We read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and they laced the food that he ate onto the caterpillar- idea and printable found on Confessions of a Homeschooler (love that site!) Somehow they listen a little better when they have a responsibility throughout the story.
Then when they became (more) familiar with the book, we busted out some apples- which was the perfect transition into a project since he ate an apple on Monday :)
They stamped the apple in green tempera paint for the body and red tempera paint for the head. Then when that dried, they did 2 yellow tempera thumbprints for the eyes and sharpie to draw on the fuzz, feet & smile
One of my favorite things about art is that you can give all the kids the same exact same instructions and materials and they come up with completely different pictures. It's awesome!
The next project we did while the green paint was out to create 3D caterpillars out of egg cartons.
They also had a blast doing this and spent way more time than I thought they would to make sure they covered the entire thing with paint. My son even had to take a break to study Carle's work in between coats :)
Once the green paint was dry, I gave them circle templates to cut out and finger paint the eyes, draw on the smile and any other details- my son gave him a mustache... hmmm. He thought that was super funny :) We hot-glued it on along with pieces of straws for the antennae.
The last thing we did on (Caterpillars) Day #1 was to start the project for our (Butterflies) Day #2. I gave the kids textured rollers (like we used for Messy Fun Toddler Camp) and let them mix primary colors together. They covered a sheet of watercolor paper with paint, and the textured mixtures turned out great.
Then I had them do the same thing on tissue paper, but using different colors. This was a little harder, so we folded the tissue paper in half and they had to be soft! I told the kids we were doing step 1 and 2 of creating a collage, just like how Eric Carle does his art.
Then on Day #2 (Butterfly Day)
With Step 1 and 2 finished from Day 1, we were ready for Step 3 of creating a collage- drawing the shapes onto the tissue paper!! This step needed to be customized to the different age groups. My son is 4 and is just learning how to cut shapes out, the oldest girl was 8 and she was a pro at that! So I used 2 different templates:
this one was great for the younger two, who still needed help tracing and cutting.
This one was perfect for the older girls because they could cut it into as many pieces as they wanted- up to 7 (I told them not to do the antennae, but just draw it on).
Using these templates, they cut out the shapes and traced them onto the tissue paper:
then cut them out of the tissue paper, and glued them onto the watercolor paper that had their textured painting from Day 1:
This project turned out to be my absolute favorite! I think their work is beautiful and it taught them the exact way Eric Carle does his work. I saw many versions of this when I was researching Carle inspired work- you can do any animal or insect!!
The next butterfly project we did was called Watercolor Butterflies. But instead of using actual watercolors, we used washable markers. The kids drew on coffee filters with the washable markers-- lines, circles, scribbles, stripes, any design.
Then we sprayed them with a water bottle. This would be fun to do on a rainy day and set the filter outside and watch the colors run together!
Then after it was dry (we helped it along with a blowdryer) scrunch it up in a pipe cleaner to create the body/antennae and it makes a beautiful butterfly!
Next we made butterfly shaped crayons! I've been wanting to make crayons with my older guy for awhile now, and found the perfect silicone mold from Avon. We broke up crayons, unwrapped the papers and baked them in the mold at 275 deg. for about 20 mins.
They enjoyed making them and enjoyed coloring with them too.
Wow! That was a long post!! I should have made one for the caterpillar projects and one for the butterfly ones. Oh well- hopefully you find this helpful in some way! (If so, leave me a comment, I love comments!!)