As my kids grow older, I'm becoming a sucker for anything that measures how little they are at this stage in their lives.  I love crafts that use their finger or handprints, like here and here.  I have their infant footprints framed in my bedroom.  I imagine that twenty years from now I will cherish all things that remind me of this magical time of their early childhood.  I already do and they're both still so small!

So unsurprisingly, when my dear friend Amy made summer crabs out of her darling little daughter Nia's handprints, I knew that I absolutely had to do them with Jax.  Amy got the idea for them here, which is a great crafty resource if you're looking for some summer activities.  We went to JoAnn Fabrics to pick out "gold, sparkly paint," aka gold paint and glitter, and after that Jax was sold. 

The only materials you actually need for this craft are paint, paper, and paintbrushes.  We were fancy and added glitter, and Amy used googly eyes for her crab, but you really can be as creative or as simple as you like!

The first thing we did was paint the sandy beach for the crab to scuttle across.  I finally branched out and used acryllic paint--I just didn't have any fingerpaint that was the right color--so this was a new chapter in our craft experiences.   Jax was fairly well-behaved, especially when I told him that the paint wouldn't wash off as easily.

I'm sure it would have been more convincing if I had been at all worried about getting paint on my kitchen table and actually put down newspaper (I did, after I saw this mess).  As usual, I'm not known for my forethought!  Jax was probably like, Whatever, Mom.  Like this stuff is sooooooo permanent.  You're slopping it all over your table. 

True enough, young grasshopper, true enough.

Next comes the fun part, making the crab!  I'll let the pictures do the talking, but you basically put two handprints overlapping on the heels of the palms so that the fingers are the crab's legs and the thumbs are the crab's eyes.  We used red but I saw it orange and yellow, too, and they all were adorable.

I will admit I filled in a little of the crab's body--Jax just didn't push down hard enough and the crab's mid-section was kind of see-through.  So I added some definition.

Then, because I didn't have black paint, I used a brown thumbprint to create each of the crab's eyes.

And then I added some gold glitter to the still-wet brown paint just for fun and to make it feel like sunshine reflecting off the sand.

At this point, I loved his crab so much that I was worried if I let Jax participate in the blue-paint process, he would smear it across the crab and ruin our masterpiece.  I gave him one of those little sponge paintbrushes that are like 39 cents (worth its weight in gold) and let him work only at the very top of the paper.  We still had a few close calls, and finally I just thanked him for his help and sent him on his way. 

I finished coloring in the blue water (or sky?) and our little friend was complete!  I absolutely love it.  And it's one of those crafts that I actually didn't destroy with my craft idiocy.  I am going to frame it and put it in Jax's room.

A crab for my little toddler monster.  Because all kids are crabby sometimes!

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