While at Hampton beach, we bought the girls hermit crabs on the board walk. I have never had a hermit crab before, and they are just so cute. What better place to buy hermit crabs than next to the ocean?After bringing them home, I wanted to get their habitat set up and make some accessories for their cage. I made them a tree, a ladder, and a sign held up by a rock. I decorated the sign with seashells, and I used craft sticks for the tree and ladder. I also used a pizza slice Tupperware container, found at ocean state job lot, as a wading pool. Hermit crabs are a great way for children to learn more about the ocean and different ecosystems. There are a couple key aspects that all hermit crab cages should have included as standard conditions.
1. There needs to be enough sand, for them to burry, tunnel, and molt. We are going to be putting a little bit more sand in the cage.
2. Also, the sand in the cage must be moist and the air humid. That's why I like to use beach sand. Sand found not at the shore line, but a little higher up. It has to be somewhat coarse to stay moist. Think sand castle consistency.
3. I used a sifter to sift out debris, and any little rocks that would prevent them from tunneling. Children will enjoy sifting the beach sand for the hermit crabs.
4. Use all natural materials, or strong plastics for accessories or toys. DO NOT use metal, because of the humid temperatures they need, rust will seep out and cause harm to the hermits.
5. Make sure their water dishes have a sea sponge or rocks and sea shells at the bottom to prevent drowning. Do not get their eyes wet, they can drown. I always thought they lived in the ocean, but in fact the hermit crabs we have (Purple Claws) are land hermit crabs, that drink fresh water. Only use bottled water, to prevent chorine contamination. Tap water can effect their overall exoskeleton, make them uncomfortable, and cause cysts on their shells.
6. Have two different water containers, one for salt water, and one for fresh water. The salt water is for them to bathe themselves, and the fresh water is for drinking. NEVER use table salt, as it contains iodine.
7. Give hermit crabs a fresh diet, containing fruits and vegetables. Hermit crabs are omnivores. They eat both meat and vegetation. It is also important to have a source of calcium, from which you can boil eggs and give them the egg shells.
8. Some pet stores have their own hermit crab section. You can also find different objects you may need in the reptile department. However, they are not reptiles, they are crustaceans. They also DO NOT carry or transmit diseases like reptiles do, such as salmonella. This makes them a good pet for children, and they are also hypoallergenic. They won't cause a flair up with allergies, like cats or dogs.
I have highlighted some words to teach the children to promote vocabulary and to enhance their awareness and knowledge of their new pet!
Please check out Florida's Marine Research for more information on hermit crabs! They are a reliable source and update new information.
As noted before flash cards are an amazing learning tool for children of all ages. Even the most organized mother can end up having a pile of mixed matched flash cards. The other night while sorting through their flash cards, I separated the ones that had no matches, or the incomplete sets. I Just happened to have a mixed match set of Dora cards. The other card I organized and held them together with rubber bands. With the extra cards I cut out the pictures of the characters, the numbers, and anything that they could glue onto a collage of their own. Mya had a great time with this as Dora is her favorite show. She was able to take the glue, apply it to the picture and then apply it to the paper. She picked out the construction paper for the background, and was very cooperative. Also, a great idea to save in a zip lock bag, pictures from magazines the child is interested in. With summer here, these are some child friendly collage ideas.
1. Recycled Flash Cards
2. Pictures of Flowers
3. Pictures of Animals
4. Construction Paper Shapes
Glue (stick or liquid, depending on texture)
Scissors for older children, I also suggest cutting pictures prior to collage project.
Background paper (card stock, construction paper, cardboard)
Whether they're playing in the water, using a water table, or running threw a sprinkler, water is an important part of a child's sensory development and enhances science concepts at an early age.
Some days it's not going to be an option to go to the beach. Some people may only have access to pools in the summer time if beaches are too far away. As most states are relatively far from the ocean, and don't offer many lakes for swimming or water play.
(make sure there are no allergies to shell fish)
If going to the beach is not an option, make your own! Most craft stores have sea shells you can buy, or if going to the ocean, collect them together. Even most grocery stores may have some different types of shells. Fill a water table or long tote with water, and put the different shells, and containers in the bucket. Sand toys work well as water toys too. Rubber ducks, water toys for the tub including turtles, and mermaids in the bucket of water.
In a different area set up a sand box with beach sand you can find at Walmart, local hardware store, or pool supply store.
An important sensory aspect of the beach is the dry, soft sand. Sand has a very different texture than water does. Having a sand box filled with sea shells and different sand toys to aid in explorations of textures include; shovels, scoops, spoons, bowls, buckets, sifters, and shaped castle buckets.
The children can either go back and forth or choose which area they like the most. Have towels ready, swimmers and swim suits on for the water table. I suggest having a change of clothes handy and lots of towels. Make sure sand stays away from mouths, and they do not drink the water. Babies should always be supervised while near water. The tote/table is not for swimming. Always take caution with babies of any age, near any kind of water.
We Love the Babies
This page is for up to date lesson plans. These are new lesson plans that I have created myself, or have searched for. All credit is given where due. Lets get these little minds running!