Do you tend to worry when you hear that a rainy, snowy, or extra hot day is on the way? Don’t worry, since Shima and Kerry from Easel Art Studio have a great rainy day craft to help you creatively survive the day indoors. Take it away, ladies!
We have all been there, it doesn’t matter if you’re a dad, a mom, a nanny, a sibling; really any responsible person taking care of any little human or humans…you know how draining a day trapped inside can be. With all of rainy (and even snowy) days Chicago has been having, the days can get very l-o-n-g. I know the last thing you want to do is watch your little ones’ favorite ice princess movie again or learn what the word on the street is, so here we are to the rescue with an easy, super cute, fun rainy day activity: Salt clay Crabs!
Why crabs? Because they are cute, can be any color and are a piece of cake to put together. You can make any animal or creation you want, but here are the basic steps to creating Mr. Crab. And trust us, artists of all ages will become so engaged in creating Mr. Crab that you won’t even hear the rain against the window.
2 cups of flour (little extra for sprinkling)
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
1 big bowl
A sheet pan
Any paint colors or food coloring (whatever color your child wants)
Construction paper or computer paper (whatever you have in the house)
Permanent marker (for the grown up)
Eyes or buttons
Pre-heated oven at 300 degrees
Sit with your kiddos, participate and help them out; it will be more fun for them and you if you are involved. Working with clay is great for sensory development, motor skills, and helps with problem solving skills, thereby increasing self esteem. Think about it…they are creating something with their own two hands!
Step one: Make the clay.
Measure the flour and salt and allow your kiddos to help you dump it in the bowl. I suggest the adult in the situation mixes it all up (it can get a little gooey and yes…a little messy). Once your clay is all kneaded together, divide the clay amongst the kids. Let them play with the clay for a bit, getting to know the texture and its properties. Encourage them to pull it apart into pieces, roll it out like a snake, pat it down like a pancake…and so on. We give our kiddos cookie cutters to play with at this point, which gives you a perfect opportunity to go wash your hands and tidy up a bit.
Step two: Color the clay.
You can use any paint that’s in the house or food coloring. Help them knead the color into clay until it’s your child’s desired hue. We added a little glitter to the clay but that’s totally optional. If you do add glitter, just knead it in. If you are a no glitter household, let your guard down, kids love glitter and it will just stick into your clay, so no glitter mess—we promise! You will have a lot of clay from this recipe, so take one good handful for your crabs and store the rest in an airtight bag for future fun.
Step three: Make the crabs.
Now divide the one portion of clay that is not in the bag into 2 portions: 1 bigger, 1 smaller. Roll the 2 pieces into balls. One will become your head (the smaller one) and the other will be your body (the bigger one). Help your little artist roll it into a ball, for the young kids show them how to roll it. Anything resembling a spherical shape is great! Remember it’s their crab, and it’s about the process…it does not have to be perfect. Gently pat both balls down (you want them to be a little flattened out-not too much thought). Do the same to the little ball- flatten it out a little, then gently press the smaller ball on top of the bigger one. Now bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. You want your clay to be nice and hard.
Step four: Create limbs for the little crab.
I drew out claws for this next part. An older child can cut his/her own but for the younger set, you should complete this step for them. You want 2 big pincher claws and 8 little legs. We used a rectangle for the leg shape, and drew out a claw shape. Once these are all cut out let your little one color/draw on the legs. After an hour the bodies will be hard and ready to come out of the oven. Be sure to let them cool completely.
Step five: Put it all together.
Glue your legs and pinchers on (glue under the crab on his under belly). Finally, glue the eyes and with a permanent marker you can draw a mouth.
Now give yourself a high five…you have conquered the arts & crafts part of your day and now have a cute Mr. Crab to spend the rainy/snowy/extra hot day with. We hope you enjoy your crab!