Monday, April 16, 2012

Pom Pom Caterpillars (free printable pattern & tutorial)

Here's an easy, fast preschool or kindergarten activity that's both educational and FUN!  Not only are these little caterpillars downright adorable, they make for great counting practice!  "How?" you ask?

With numbers hiding under each pom pom!

Kids will practice number recognition and counting as they put their fuzzy little friend together.

You could even kick it up a notch and make a colored dot next to each number for the kids to follow a pattern.  But since we did this project with 2 year-olds, we kept things simple and let the kids make their own patterns.

Once these guys are put together they're fun to pet and admire.  And the kids can count the pom poms over and over again!

This preschool/kindergarten craft is also great because you can do a lot of the prep ahead of time.

But it's also easy enough to get it ready 10 minutes before go-time.  I can personally attest to that.  :)

Ready to get started on your own little counting caterpillars?  Find the free printable pattern and full tutorial after the jump!

Alright, let's get shakin' on makin' these fun little caterpillars!

Step 1: Print & cut pattern

Click HERE or on the image above to view and print the Pom Pom Catterpillar Leaf Pattern & Activity.

Use paper scissors to cut out the leaf pattern.

Step 2: Prep green leaves

Using the leaf pattern as your guide, cut a leaf from green cardstock.

If you're making lots of little caterpillars, cut one leaf per caterpillar.

Using the leaf pattern as a guide, draw five dots on each green leaf.  Then label the dots 1-5.

Note: The dots on the leaf pattern are spaced for regular-sized pom poms.  (We got ours from the dollar store (via Olivia's sweet Nana--Thanks!).)  If you're using mini or jumbo pom poms, you'll need to adjust your spacing accordingly.

Step 3: Add fringe on leaves (optional)

To add some texture to your leaf, use scissors to make small snips around the edges.  Make sure not to cut off any piece of the leaf!  :)

If you're just making a few leaves for a home project, this is a fun way to make the leaves seem a little more real.  However, if you're making these for an entire classroom, you may want to go the easy route and just stick to the plain leaves without fringe.

Step 4: Bag supplies (optional)

If you're preparing this craft ahead of time, put the following supplies in a baggie.  (One baggie per child/caterpillar.)

  • 1 green leaf (with dots and numbers)
  • 5 pom poms
  • 2 googly eyes

Step 5: Glue pom poms

Now we're ready to put those caterpillars together!  :)

Give each child a baggie with their supplies.  Get the leaf out and have each child write their name on the back of their leaf.

Then turn the leaf back over and practice counting the dots in order from 1-5.

Place a small dot of glue (we just used regular Elmer's glue) on each dot.

Note: The glue should not cover up the numbers.  You'll want the numbers to still be visible so the kids can practice counting.

Step 6: Add pom poms!

Have the kids locate dot #1 and place a pom pom on top.

You may need to help the kids squish the pom pom onto their dot so it soaks up enough glue so it can stick to the leaf.

Then have the kids locate dot #2 and put a pom pom on top.

Continue having the kids locate the next number and place another pom pom on top until you've covered dot #5.

Step 7: Add googly eyes

Our googly eyes came from Olivia's Auntie Anna.  Thanks Auntie Anna!

Each caterpillar needs 2 googly eyes.  Retrieve them from the bag or pass them out as needed.

Place two dots of glue on the caterpillars head.

Place one googly eye on each dot of glue.

Say, "Awww."  (Am I the only one who thinks that when I look at this sweet little googly-eyed face?)


Hooray!  Step back and admire your beautiful new caterpillar!

Other ideas to accompany this activity:
  • Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Practice counting numbers and/or pom poms before beginning the activity
  • Make butterflies the next day as a follow-up activity
  • Practice making different patterns (ex: blue, red, blue, red)
  • After the kids finish their caterpillars, have them color pictures of foods that The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate (or foods that their caterpillar wants to eat)

I know our preschool group is cute, but please do not share or pin this image.  Thanks!  :)

Here's our little preschool group when we made our caterpillars last week!  It was definitely a preschool success.  The kids did a great job counting, they loved choosing which color would go next while they put their caterpillars together, and, really any activity with glue is an instant win with these kids.

If you try this activity with your own kids I'd love to hear how it goes!

And if you have more ideas for lesson add-ons please feel free to share your ideas in the comments!

Happy learning!


Find more fun and easy preschool ideas on the Preschool page.  You can also find them by clicking on the Preschool button in the header.  Enjoy!   


Gabe said...

Those are so cute! We just finished a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" unit study with the little ones while by big kids did one on butterflies, these would have been perfect!

Kathy Haynie said...

These are really cute. I immediately thought of Very Hungry Caterpillar. Manipulatives are so great! Today my husband (high school Spanish teacher) had his students doing cut-and-paste with nouns/verbs roots/pronouns/verb endings to make sentences. He had kids saying, "Oh, now I get it," all over the room.