How to Make Egg Carton Caterpillars That Turn into Butterflies

With so many changes taking place in the great outdoors, Springtime is full of opportunities for "teaching moments" about various nature-related activities.  One of our family's favorites is the life cycle of the butterfly.  There's something about the metamorphosis of a fuzzy little caterpillar into a beautiful winged butterfly that is simply magical, particularly in the eyes of child.

One activity that our family has enjoyed is making egg carton caterpillars that turn into butterflies.  It's a simple activity that has the added bonus of teaching the importance of recycling and re-using items that would otherwise be thrown away (cardboard egg cartons and paper bags).

Materials needed include:  cardboard egg carton, a paper bag (or a large piece of white paper as we used here), a piece of green paper,  pipe cleaners, twist ties and *googly eyes. You can use markers, crayons or paint for decorating. *If you don't have googly eyes handy, just draw them on ;-)

Step 1:  Cut a cardboard egg carton down the middle and let your little one get busy decorating.  We like to use markers as they are less messy than paint for this part and the colors show up really well.  An option here is to add stickers or "jewels" on each segment.

Step 2:  Add the face and pipe cleaner antenna! 

Step 3:  Wrap the caterpillar up in a "cocoon"(aka tissue paper) to allow it to begin the process of "metamorphosis."

Step 4:  Cut a large piece of paper into a "wings" shape and let your little one decorate in anyway they see fit.  We used water color paints for these wings but have also used crayons, markers and even mosaic wings by gluing small pieces of paper to the larger one.

Step 5:  It's kind of fun to surprise your little one with the final step.  After they've gone to bed, take the "caterpillar" out of the "cocoon" and using the twist ties fasten the wings onto the caterpillar.  Voila!  A butterfly is born!

One of our absolute favorite books to read on this topic is "Are you a Butterfly?" This book is written in a conversational manner with simple text and pictures, yet at the same time it is very informative.  My kids enjoy acting out the various stages of the butterfly life cycle as they are described in the story.  Does your family have a favorite book on the topic of metamorphosis (butterflies, frogs, or something else)?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!