If you’ve been round these parts for awhile, you’ll know that I’m an Eric Carle fan girl. His method of painting tissue paper is one of our very favourite art processes. This Very Hungry Caterpillar craft vibes off this process.
But with a twist.
We’ve created a fair few Eric Carle-inspired projects round here. These Grouchy Ladybirds help teach how to tell the time.
Some Mister Seahorses. Some Lonely Fireflies.
But nothing to do with the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I almost had stage fright. What could I ever create with my kids to do justice to this iconic book? This year, being the 50th year since this glorious book was published, seemed like THE YEAR to get over this stage fright.
Sew a Softie seemed like a perfect opportunity to bring this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft to life.
A Very Hungry Caterpillar softie? Please and thank you.
What you will need for this Very Hungry Caterpillar craft
Acrylic paints (green, white, yellow, black, red)
So here’s the plot twist.
We’re going to paint the felt to achieve that awesome Eric Carle textured collage look.
Paint your felt green. Then start adding yellow, black and white highlights.
The felt absorbs the paint quite quickly so as we started wanting it to look textured with colour, we squirted paint straight onto the felt.
Once dried, the paint does make the felt a bit stiffer.
Paint a small square in red and use white and black to create a collage look. This will form the caterpillar’s head.
We examined the book’s front cover for reference.
Once your felt has dried, find a circular object to trace around.
The circles we cut ended up being around 7.5cm across.
We used 7 green circles.
Lay your 7 circles in formation against the felt that will be your backing.
We used white felt for the backing.
Pin your circles into place and get your needle ready!
We chose to use black thread. Use whatever colour tickles your fancy!
Note that we didn’t cut out the white circles. We sewed directly onto the backing fabric (that was rectangular in shape) and then cut around that felt at the very end.
This was a very useful method for little hands.
Cut a circle out of your red painted felt for the caterpillar’s head and 2 yellow ovals and 2 smaller green ovals to create the eyes.
Cut out a small circle for the caterpillar’s mouth.
Stitch these pieces into place on the red circle.
You’ll also need to cut out 2 black antennae and some little feet.
We began by stitching along the bottom of the caterpillar. Be sure to stitch the little black feet in as you progress.
My eldest is 5 and this was challenging for her. It was definitely a side-by-side activity and at times it was a hand-over-hand activity.
Once you have sewn along the bottom of the caterpillar, I put three stitches in at the point where the circles overlapped. Otherwise they flap around and all the stuffing will fall out.
Working along the top of the caterpillar, place stuffing into each segment and then stitch your caterpillar together.
Be sure to stitch the antennae in when you reach the head.
I initially had this grand dream of having my kids paint the food eaten by the caterpillar onto the back of the softie so that it could be used to retell the story. But life got in the way and there was no time for that. But you can have that idea and if you use it, be sure to tag me so I can see how it turned out!
This butterfly art for kids was inspired by two of my favourite creative ladies, Bonnie from Make It Your Own and Cara from Raising Kinley. I do love the way the Internet brings so much connection and inspiration and this creative lady mash up is testament to this.
After seeing this post on Bonnie’s Instagram feed about watercolours forming perfect droplets on waxed paper, my mind was whirring.
Team this inspiration with Cara’s enthusiastic obsession with photo paper and this butterfly art project was born.
Use the template to cut butterflies out of your photo paper.
Use masking tape to secure waxed paper to the table.
Dip paintbrushes into liquid watercolours and experiment with dropping paint onto the waxed paper.
(You could also use pipettes.)
It’s fun to observe the reaction and resistance between the paint and waxed paper.
Once you’ve covered a suitable area in coloured watercolour dots, press the photo paper glossy side down onto the droplets.
WARNING: This is an addictive process. It’s fun to experiment with how close you can place the coloured dots and to see what happens when the colours mix.
We then glued our butterflies onto squares of coloured paper and cut them out, leaving a thin border.
You could string these up as bunting or make a garland.
This Grouchy Ladybug craft is a perfect way to explore the painting process that Eric Carle uses to create his iconic illustrations.
It’s also a perfect creative project to pair with teaching time on an analogue clock. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is my go-to text when teaching littles how to tell the time.
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It’s actually called The Bad-Tempered Ladybird in my neck of the woods. Funny how the titles of books change based on your location.
Painting tissue paper is one of our favourite art processes! Check it out in the following video.
How to create your own Grouchy Ladybug craft
A variety of paintbrushes
Cardboard to lay under tissue paper whilst painting (hello old boxes!)
White craft glue
3 split pins
White paper + black pen
The Grouchy Ladybug template
Painting tissue paper a la Eric Carle is addictive. TIP #1: Prepare your space and have a drying rack or space ready to dry artwork flat. I wish I could pretend that I followed this tip, but this is what our workspace looked like. Yep I used a veggie box as a drying rack. Luckily for us, the kitchen island is right behind us here, so as the veggie box drying rack filled up, I’d quickly turn around and place the wet art on the island behind me. Sort your space before you start!
Lay your tissue paper on scraps of cardboard box. Let the painting begin!
Eric Carle advises that you lift your paper gently every so often to prevent it sticking to the cardboard underneath.
Tip #2: We began with only red and white paint.
We experimented with different brushes and implements to create red painted tissue paper.
Tip #3: It’s really great to have lots of paintbrushes to use as you move into using different colours.
Ain’t nobody got time to be washing brushes once this activity starts.
Good readers observe the details in illustrations.
We observed the different blending of colour on The Grouchy Ladybird’s cover. Tip #4: Introduce black paint next and experiment with creating red tinged with black.
