Caterpillars & butterflies ~ Prep art lesson

The theme of ‘change’ is a perennial one in primary school, and for Prep students, caterpillars to butterflies along with Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ is a wonderful inspiration for art lessons. Last year’s Preps made painted paper caterpillar & butterfly collages which were amazing. This year in the classroom they were looking more at chemical change, so I decided to do colour mixing activities- primary colour mixing to make secondary colours.

I shared The Very Hungry Caterpillar story and we looked closely at the colours on the caterpillar. The students were given a small pieces of blue and yellow Model Magic paper clay to roll and knead together to make green. They then tore off small pieces to roll into balls, pushing only lightly together to join. Some decided to make a hump on their caterpillar. Next they were given a small piece of red for the head and a tiny bit of yellow to separate in two for the eyes.

To make purple for the antennae, they were given a tiny amount of blue and red to then roll thinly to attach to the top of the head. They just used a green texta to add dots on the yellow eyes. Brown for the legs.

Butterflies were made by using food dye in dauber bottles on a folded piece of kitchen paper. Students daubed the colours any way they liked and when opened could see the design was mirrored on the other side. (Discuss symmetry!)

The drew a half butterfly wing design and I used that to cut out the folded kitchen paper when dry. Students chose an insect body (made by Roylco), put a chenille stick through the head for antennae and I fan folded their butterfly to insert though the slot in the body.

Next step will be for the Preps to make a leaf for the caterpillar and a wire stand for the butterfly for display! Will update with a photo when done.

short video of process

Hungry Caterpillars ~ Eric Carle inspired. Prep collage art lesson

Eric Carle’s children’s books and illustrations are a delight to read to children and also a wonderful inspiration so many art projects- who doesn’t love painted paper collages?

The Prep students (first year at Primary school) were working on a theme of “Growth and Change” and the story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” fits in beautifully. This art lesson is the first part- of course there has to be the cocoon and then the butterfly!

We watched an animated version of the story on Youtube, and I also had a copy of the book to look carefully at the pictures. We discussed how they think Eric Carle made the pictures- someone did eventually proffer that he painted paper and then cut and pasted it. We talked about how he might have got the effects of texture. I then showed them a short video of Carle making making paper, and collaging a butterfly, so they could see his process.

Making painted paper:

Students were given a tray with a dark green, an ‘apple’ green, and white. They were instructed not to actually mix the colours, but to double dip to cover their entire paper and then while the paint was wet to use a texture wand or comb to dab or scrape through the wet paint. They also did a smaller piece of paper with red, yellow and purple paint in sections. These are left to dry for the next session.

We looked at Eric Carle’s caterpillar and decided that the shape needed for the body parts was an oval. So to make a template for the caterpillar’s body, each child was given a smallish piece of cardboard to fill it with an oval shape. After checking with me that it was big enough, they cut it out and used that to trace onto the back of their painted paper as many as they could. (we folded the paper in half so they would cut two out at a time) They traced a slightly bigger head on the red paper and used the yellow to cut circles for eyes, the purple for antennae.

I demonstrated how they could glue down their ovals- we talked about arranging and overlapping- once again referring to Carle’s caterpillar. Students cut out yellow eyes, purple antennae and green circles for on top of eyes and a small triangle nose. I cut the little ‘L’ shaped feet for them from scrap brown painted paper.

Full Lesson Plan with Learning Intentions, Success Criteria, (also enlarged for display on screen or print) lesson activities, youtube video links, and self evaluation rubric.