Butterfly Project: Caterpillars

Any kind of egg carton will work.

Materials

  • Egg carton of any kind
  • Scissors
  • Tempera or acrylic paint and brushes or a piece of sponge
    OR markers
    OR colored paper and glue

How

An adult needs to cut the egg carton in half (creating two 1×6 strips). This gives you the chance to make two caterpillars. Then give your kid painting materials and let them decorate their caterpillar.

Increasing the Realism

Depending on how interested you are in caterpillars, you can show your kids how, unlike cartoon caterpillars, the real thing doesn’t have a noticeable head. This makes your egg carton design highly scientific.

Caterpillar on a sidewalk
“Caterpillar on a sidewalk” by InspiredVision is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 

Tiny to Huge
One cool thing about caterpillars is how quickly they grow. They come out of the egg an inch-long tiny little yarn-thickness thing, and then, due to their devouring natures, they rapidly increase in size. You can have your kid cut a piece of paper or yarn to show their just-out-of-the-egg size. It makes a nice side-by-side comparison with the big egg carton one.

In the picture at the top, those little green things on the right represent the just-hatched caterpillars.

So They Don’t Get Squeezed to Death
Another cool thing about caterpillars is that they molt several times, climbing their way out of their own skins (well, exoskeletons). Basically, they eat so much that their exterior can no longer contain them, and they have to leave it behind.

It’s pretty fun to crawl around pretending to eat voraciously and then have to crack yourself out of your too-tight skin. I mean, if you’re a child.

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