I remember reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle when I was little, so of course, it is one of my favourite books to read with my two little ones, Ethan and Ivy.  It’s a sweet story with very vivid pictures and tells the story of the life cycle of a butterfly in a clear and easy to understand way.  We’ve made plenty of caterpillar crafts and butterfly crafts in the past, but I decided that we should try making a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly for this one.

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

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Looking for even more Bug book inspiration check out our selection of Bug and Butterfly Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

What you’ll need to make this caterpillar to butterfly craft

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Looking for Butterfly Printable Activities, then check out our Butterfly Activity Project Pack. With ideas for preschool to learn maths, writing and all about the life cycle.

Step by Step how to make your caterpillar to butterfly cardboard tube craft

How to make your caterpillar

We started out by decorating our cardboard tubes to look like caterpillars.  As I often say on Play & Learn Every Day, we love making crafts but we are not very patient, so instead of painting our tubes and leaving them to dry, we used paint sticks which dry almost instantly.  They also leave a nice effect when using different shades of green, making the caterpillar look a bit furry.  (Pastels could easily create the same effect).

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Next I poked two small holes into the top of the tube for the antennas.  The children then threaded their green pipe cleaners through the holes and we twisted them around to secure them.  They also used the paint sticks to draw faces under the antennas.

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Then Ethan and Ivy used their scissors to cut along the curved line that goes around the tube.   Ethan (5 ½) was able to do it easily, but I was surprised at how well Ivy (3) did it as well.  It’s definitely a good idea for future cutting exercises as those grooves really helped Ivy to stay on track.

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

How to make your butterfly

Once we had cut all the way along the line we opened up our caterpillars and used some rocks to hold down the edges to flatten it.  Then we used our paint sticks again to colour in our butterfly’s body.

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Finally, we got some colourful material and cut it into butterfly wing shapes and glued them along the sides of the butterfly body, then left them to dry.

Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Combining the butterfly and caterpillar

Once the glue has dried the wings can be rolled inside the butterfly’s body then we used green paper clips to keep our roll in place.  Then we’ve got a rolled up caterpillar, and when we unroll it there is a beautiful butterfly!

Inspired by this Eric Carle book based activity then check out more Eric Carle books that we recommend for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Niki writes about all sorts of fun and educational activities over on Play & Learn Every Day.  As a former teacher and a Mum of two young children, Ethan who is 5 ½ and Ivy who is 3, they are always busy playing and learning.

For more fun, follow Niki on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and sign up to receive their newsletter for regular updates!

You can find more ideas from Niki on Rainy Day Mum with Superworm Playdough, Tiddler Storytelling prompts and Twas the Night before Christmas Storytelling Basket


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Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

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Create this cardboard tube craft that transforms from a caterpillar to a butterfly an ideal project to make with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Author
Cerys Parker

Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and mum. Realising that life doesn't have to be put on hold and you don't just have to survive whilst the kids are young she shares ideas to inspire you to LIVE with the kids, with activities to do together, recipes to cook and enjoy and family travel to make memories to last a lifetime.

2 Comments

  1. Wow this is a great and creative craft, I love it. The very hungry caterpillar was my favourite childhood book, and we love to do a butterfly garden every year. We also do caterpillar crafts and butterfly crafts, this is perfect for an inbetween craft, for when they emerge. Thank you

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