Tuesday, July 10, 2012

20+ Ways to Make Caterpillars With Your Little Ones

20 Ways to Make and Teach Your Preschoolers About Caterpillars
I've been a Mom now for four years and sometimes the things I don't know amazes me.  For example, I only found out about squeezable applesauce about six months ago.  Little portable applesauce packages that don't need to be refrigerated!?!?  I don't know where I was living for the first 3.5 years of Munchkin Girls' life, but clearly I missed out.

A similar thing happened not too long ago when someone mentioned the author Eric Carle.  Now clearly, as a Mom and a blogger, I should know this person.  Everyone is always talking about him.  Yet I didn't and as usual I felt worried that I was depriving my kids of an important and education opportunity that would likely stunt them for life.  Harvard was clearly out of the question if I didn't do something fast (Don't worry.  If you're new to my site, you will realize that I'm mostly being sarcastic).  Still, I rushed out to Barnes and Noble that day and bought The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

I proudly presented it to my kids and started reading in my most animated voice.  Now I'm going to admit something that will make most Mom bloggers cringe....My kids really weren't interested.  Their eyes glazed over and they wandered off for something more fun to do.  I'm not sure what that means.  I was pretty surprised because most days we read at least 10 books.  They usually adore book.  They just don't seem to like Eric Carle books.  They seem really smart in other ways, but they will never be appraising fine art, because from what I have heard, Eric Carle is truly the fine art of kids books.

To be honest, ever since we introduced the magnifying glass, my kids are much more interested in this book.  Why?  Because it came with 10 little fake bugs that they carry around the house to scare people.  And they also like to look for bugs and caterpillars outside.

caterpillar trapped by little kid for science fun

Still they do really love to make caterpillar crafts so the other day we got out some beads and pipe cleaners.  First, I strung one bead around the end and secured it for Munchkin Girl:

Then she spent thirty happy minutes stringing the pipe cleaner with the beads

little kid making a caterpillar with beads and a pipe cleaner

kids activities including making caterpillars

In the end, she really loved her little caterpillars almost as much as her outdoor caterpillar friends.  I felt like it was time well-spent because she worked on her hand strength as she laced the beads, which will help her later when it is time to learn to write.  Not only that, after we spent this quality time together, she wandered off for an hour and played happily with her dolls.  I have found that after we do a project, she feels fulfilled and it really allows her to open up her imagination and feel secure enough to play alone, giving me some much-needed time to pay bills, do laundry or whatever I need to do.  To find more simple ways to keep your kids buys in productive ways, check out my new book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.

Now this got me to thinking....I really love caterpillar crafts and as I've become more and more addicted to Pinterest, I have noticed that there are some really amazing caterpillar crafts and activities out there.  One of my favorite things about blogging is seeing my fellow bloggers produce so many different versions of the same animal or insect.  In the interest of full disclosure, many of them are centered around The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I say, good for them!!  It really is very educational!  :-)


The Imagination Tree used one of our favorite materials: glue-paint for these easy caterpillars

caterpillar with paper towel holder

Pipe Cleaner Caterpillars from the Iowa Farmer's Wife
One of my all-time faves...we've done these several times

Mama Smiles used cotton balls and other recycled materials for her caterpillars

At Home With Ali made some beautiful and simple cocoons, with caterpillars inside.

Teach Preschool used paint for a plain fun caterpillar craft

Train Up a Child Used egg carton caterpillars to work on sorting, lacing, and more!

Paint Cut Paste showed some real caterpillars, which they raised at their house and watched them turn into butterflies!

Cathy from the Nurture Store even gives some ideas on active outdoor caterpillar activities, such as making edible caterpillars for lunch and creeping along as a caterpillar to improve gross motor skill!

You will have to see this birthday party to believe it!  Putti's World has dozens of ways she used caterpillars to decorate her daughter's 4th birthday party.

Carrots are Orange gives an amazing wealth of Montessori-inspired caterpillar learning activies.

Crayon Freckles  took her little one through the entire process, from egg to cocoon to caterpillar to butterfly!

A Little Learning for Two used a laminator to create an activity that can be done over and over again.

Glittering Muffins did some egg carton caterpillars

 Creekside Learning made this amazing caterpillar sandwich for a caterpillar-themed birthday party!

Hands on as We Grow used tin cans to make caterpillars with her son

 The Artful Parent used these large beads to create her caterpillars

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  1. What a fabulous round up! There are many I had not yet seen. I'm pinning this and off to visit of few of these. Thanks for including us. :)

  2. Great round up... so many ideas!! thanks for including us too.

  3. What an incredibly diverse collection of caterpillars! Thanks for including ours :)

  4. Wow - if you are a caterpillar lover, you've come to the right site. This selection is incredible!!

  5. Those are great ideas! Thank you for sharing your post on Artsy Play Wednesday on Capri + 3.

    : 0 ) Theresa

  6. What wonderful ideas! I need to read the Hungry Caterpillar with JDaniel and create some with him.

  7. Oooh, I can't wait to check out the caterpillar birthday's as I'm doing one for my little man's 1st bday. And I love your beads on a pipe cleaner idea. My daughter would love that :)

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