Last fall, a sweet friend gifted our family a mini butterfly garden. The pot sits at the bottom of our front steps and has been the source of much needed joy this spring. We have been able to see the caterpillar eggs on the leaves, see the tiny caterpillars and watch them truly eat and eat and eat and grow and grow and grow. At one point they ate all of the milk weed leaves and I was worried they would be hungry. My neighbor informed me that they also eat butternut squash, so that was a fun experiment in itself. We have been on many caterpillar hunts looking for them in bushes and getting ready to make their chrysalises. We currently have a tally mark chart going to document the days from chrysalis to butterfly. So exciting!! Coincidentally, my daughter’s class started a new unit on insects and caterpillars and butterflies were the first topic. Needless to say, she has been all about anything to do with caterpillars and butterflies. We’ve made a paper chain caterpillar, a toilet roll caterpillar and lots of coffee filter butterflies.
We also made this simple paper craft caterpillar that I have been using for many years with my therapy kiddos. It’s easy to adapt for multiple levels of ability and can be used to work on a variety of skills/concepts. You probably already have everything you need!
Marker or Crayon
Google eyes (optional)
We used a cup to trace circles on different colored paper. This is a great way to work on bilateral coordination. One hand is used to stabilize the cup while the other holds the marker – just like we want the non-dominant “helper” hand to stabilize the paper while the other is writing.
Next, cut out the circles. Typically developing children should start working on cutting out circles shortly after they turn 4 years old. When cutting, always encourage a “thumbs up” position. For my younger friends, I will have pre-cut circles and use this activity to work on color recognition, counting the circles, etc.
The next step is to paste the circles onto a larger piece of paper. Pasting a smaller piece of paper onto a larger piece of paper is considered to be an 18-24 month skill. For my toddlers, I will use a glue stick instead of liquid glue. You can also use the glue stick as a “utensil” to work on making a circle or circular scribble on the paper. In doing so, you are also working on developing visual motor control to stay within the limits of the paper.
When gluing the circles, make sure to have the first circle a little higher than the others to be the caterpillar’s “head.” We laid the circles out first, then starting gluing from the rear end! Ha!
Now it’s ready for details. We used google eyes, but of course you can easily draw eyes. Then we gave him a nose, mouth and antennae.
Lastly, we added some legs. For my little ones, I will just work on vertical line strokes. I always encourage top to bottom strokes because that’s how they will eventually need to form letters. Your colorful caterpillar is now complete!