Written by Amanda Liljedahl
Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar has always been a favorite story in our house. Now that spring has arrived and we are able to get out and explore nature, it seemed a perfect time to reread this story and create a project to help bring it to life.
We started by making our own hungry caterpillars to resemble the one in the story using supplies we already had around the house. Using scissors, I divided the bottom portion of a cardboard egg carton; once inverted these become the basis for the caterpillar's body. My daughters (both age 3) then got to work painting the bodies green and the head with red paint. We then waited for the paint to dry before they attached googly eyes with Elmer's glue. Using a toothpick, I poked two holes in the top of the caterpillar's head and the girls inserted pipe cleaners (cut in fourths) for the antennaes. I also poked holes along the base of the body for the girls to stick pipe cleaners through for the legs.
Next, we made the green leaf from the story which provided the caterpillar with a healthy meal. This project will also provide a great opportunity for youngsters to work on hand/eye coordination. Depending on age and skill level the kids or adult can cut out a leaf shape from green colored paper and glue it onto a thicker piece of card stock or thin cardboard. Using a hole punch, make holes around the perimeter of the leaf , closer together for older children and further apart for younger toddlers. Using a piece of string, the children can then lace in and out of the holes just the way the hungry caterpillar ate his way through the green leaf in the story. If the string edges begin to fray, wrap a piece of scotch tape around the tip to make lacing easier.
Lastly, my girls and I made butterflies to complete the metamorphoses. I folded a large sheet of white paper in half and cut out the butterfly shape. The girls then put globs of multicolored paints on just one half of the butterfly wings (keep the other side folded under). I then helped them fold the wings together and when they open flat it reveals a beautiful symmetric design on the butterfly wings. They glued on eyes and again attached antennas before we hung the butterflies up with string to fly from the ceiling. Enjoy spreading your wings and trying this fun and educational project we created with your child this spring!
Amanda Liljedahl lives in Needham with her husband and five children (two boys, a set of identical twin girls and their newest addition, another girl). She chronicles her days which include arts & crafts projects, great recipes for the family and driving her kids from hockey practice and ballet to what's happening in her life as a mom, wife and friend on her blog: www.thelittlelilypad.blogspot.com. Amanda will be sharing monthly arts & crafts ideas on Parent Talk Matters Blog so check back each month for new creative projects.