafts for Preschool
  3. Making A Hermit Crab: A Preschool Craft
  4. My Very Own Octopous: A Preschool Craft