If you’re in search of a craft, with both a literature and math component, this one is perfect! After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to your child, you can follow up with a fun necklace craft and practice patterning skills at the same time!
I was first introduced to this craft when I was planning a caterpillar themed birthday for my Lucy’s 3rd birthday. I was in search of a craft the kids could do at the party. Luckily, having previously been a Kindergarten teacher, I have tons of teachers as my best friends! They are always full of fun and creative ideas on any topic. And, as usual, the teacher best friends had the perfect idea- a caterpillar necklace!
This craft was very easy to prepare, and once your kids are old enough to handle scissors, they can do most of the work on their own! The best part of the craft is it allows your child space for creativity while also working on patterning skills.
This craft would be perfect for just one child, but also easy to produce in mass for a large group of children~ a project for your child’s class or playgroup activity. (When I do large groups, I sometimes find it helps with the management of the activity if I place all the materials each child will need in their own little baggie.) Hope you enjoy making it!
For dying the pasta:
- cylinder shaped pasta (rigatoni works best)
- rubbing alcohol
- green food coloring
- large baggie or bowl
- cookie sheet and newspaper
For the caterpillar necklace:
- red, yellow, and green construction paper
- yarn or string
- hole punch
Directions for dying pasta:
- First you need to dye the pasta and let it dry. I always love this step, and the kids enjoy helping with it!
- I like to dye my pasta in a large baggie, but you could use a large bowl instead. Put your dry pasta in the bag. Add about 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol to the bag and a few drops of the green food coloring. Seal the bag and mix it all up by squeezing the bag all around. (The kids love this part!) Let it sit for about 15 minutes (continue to mix it around occasionally during the 15 minutes).
- Line your cookie sheet with newspaper. Pour the dyed pasta on the newspaper and spread it all out in one even layer. Let it dry completely.
Directions for making the caterpillar necklace:
- Cut out red paper circles about 1 inch in diameter. Punch a single hole in each one. (We use a hole punchers that the kids were able to do themselves.)
- Make the caterpillar’s head. (You can be as simple or fancy with this as you want!) We tried to make it look similar to the one in the book. We cut out construction paper face and glued on some eyes and antennae. Punch a hole in the face.
3. Now it’s time to assemble the necklace! Cut your piece of string or yarn to the size you’d like for your child. (I usually go a little longer than I think~ you can always cut it off later!)
4. Place some tape at one end of the yarn or string to make it easy for threading.
5. Have you child first thread a green pasta onto the thread. Next they add one red circle, then green pasta etc. forming a pattern.
6. When your child is happy with his or her caterpillar length, add the caterpillar head.
7. Tie the string together to form a necklace. (Cut off the tape).
8. Wear your necklace proudly!
There’s no need to leave out the little ones either. While we were busy making our necklaces, Theo practiced those fine motor skills of his by putting pasta on pipe cleaners.