A House for Hermit Crab Story Time and Graduation Activities

Ocean and Graduation: The book a House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle is a great book to help children transition from preschool to kindergarten or from kindergarten to first grade.

Book description:
One day Hermit Crab discovers that he has outgrown his shell. He is frightened and moves into another shell but thinks that it looks too plain. So, each month he finds a new friend to live with him. Eventually, Hermit Crab outgrows his shell and must find an even bigger shell to make his home. He is reluctant to leave his new friends but finally does, and a little hermit crab, who promises to be good to Hermit Crab’s friends, moves into the shell. Hermit Crab finds a bigger shell in which to reside, but this time he isn’t afraid. He knows that he can make new friends.

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A House for Hermit Crab Story Time for Preschool and Kindergarten

The name of this book is A House for Hermit Crab. It is written by Eric Carle. Let’s look at the cover. What do you think this book is going to be about? Give children an opportunity to respond. Let’s find out. Read the book to children. After reading the book, retell the story, asking questions along the way.

One day in January, Hermit Crab realized that he had outgrown his shell. He said, "I've grown too big for his little shell." What did Hermit Crab decide to do? Let children respond. Yes, he decided to move out of his shell, but he was afraid. Who was he afraid of? Let children respond. That's right, Hermit Crab was afraid that a big fish might attack him. What happens next in the story? Let children respond. Very good. In February, Hermit Crab found a bigger shell to move into, but he thought it looked too plain. What does Hermit Crab do so that his shell doesn't look plain anymore? Let children respond. Discuss with children what happens during the months April through October. (Hermit Crab meets and invites an anemone, a sea star, a coral, a snail, a sea urchin, a lantern fish, and some pebbles to live with him.) In November, Hermit Crab realizes that his shell has gotten too small because he had been growing little by little throughout the year. What did Hermit Crab need to do? Let children respond.Yes, Hermit Crab decides that he needs to find a new home, but he doesn't want to leave his friends. In December, Hermit Crab meets a little hermit crab who needs a new home. Before the little hermit crab moves into Hermit Crab's house, what did the little crab promise to do? Let children respond. That's right! The little crab promised to be good to Hermit Crab's friends. So in January, the little crab moved into Hermit Crab's home and Hermit Crab found a new, bigger shell to live in. Was Hermit Crab afraid? Let children respond. Very good. Hermit was not afraid. He was thinking about all the new friends he could make!

Talk with children about how just like Hermit Crab, they have grown throughout the year. They have gotten bigger, they have learned new things, and they have made many new friends. And just like Hermit Crab, they have outgrown their "shell." They are ready to move on to learn more new things and to make more new friends.

A House for Hermit Crab Re-telling Activity

Use the pictures to re-tell the story together with the children. Print the Hermit Crab story printables, laminate, and cut out. Attach small magnet strips to the back of each picture. Invite children to re-tell the story with the pictures on the magnet board or decorate the crab shell with different items. Let children make up their own stories.

Hermit the Crab story pictures, printables, and activities for preschool and kindergarten
Preschool Activities: 

Hermit Crab Story Pictures (KidsSoup members)

Let children make story puppets to retell the story. Print the b/w story puppets printables and let children color them. Glue to craft sticks.


hermit the craft puppet craft and printables for preschool and kindergarten
Preschool Activities: 

Free Hermit Crab Story Puppet printables - click on each picture to download and print.

A House for Hermit Crab Movement Activity:

Show children pictures depicting the various animals in the book. First, talk about the animal. (For example, a sea anemone looks like a flower. It uses its many arms to catch its prey, such as small fish and shrimp. Some sea anemones even attach themselves to the shells of hermit crabs. They protect and camouflage the hermit crab. In turn, the anemone is allowed to share the hermit crab's meals.) Next, hold up a Hermit Crab word wall card, read the word together, and let children make a movement that matches the word on the card:

Hermit Crab: Make a fist on top of one hand and make crab legs with fingers.
Shell: Roll your body into a roll/shell.
Sea anemone: Pretend to catch prey with arms.
Starfish: Stretch arms and legs to make an X. 
Seaweed: Stretch arms in the air and move the arms like seaweed in the ocean.
Coral: Create coral sculpure with arms and don't move.
Sea urchin: Fold hands and stretch fingers.
Snail: Move like a snail.
Lanternfish: Pretend to be a fish.
Pebbles: Make a fist.
Small: Roll your body into a small ball. 
Large: Roll your body losely into a large ball/shell.

