The sun is shining and we are thinking about starting to get some crafts going for spring with our tots. My toddlers absolutely loved making this Cress Caterpillar inspired after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. With materials from our junk model box and basic craft supplies it was so easy to make. Caterpillars are such a fun spring craft to make with toddlers and these egg box caterpillars that actually grow their spikes are fun to do and them watch them grow.

Very Hungry Cress Caterpillars craft to make with toddlers


This is an activity I remember doing back when I was a child with my mum and loved it then – cress I believe is sprouting seeds or mustard seeds in the US and this can even be done with grass seeds it’s a simple fun Spring craft, growing experiment for kids.

Go down and discover our how-to guide on growing cress on cotton wool as although it’s easy you can get it wrong.

What you need to make a Cress Caterpillar

We have included links to the materials we recommend to make these cress caterpillars for spring crafts with toddlers and preschoolers. If you purchase via the links we may earn a small commission on the sale.

Egg Carton


Paint Brushes

Craft Foam

Googly Eyes


Cotton Wool

Cress Seeds

You could use Mustard Seeds or Grass Seeds as alternatives

How you make a Caterpillars from egg cartons

  • Cut the egg carton into a strip.

We kept true to insects with cutting into 3 segments for the caterpillars body but you could make your caterpillars as long as you want. I then let J and T go and paint the bodies.

preschoolers painting egg carton caterpillars



One of my top tips for crafting with 2 toddlers/preschoolers is to provide each with their own paint palette and paint selections – that way you reduce your stress levels as the two argue less over the paints and in our case the older doesn’t get annoyed with the younger when they mix up all of the paints instead of keeping them separate.

toddler painting egg boxes to create egg box caterpillars that will then grow


  • Once they had finished painting the caterpillar body we put it aside to dry.
  • To create the caterpillar heads – use a small bowl to draw around the bowl onto craft foam.
  • Then cut it out.
  • Add Googly eyes to the face.

toddler painting egg boxes to create egg box caterpillars that will then grow


  • Once the eyes are in place with a black marker they draw some mouths on.
  • Stick the faces to the front of the caterpillars bodies once dry.

preschooler using glue in a spring craft


How to grow cress on cotton wool

Cress is really easy to grow these caterpillars with proper care will sprout in a few days and then you will have cress caterpillars that you and your toddlers have made and grown yourselves.

Growing cress on cotton woll means that you are more likely for it to succeed than if you try and grow where with you children the soil or container can become water logged.

using a spray bottle to help cress grow on cotton wool

  1. Fill each of the body cavities of the caterpillar with cotton wool ball.
  2. Then spray with some water from a spray bottle.
  3. Sprinkle on the cress seeds.
  4. Place in some sunlight to grow.
  5. Make sure that the cotton wool stays damp. Using the spray bottle helps as your little ones won’t over water the seeds.


growing cress with kids a fun craftivity to create growing caterpillars
Cress caterpillar ready to grow made by a preschooler

What to Read Aloud With this Spring Craft for Toddlers

Here on Rainy Day Mum we try and match our toddler and preschool activities with books that you and they can sit and read together. Our favourite caterpillar books by far is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the first book I bought for both of my kids when I found out I was pregnant. I remember my mum reading it to me and my brother. We had a pop-up version where the beautiful butterfly opened it’s wings at the end as it popped up out of the book. This version I linked earlier and in the picture above is a board book with cutouts that the Hungry Caterpillar goes through.

Fun crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers based on the classic Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Including simple learning activities, and sensory play.

If you and your kids love this book and want to do more activities inspired by it check out our full list of Very Hungry Caterpillar Inspired Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers that you can do at home with your little tots.

Pin this Caterpillar Craft for Kids to Make Later

Simple craft for toddlers that will then grow to create a caterpillar ideal for spring, bugs or growing themed fun. It's so simple even toddlers can make it and watch the seeds grow

Simple craft for toddlers that will then grow to create a caterpillar ideal for spring, bugs or growing themed fun. It's so simple even toddlers can make it and watch the seeds grow

Cerys Parker

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.


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