Feed the caterpillar some leaves, place it in a chrysalis, and watch it dramatically emerge as a colorful butterfly! Thanks to the hidden elastic cord, the butterfly appears to soar on it’s very own! It’s a super simple story time project that combines science, art, and magic all in one.
We read Arabella Miller’s Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett (Candlewick, 2008). While climbing trees, Arabella Miller discovers a tiny caterpillar. She makes him a shoe box home, feeds him cabbage and parsley, observes him shedding his skin, and finally watches him spin a chrysalis. When he emerges weeks later, Arabella Miller discovers that he is something quite new! As he flies into the sky, she calls out an enthusiastic good-bye to her special butterfly.
- 2 toilet paper tubes
- Green and brown construction paper
- A selection of colored masking tape
- A selection of eye stickers
- 2 pieces of twistez wire (or pipe cleaners)
- 1 butterfly wings template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
- Wing decorating materials – I offered cellophane, embossed foil paper, tissue paper circles, and dot stickers
- A 27″ piece of elastic beading cord
- 1 large brown paper lunch bag (mine was 6″ x 12.5″)
- Scissors, tape, glue stick for construction
- Markers for decorating
- Hole punch
- Hot glue
Begin with the butterfly! Wrap a toilet paper tube with brown construction paper. Attach sticker eyes (or draw them on with markers) and a smiley mouth (I used a piece of self-adhesive foam, but you can use markers too). Curl an 8″ piece of twistez wire (or pipe cleaner) and tape on the inside of the tube for antennae.
Cut the butterfly wings from the template (we used manilla card stock, and it looked great). Hot glue your butterfly’s body to the wings – just make sure the wings don’t cover the hole you punched in the back.
When the wings are finished, thread a 27″ piece of elastic beading cord through the hole. Knot the ends together, and wrap the knot with a piece of colored masking tape. The taped knot is an important part of the magic trick, so make sure you don’t skip this step! Your finished butterfly is now dangling on an elastic cord loop, secured with a taped knot.
Next is the caterpillar! Wrap a toilet paper tube with green construction paper, add some stripes with colored masking tape, and attach eye stickers (or draw some eyes on with markers). Use a 4″ piece of twistez wire (or pipe cleaner) to make antennae. Attach the antennae with tape.
Finally, we distributed construction paper leaves (which we prepped in advance) and brown paper bags. All that’s left is the magic trick! To work some metamorphical magic, load your butterfly in the bag. Keep the taped knot near the front of the bag where you can easily see it.