Hermit the Crab word wall activities and printables for preschool and kindergarten
Preschool Activities: 

Hermit Crab Word Wall (KidsSoup members only)

Hermit Crab Story Sequencing Activity

Let children look at each picture and describe what they see. Then, have children place the pictures in order.

Hermit Crab Story Sequencing (KidsSoup members only)

Hermit Crab Concentration Game and Activity

Small group activity: Have children carefully look at each picture on their board. Have them describe the picture. Example: "Hermit Crab has a sea anemone on his shell." Incourage them to point out some other items on the picture. Ask children to find the picture that shows Hermit Crab with the sea anemone, etc. Have child compare the two pictures to ensure that it is the matching picture. If the picture is a match, he/she can place it on the game board.

Hermit the crab preschool and kindergarten game and activity
Preschool Activities: 

Hermit Crab Concentration Game (KidsSoup members only)

Hermit Crab Craft

Make a hermit crab out of pasta shells, pasta, cereal, pipe cleaners, and playdough.

Let children glue other pasta on a large pasta shell and let dry.

Next, children color the shell and form a crab with playdough.

Hermit the Crab craft and activity for preschool and kindergarten
Preschool Activities: 

KidsSoup members please visit the KidsSoup member site for step by step instructions.

Hermit Crab Calendar Activities:

A House for Hermit Crab follows the life of Hernit Crab from January to January. This is a perfect time to introduce or practice using a calendar.

Hermit Crab Months (KidsSoup members only)

Hermit Crab Months of the Year Matching Game (KidsSoup members only)

Language Arts - Consonant blend /cr/ for Crab:

Introduce and practice the consonant blend /cr/.

Crab Consonant Blend /cr/ Folder Game

Hermit Crab Science Center:

Set up a hermit crab aquarium in your science center. Let children help take care of the their classroom pet. Provide books and pictures about hermit crabs and other sea creatures. Also provide paper, pencils, crayons, and markers for children to draw and write.

All about Hermit Crabs:

  • Hermit crabs are crustaceans (an invertebrae with an exoskeleton).
  • For protection, hermit crabs often move into empty shells, usually those of snails. When it outgrows its shell, it moves into a new, larger shell.
  • Adult hermit crabs range in size from 1/2 inch to about 4 inches.
  • A hermit crab has two pairs of antennae and round eyes on the ends of eyestalks. They have 10 legs, but only 6 legs show.
  • Hermit crabs are scavengers.
  • Hermit crabs are found on the Atlantic coast, West Indies, and South Pacific.
  • Sometimes, hermit crabs carry other animals, such as sea anemones, on their shells. These animals help camouflage the hermit crab, and often when the hermit crab moves to a larger shell, the sea anemone will move with the crab.

A House for Hermit Crab Graduation Gift

Purchase a small board book version of A House for Hermit Crab to give to each student that transfers out of your school. Add the "Letter from the Teacher "(see below) or a short personal message to the inside of the front cover. Another cute idea would be to have all the kids add their thumbprint and sign their names on a piece of paper and to fold and glue the paper to the inside of the back cover.

Poem from Teacher to Student
Copyright KidsSoup, Inc.

Like the little hermit crab, you outgrew your shell,
and now you’re ready to say goodbye. I can tell.
You’ve learned a lot of things, and when you open the next door
you’ll have new friends and a new school to explore.
Knowing and teaching you has been a pleasure,
Memories of you I will always treasure.

Letter from Teacher for Child (Free!)


View more preschool and kindergarten Graduation activities and crafts


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