Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caterpillars & Butterflies

I tend to take on ideas in the 11th hour.  Bad news for getting things like statistics done but good news for my storytime audiences! This idea, orignially from Read it Again is GENIUS, and even though it was not my original plan, it was too darling to pass up.  I had already been inspired by Miss Mary Liberry's butterfly design.

I got 5 booktape boxes and covered them in black construction paper.  I put velcro dots on the front and back.  The caterpillars start out on the front of the boxes, and we use the rhyme "5 little caterpillars and not one more, spun a cocoon and then there were 4." {Rhyme from the book Storytime Magic.} Replace each caterpillar with a cocoon as you go, placing the caterpillar in your box.

To finish, you can use "then one cocoon opened up in the sun / a butterfly came out and that makes one..."  But, I really liked the idea of clapping for the butterfly while it came out & that is what I did today, just letting the rhyme drop after the cocoon line and having the kids clap so the butterfly will emerge.  Each of the butterflies has fishing line taped to its back, so you just grab the line from the back of your board and give it a tug.  Since the butterflies are flannel, they lightly stick to the board and the string doesn't have to be held taut.  The part I love the most about this idea is how visual and symbolic it is for the actual caterpillar/cocoon process - I feel like it is a great way to help kids visualize it and the surprise of a butterfly is truly surprising and delightful.

This set for the Very Hungry Caterpillar was one of the first things I made when I started at the library - it is showing its age, but it was a labor of love at the time.  When I tell this story, I keep the pieces in my lap, hold them up at their time, and have the caterpillar munch through them.  When done, I just set them on the floor or a chair beside me.  I think the size of my pieces are the main appeal, as well as cute Mr. Caterpillar. 

I have a piece of brown suede fabric that I use for the cocoon, just wrapping it around him and mentioning that he fell asleep for two weeks.  Then the warm sun comes out and little caterpillar begins munching his way out of the cocoon and, surprise, butterfly wings!  Anyone who reads this story loves it, of course, but it is a tribute to the story itself that it is so flexible.  It can be done from young gradeschool down - even babies - you just limit the details and even edit out some of the food if needed.  But the story stands on its own, to be sure, and is a delight.

And here's a classic bee rhyme, just for fun:

Here is a beehive
But where are the bees?
Hidden inside where nobody can see.
Let's count the bees as they come out of the hive -
1, 2, 3, 4, 5!


  1. Awesome remake of the butterflies! I like that you can remove the boxes/cocoons. And very cute rhymes.

  2. What a fun, colorful butterfly idea! I'll bet your storytime friends loved it ~ I know mine would! They love anything that appears magical!

  3. The butterflies are beautiful...I love the clapping to encourage them to come out. Perfect!


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