Miss M and I have been reading Eric Carle books this week before bed. She is absolutely loving them, so I wanted to find a fun way to continue her excitement. That’s why I came up with these shell pasta crafts to go with two of the books we read.
Shell Pasta Crafts
We are having stuffed shells as one of our make-ahead meals this week, and the recipe only used half the box of large shells. I wondered what I could do with the rest of them. I considered making a double batch of stuffed shells and freezing some. Then, I wondered if they would work for a craft.
Two of the Eric Carle books I read with Miss M this week were A House for Hermit Crab and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. After examining the shell pasta again, I realized it could work for a hermit crab shell and butterfly wings. I made a quick trip to the craft store and picked up some pom-poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and paint. We were ready for some Saturday afternoon shell pasta crafts.
15 pasta shells
Starting the Craft
We started by painting the pasta shells. I put some large pieces of paper down on the table to contain the mess and to make clean-up easier. Miss M and J got to work painting the shells. They also painted the four rigatoni for the butterfly craft. I think more paint ended up on the paper, but that’s okay. They had lots of fun. While the paint dried, we worked on the next parts of the craft.
Hermit Crab Craft
The first craft we made was the hermit crab craft to go with A House for Hermit Crab. We glued googly eyes to the pom-poms and added pipe cleaners for claws. Miss M wanted to make her hermit crab white, and J chose a black pom-pom. I also made one with an orange pom-pom. We let the glue dry while we had a snack.
When we came back, we were ready to assemble our hermit crabs. We put the pom-poms inside the shells. I glued my orange pom-pom into the shell. Both of the kids wanted to keep their pom-poms separate. That way, their hermit crabs can change shells just like the hermit crab in the story. This one belongs to Miss M, and they all turned out really cute!
Next, we moved on to the butterfly craft for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Miss M loves naming all the foods the caterpillar eats in this book. We’ve probably read it about 20 times this week. We started the butterfly by gluing two rigatoni up and down on a piece of paper. Then, we added two shells on each side for the wings. We glued googly eyes on a smaller pom-pom for the head. Finally, we added two pipe cleaners as antennae.
Miss M was excited about her butterfly, but she wanted to know where the caterpillar was. I took another rigatoni and glued some googly eyes on it. Her eyes lit up when she saw it, and she was so happy to have the caterpillar and the butterfly. She even put the “caterpillar” in her shoe as a “chrysalis” and made the butterfly come from behind it. I foresee hours of playing with these.
Helping Kids Love Reading
Both of my kids absolutely love having us read to them. They both beg to read before bed. J is in first grade, so he’s taken over some of the reading at bedtime. I’m always looking for new ways to feed that love of reading. I want it to continue for their whole lives. These two shell pasta crafts definitely inspired both of them to read more. Miss M asked if it was bedtime at 6:00 just so she could read A House for Hermit Crab and The Very Hungry Caterpillar while holding her new creations. We read each of them four times before bed. J asked if he can pick the next book we use to make a craft. I sure hope he picks something easy that I can handle.
What do you do to encourage your children to love books?
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