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Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft and Recommended Books and Activities

An adorable caterpillar to butterfly craft for preschoolers, plus more activities to go along with Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Click to Read About and See Photos of a Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle

caterpillar to butterfly craft for preschoolers.

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Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft for Children

This caterpillar to butterfly craft is my favorite of the many cute crafts my son Johnny has made in preschool. It pairs beautifuly with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. To make it, you need:

  • three cotton balls
  • paint (they used tempera, I think)
  • one coffee filter
  • two googley eyes
  • one clothes pin
  • glue

First, glue the three cotton balls to the top of the clothes pin. Paint them green, and set aside. Take the coffee filter, draw on it with markers, and then spray with water. Let everything dry overnight. The next day, attach googley eyes. Now you have a little caterpillar! To turn your caterpillar into a butterfly, glue the now-dry coffee filter to the bottom of the clothes pin. Wrap the wings around the body of the butterfly, and slide it into an empty toilet paper roll.

toilet paper roll turned butterfly cocoon

You now have a butterfly inside its chrysalis, just waiting to make its entrance into the world!

butterfly emerging from its cocoon craft

Most of the crafting my kids do is open-ended, so I never know how their creations are going to turn out. But I love directed crafts like this one, that teach a hands-on lesson!

You can make this craft even more interactive by sliding the wings into the middle of the clothespin instead of gluing them on, so that you can change the butterfly back into a caterpillar and recreate the entire transformation.

The new butterfly made with paint, coffee filter, googly eyes, cotton balls, and a clothespin

Caterpillar and Butterfly Books for Kids

Here are some great caterpillar and butterfly books for kids that we love:

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More Caterpillar and Butterfly Activities for Kids

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is this week’s pick for the Virtual Book Club for kids! Here are some more great activities to enjoy with your kids as you read this classic picture book.


2016-17 season virtual book club for kids books and activities

Click on the image above to see all of the themes, books, and activities for this year’s 2016-17 Virtual Book Club for Kids! I am updating the page as new posts go live.

Do you have a favorite spring learning craft? How about another caterpillar to butterfly craft for us to try? Please share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page. You can also tag me on Instagram


MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

38 thoughts on “Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft and Recommended Books and Activities”

  1. A fun activity that I did with my kids in Puddlestompers when they were little was collect plant material in a sandwich size zip lock bag. Then use a pipe cleaner to turn it into a butterfly. You just squish one around the middle. We had fun collecting leaves and dandelion flowers.

  2. I think I can do this with my first graders to go with our Reading lessons..We have life cycle and particularly butterfly ones they love! This is quick enough and will let them relay at home the cycle. Love that sweet stuff.

  3. You are just so creative! Love the cocoon for the butterfly and can’t believe those are cotton balls. Thanks so much for linking up at Discover & Explore this week – I’ve pinned you to our feature board!

  4. I found this via Katie’s caterpillar round up. These are so cool! I love when we use simple supplies. Very creative. My three year old will really enjoy doing this.

  5. Such a lovely easy to do craft, I’ll be doing this one with my kiddies. Thanks so much for linking up with our Eric Carle month.

  6. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    What a great idea, and Johnny did a SUPER job!! Love the idea of recreating it over and over again too. :-)

  7. Cute craft! This would go great with Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar- we read that book daily at our house!

  8. I am glad that Johnny’s school works out so well for him. This craft is very neat.

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