It seems like everyone we know has been “adopting” pet caterpillars for their gardens this spring. You can order caterpillars online and then watch them grow for a few weeks. Afterwards, they form their chrysalis and eventually become beautiful butterflies. While you’re waiting for the caterpillars to become butterflies, you can have a lot of fun learning about them.
Books About Caterpillars
You might want to check these books out from your local library and get credit for the summer reading program. Here are some of our favorite books about caterpillars.
Caterpillar books for preschoolers:
The Crunching, Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan Cain
Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr.
The Goodnight Caterpillar by Lori Lite
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book by Eric Carle
Caterpillar books for school-aged children:
Pete the Cat and the Cool Caterpillar by James Dean
The Book of Caterpillars: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from around the World by David G. James
Youtube Videos About Caterpillars
This videos are available on Youtube and we picked them because they’re well done, just a couple of minutes long and fun to watch. All videos are available at the bottom of the page.
- 3D Animated Short, Sweet Cocoon – Parents, please preview these videos. This beautiful award winning short has a tragic ending. It’s all natural, but you may deem it inappropriate for your child.
- Why Is The Very Hungry Caterpillar So Dang Hungry?
- Caterpillars for Kids
Let’s Feed The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game. This game is great for 2-4 players, ages 3 and up. It’s best for preschool aged kids.
Indoor Relay Game
Grab a couple of rolls of toilet paper and race to see who can get cocooned the quickest. If you have more than one child, they can race. One child can wrap themselves up while adults do the same.
Caterpillar Sensory Bin Ideas
Assemble your very own caterpillar sensory bin. You can theme it after The Very Hungry Caterpillar book or the life of a caterpillar.
Base: dried black beans or dyed green rice
Scoops: colorful cups like the children’s drinking cups from Ikea
Contents: artificial flowers, caterpillar toys, squishy caterpillars, fruit toys from a kitchen set, real fruit or pictures of fruit printed and glued on to cardboard pieces.
Outdoor Relay Game
Caterpillar Walk Race
If you have six people in your family, this game is perfect, but you can make the game work with just two or three.
Team members sit in a straight line in the grass, one behind the other.
Each player places their legs around the waist of the person in front of them with their feet in that person’s lap.
Using only your hands, the whole team races to the finish line. Only the person in the very front can use their feet.
The caterpillar team that crosses the line first, wins!
If you only have 2 or 3 people, race against the clock. Time your caterpillar and try to go faster the second time.
How far your start and finish line are apart is totally up to you.
Balloon Painting Caterpillars
Supplies needed for this craft: A piece of paper (construction paper works well)
Small Balloon, a water balloon works well
Paint, we used tempera paint, acrylic is also great
Disposable plate for paint
Marker OR Crayon
If you have googly eyes, this is a great place to use them
Instructions: 1. Blow up your balloon
2. Put a small amount of paint on your plate
3. Dip you balloon into the paint and lift it
4. Place the balloon straight down on your paper. Repeat steps 3 & 4 to make more spots next to each other, just slightly touching.
5. After the paint is completely dry, use a marker or Crayon and draw feet any other details you want and a smile.
6. Draw eyes or glue googly eyes with glue.
Toilet Paper Roll Caterpillar
Supplies needed for this craft: Paper towel or toilet paper cardboard tube
Paint or markers
A Pipe Cleaner
Instructions: 1. Cut the cardboard roll in round sections
2. Color the outside of the pieces with markers or paint
3. Glue the cardboard sections together
4. Use a pipe cleaner to create an antenna
5. Glue the antenna to the caterpillar head
6. Glue on or draw googly eyes
7. Draw a smile
Pom Pom Caterpillar Craft
Supplies needed for this craft: Green construction paper
Small Googly eyes or handmade eyeballs
Hole Punch (optional)
Instructions: 1. Cut out a freehand leaf shape and add any details.
2. Glue 3 or 4 pom poms together side by side to create your caterpillar and then glue the eyes on top of his head. Allow it to dry.
3. Glue your caterpillar to his leaf.
4. If you have a hole punch, punch out a few holes on the edge of the leaf to show where he’s been eating.
Paper Chain Caterpillar Craft
Supplies needed for this craft: Green, red, and black construction paper
Instructions: 1. Cut your green construction paper in to 4-8 strips.
2. Cut one strip of red paper for the caterpillar head.
3. Begin making a paper chain by creating a circle with one strip of green construction paper. Staple the ends together. Place the end of another strip through the circle and staple in a circle shape. Repeat until complete, using the red strip last.
4. Make fun features for your caterpillar using the black construction paper: antennae, a mouth and eyes if you don’t have googly eyes.
5. Glue the features to your caterpillar.
Caterpillar Themed Snacks
Ingredients: 1 red bell pepper
Dip or dressing of your choice
Directions: 1. Cut half of the red pepper into thin strips for the caterpillar legs.
2. Using a small round cookie cutter or a knife, make 4 small circles for the heads on the other half of the red pepper.
3. Cut the cucumber in to slices, peel it if you wish.
4. Assemble the caterpillar on a plate my just slightly overlapping the cucumber pieces in a wiggly line. Use the red pepper circle for the head and add the slices of peppers for the feet, trimming to your desired length.
5. Use any leftover pieces for the eyes and antennae.
Caterpillar Fruit Kabobs
Ingredients: 8-10 grapes per kabob
Cherry tomatoes or strawberries
Wood or metal kabob sticks
Dab of cream cheese
Directions: 1. Wash all of your produce.
2. Pierce the strawberry (Or tomato) with the kabob stick and push it to the end of the stick.
3. Pierce a grape through the middle and push it to the end of the stick, repeat until your kabob is full.
4. Using cream cheese, make an eyeball on the strawberry and add a chocolate chip in the center. Do this twice for two eyeballs.
Very Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Tray
Ingredients: Celery stalks
Peanut butter or cream cheese
Celery or radish slivers
Directions: 1. Cut the washed celery stalks in to 2-3 inch sections.
2. Fill the celery stalk sections with peanut butter or cream cheese
3. Top the peanut butter or cream cheese with grapes or blueberries
4. Place a grape tomato at the front for the head.
5. Use peanut butter or cream cheese to glue on some candy eyes
6. Create legs and antennae using slivers of radish or celery.
Lifecycle Story Time
Share the lifecycle of a caterpillar using Playdoh or Model Magic or clay.
Eggs -> Caterpillar -> Pupa or Chrysalis -> Emerging from Chrysalis -> Butterfly
If you are the plan ahead type, order some live caterpillars and have them delivered to your home so you can observe them over the next month. After ours formed their chrysalis, we put them inside of our butterfly habitat and watched them emerge and become butterflies. Every 3 or 4 days during this process we created observational drawings of our caterpillars. It’s amazing how quickly they grow! My kids also enjoyed snapping photos of them to track their growth.