Tag Archives: chrysalis

Munching, crunching caterpillars

By John Bomhoff
Art Studio Manager, Children’s Museum of Phoenix

This caterpillar craft introduces the beginning stages of life as a butterfly. You can see live caterpillars turning into real butterflies at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix this week.

Ages: preschool & up.

Materials: styrofoam peanuts (white or colored – available at craft stores), pipe cleaners cut into 1” lengths, markers, green construction paper, glue sticks or white glue and scissors.


Choose a peanut.  Use markers to add a face and details on the body (i.e., stripes, polka dots, etc.)

Stick two pipe cleaners for antennas on top of the head.

Draw and cut a leaf shape out of the construction paper.  Glue your caterpillar on the leaf.  You can make holes in the leaf where s/he has been munching.


Creating caterpillars is a wonderful way to introduce the young child to the life cycle of the butterfly.  A good way to begin this project is to read your child a book about butterflies.  Two of our favorites are Butterflies by Kate Davis and My, oh My – a Butterfly! by Tish Rabe.  You can also review the following information with your child:

  • The life cycle of a butterfly begins when a butterfly lays tiny eggs on a leaf.
  • The eggs hatch into larva called caterpillars.
  • The caterpillar eats leaves.  As it grows, it sheds its old skin and forms a new one.
  • When the caterpillar is fully grown, it attaches itself to a twig and transforms into a pupa by forming a hard shell called a chrysalis.
  •  The butterfly is formed in the chrysalis.  Eventually it breaks out of its chrysalis and flies away.  It lays eggs and a new cycle begins.

You may order your own caterpillars from Insect Lore (www.insectlore.com; 800-548-3284).  You will receive three to five Painted Lady caterpillars with food for $14.99 plus shipping and handling.


The mission of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is to engage the minds, muscles and imaginations of children and the grown-ups who care about them. With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children ages birth to 10, the Museum focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is located at 215 N. 7th St. in downtown Phoenix, at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Van Buren in the historic Monroe School Building.