Tip #5: We noticed that The Grouchy Ladybug had tinges of blue to her. Introduce blue paint and experiment with using blue and black together.
Once your painted tissue paper has dried, tear it into pieces. Possibly the most satisfying part of this whole process!
Tip #6: I grouped our torn tissue paper according to tints and shades. This makes it much easier at the gluing stage.
Print off the Grouchy Ladybug craft template and trace onto thin card. A cereal box would be perfect!
We covered the base in black tissue paper. Her face has hints of blue and white to it.
The wings are obviously red- reserve some black tissue paper for the ladybird’s dots!
You just paint on a layer of white glue and press tissue paper down.
We traced around a glass to form the clock’s face.
Once the base of your ladybird is covered, this clock face is simply glued on top.
Cut out a long arm and a short arm for your clock and secure to your ladybird with a split pin.
Secure both wings in a place with a split pin each.
Glue the top of the ladybug’s head and antennae in place.
What’s your favourite Eric Carle book?
That’s a trick question because how do you narrow it down to just one?
Eric Carle celebrated his 90th birthday last week.
Pop the poppers, eat all the cake and celebrate the Grand Master of Picture Books with these 26 creative and fun Eric Carle activities. (Cake is obviously optional but highly recommended.)
Two of my Insta Buddies, Laura and Diane, launched a fabulous account over on the ‘Gram.
Their account, A Pop of Culture, celebrates popular culture in a fun and playful way.
They launched with the excellent theme of Eric Carle.
The following Eric Carle activities resulted from this amazing launch theme.
How excellent is 4kids2moms’ Eric Carle-inspired cow that is interactive?!
I did not know this amazing fact, but Miriam from Cardboard Schoolhouse shared that after the release of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle wanted to create a quartet of Very books to highlight different themes.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a story about Hope.
The Very Busy Spider is about Hard Work.
The Very Quiet Cricket is a story of Love and finding a mate.
And The Very Lonely Firefly is about Belonging.
You need to go and check out the art that Miriam and her team created exploring these themes.
When I shared this alpaca craft that we made in one of my READ + CREATE classes, the Instagram went wild.
We made these alpaca necklaces to celebrate the hilarious book, Alpacas with Maracas, during the week of National Simultaneous Story Time.
Matt Cosgrove’s rollicking, rhyming read was simultaneously read aloud to more than 1 million Aussie children at various locations across Australia at 11am on Wednesday May 22nd. We went to see Matt himself read the book at the State Library.
And there were REAL LIVE alpacas present. No joke. REAL LIVE alpacas at Australia’s oldest library. So good.
Anyhoo, I digress.
It was such a fun craft project, that I thought I’d share the template here for you.
Get yo’ alpaca craft on, people.
They’re the new unicorn, I tells ya.
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and trace it onto your cardboard.
We saved some cardboard off cuts from the recycling bin.
I pre-painted the alpacas. The kids could easily paint the alpacas themselves.
We examined the lines and designs in the endpapers of Alpacas with Maracas and used this as inspiration to colour in the saddles.
The kids loved using Sharpies for this step.
Now offer the yarn!
Some of the mini-makers in my READ + CREATE class wrapped the yarn to create a scarf for the alpaca.
One little genius wrapped yarn “socks” for his alpaca.
Want to make a tassel?
Here’s how we did it.
Use a small strip of cardboard.
Lay a length of string or yarn horizontally at the top of the card. This will be the tie of your tassel.
Holding this horizontal piece in place, wrap yarn vertically around the cardboard. The more you wrap, the thicker your tassel will be.
When you are done wrapping, knot the horizontal string/ yarn.
Slide your scissors between the wrapped yarn and card and cut your tassel loose. Trim your tassel to a desired length.
Wrap and tie a shorter piece of string towards the top of your tassel to create a “head” for your tassel.
Tie your tassel onto your alpaca.
Embellish with beads if you so please.
We turned our alpaca craft into necklaces. Just use a hole punch to make a hole in the centre of your alpaca and thread some yarn through.
Shapes are an important part of a young learner’s cognitive development.
Whoa! No pressure!
In all seriousness, shapes help young children to describe, classify and make sense of their world.
Here are 22 of our favourite picture books about shapes to help you and your little learner explore the wonderful world of shapes.
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I want to teach Preschoolers and K-2 forevermore just so I can use this book repeatedly in all Shape and Geometry lessons.
A gaggle of adorable children show us how they can make shapes and lines with their bodies.
My kids were intrigued by seeing other kids in print and ADORED the idea of using their bodies to imitate shapes.
One of my all-time favourite picture books about shapes.
We adore playing this game! Draw a shape – or series of shapes – and present them to a partner.
What can your partner turn these shapes into?
A great way to play with shapes and inspire the imagination. You can see this game being played in Frida and Bear, also by Anthony Browne.
This trilogy of books from Barnett and Klassen (The Dream Team of Picture Book Creators) is hilarious with philosophical undertones.
Each character takes the form of a shape and has personality traits that are reflective of their shape.
The stories centre on the themes of friendship and provide lots of content for older readers to discuss.
An awesome look-and-find book centred around a little girl’s adventure through a country fair.
We’re looking for a monster but along the way we’re also spotting 20 shapes in the illustrations. Trapezoids, ellipses, kites, nonagons – oh my!
What are your favourite picture books about shapes?
You know that helping you READ + CREATE is my jam!
Click here for some creative ways to explore shapes that can extend a reading of picture books about shapes.
The images and titles of each book will take you to Book Depository. As a Book Depository Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.