- styrofoam or cardboard egg carton
- finger paints
- paint brush
- newspaper/roll of paper for drop cloth
- pipe cleaners
- art apron
- Cut egg carton in half (top and bottom).
- Prep child with art apron/smock. We love this one from IKEA, it's $2.99, which honestly can't be beat, and it covers all the way down the arms. (*warning, does not keep curious toddlers from putting paint in their mouths, see below picture for example)
- Lay out newspaper or a roll of plain paper as a drop cloth. We have this from IKEA, which comes on this holder, perfect for table-top cabinets. Normally I like to make due with stuff already at home, but these art supplies were a worthwhile investment and make a great, inexpensive gift set.
- Squeeze paint out onto paper. I chose to limit us to 2 colors, one of which was our color for this week--yellow. For moms who value 'pretty' projects, this is a simple way to keep an art project from turning into a brown and black mess of colors.
- Help your child paint the egg carton (to be the caterpillar body) with the paintbrushes. Have fun, stop when your child loses interest or begins eating the paint, whichever comes first.
- Set egg carton aside to dry.
- Carry child with arms out away from your body to the nearest bathtub and run water. Rinse and repeat ;) (for ease of clean up I rinsed the art smock in the bathtub with Tobias and hung it over the shower head. When he was back to his normal color his clothes were still clean because of the smock, hooray!
- After a nap (or the next day) cut the egg carton in half long-wise and take a sharpie to draw eyes and a mouth for the caterpillar.
- Poke small holes in each division for legs on either side of the body. Cut pipe cleaners in half and thread each one through the body so there is a little leg sticking out on both ends. Repeat this for the antennae on the head. Allow your child to choose the color or ask them to find a particular color for you. This is a good way to informally test your child's color knowledge.
and later when we were all cleaned up and the caterpillar was ready for some legs and antennae. Notice that look of concentration :) He's such a firstborn.