The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a favorite book for story time in our preschool classroom. The book tells the story of a caterpillar eating and eating until it is ready to form its chrysalis and metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. The children like the colorful pictures, especially of the fruit and different types of foods. I like reading this part of the book as well because it introduces the days of the week, and numbers. In addition, it provides an opportunity to count. Our classroom has The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet. The children retell the story to each other using the puppet. We brought the story to life by making a caterpillar out of an egg carton. We cut the egg carton into pieces that contain 3 egg holders. Then paint the outside bright green and add an antenna (Pipe Cleaners), eyes and a mouth. Once all the caterpillars are complete they are placed in a brown bag to represent the chrysalis. Meanwhile, children are using their fine motor skills to cut out a butterfly shape that has been traced (by the teacher) on a piece of Manila paper. Students use spoons to put small blobs of paint only on one side of their butterfly (use 3 different colors). Once there is enough paint on the butterfly wing fold the paper in half and smooth with your hands. Press down firmly all over the paper. Open the butterfly to see your unique symmetrical design. Once the paint has dried staple on your caterpillar to the center of the butterfly to represent its metamorphosis into a butterfly.
Throughout these activities our preschool children watched real caterpillars grow bigger and bigger until they formed a chrysalis. The chrysalis were transferred into a mesh butterfly cage. Once the Painted Lady butterflies emerge from the chrysalis they will be set free outdoors by the children.
Note: Fold the butterfly in half before it gets painted. It will be much easier to refold the butterfly after the paint has been placed on one wing.