With the arrival of our caterpillars, we of course kicked off a caterpillar theme that included art, science, letters, and numbers. Unfortunately the girls and I all became really sick so things didn’t go quite as planned and it’s taken us a lot longer to do what I had planned but here are our caterpillar activities. I decided to save The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities for another post. And, in case you missed it, you can read all about our live caterpillars and some of the fun we have had with them here.
I just cut up cardboard egg cartons to make the caterpillar bodies and then the girls painted them. I recommend using darker colors since the colors all faded a lot after it dried. For the antennas I poked holes in the head and then threaded through a shortened pipe cleaner. Then we glued on the googly eyes (because everything is more fun with googly eyes) and the pom pom nose (which I am not a fan of but the girls really wanted to add).
To practice our counting I made this caterpillar leaf game. While it could easily be mounted to a file folder, I decided to keep the leaves separate so that the girls could focus on one card at a time. I would put down a leaf and then the girls would add the correct number of “caterpillars,” which were really fuzzy pipe cleaners cut down to about an inch in size.
If you want to make the game a little more difficult and practice some fine motor skills, kiddos can add the caterpillars to the leaf using tweezers. We tried this a few times but then the girls’ focus definitely moved from counting to playing with tweezers.
I’ve been debating getting the dot markers since I’ve seen a lot of templates for them, but I was reluctant to get another craft supply when we have so many. Then I decide to make our own reusable ones using cheap cookie sheets, pom poms, and magnets. I used magnetic adhesive dots, similar to these. Even though they had adhesive on them, I still needed to glue the puff balls to the magnets with the low-temp glue gun otherwise they came apart while we were playing.
Then for this theme we used a letter C and caterpillar page I found from DLTK here.
The girls loved it! I wondered if it would be worth the effort since it seems a pretty quick activity, but as soon as they filled in the sheet they wanted to take all the balls off and go again. It is the perfect toddler activity! They really enjoyed picking out which color to use and filling in every circle on the page. We will definitely be doing this with other pages!
Since we were talking about caterpillars, we also focused on the letter C. One of our activities was filling our C template. In my Easter egg post I mentioned how we were going to fill in one for each letter. For C we used fun foam crosses we had from Easter, but cotton balls would also work well.
We did a few poems from The Complete Book and CD set of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays, and Chants by Jackie Silberg and Pam Schiller. The girls especially loved this one, since it was short enough for them to memorize:
Who’s that ticklin’ my back? said the wall, (crawling fingers up arm)
“Me,” said a small caterpillar, “I’m learning to crawl.”
They were so proud of themselves for learning it and repeated it on skype for the family a few times. 🙂
Obviously just having the caterpillars and watching their transformation is a great science activity for the kids. The girls have been fascinated with them as they have moved through the different stages. One of the other things we did was practice being caterpillars by wiggling on the floor. We then bundled under blankets to be in our pupa and then burst out as butterflies. They had a blast!
We also have read a lot of caterpillar books. I think that with little kids it can be easy to shy away from non-fiction books because you worry they won’t understand or won’t be interested, but really this is a great time to introduce to little ones how much they can learn from reading. I just did a quick search with our library for books on caterpillars and butterflies and we found some great ones.