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.
What you’ll need to make this caterpillar to butterfly craft
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- cardboard tube (I used a large wrapping paper roll that I cut into smaller pieces)
- Paint (or Paint Sticks like we used) – here’s our affiliate link to these fantastic paint sticks that speed up crafting with kids available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com
- Pipe cleaners
- Colourful material e.g. tissue paper, fabric scraps, tulle
- Paper clips
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.