Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

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Gerber Life Family Times Archive

FunAs the weather begins to warm and we enter the late days of spring, kids begin to become mesmerized by some of the things in the world that are smaller than they are. With their vantage point being lower to the ground than adults, kids get a special view of the world of insects that many of us who are older have forgotten. Whether it's a bumblebee scampering from flower to flower, heavy with pollen, or a butterfly gracefully gliding to rest on a flower while letting the sun warm its wings, there are plenty of chances to observe insects in their natural settings during spring and summer. When you're a kid, caterpillars are one of the more interesting members of the insect family. They move slowly so you can catch them, and their method of moving throughout their world is fun to watch. Our project idea this month takes advantage of the whimsical side of the caterpillar with a personal caterpillar your child can make with a little help from an adult.

What you'll need:

  • 3 foam balls (practice golf balls work perfectly)
  • Sheets of colored craft foam
  • Heavy gauge wire (cut to approximately 12 inches in length)
  • Permanent marker
  • Chenille stems (available at craft stores)
  • Serrated knife
  • Safety scissors
  • Pliers
  • Craft glue

The first step in this project requires the help of an adult. Have an adult cut each of the three foam balls into thirds. Then, using a pair of pliers, cut a piece of heavy gauge wire approximately 12 inches in length. Dab some craft glue on the ends of the wire to cover the sharp edges and allow it to dry thoroughly. By using a length of wire, you can make the caterpillar's body flexible so he or she can take on a variety of shapes and positions. Once the pieces are cut, the project can be turned over to the kids.

First, choose a rounded piece of one of the foam balls, which will be your caterpillar's head. With safety scissors, cut two lengths of chenille stem (whatever color you choose but black works nicely) about 2-1/2 inches long for your caterpillar's antennae. Make a curl in one end of each piece of the chenille stem and insert them into your caterpillar's head toward the top of the ball. Using a permanent marker, make two eyes and a mouth to give your caterpillar some character. Set the head aside and allow the decorations to dry thoroughly.

While the decorated headpiece is drying, use one of the cut foam balls as a template and trace twelve circles onto various colors of craft foam. Using a pair of safety scissors, cut out each circle and set them aside. They will help form the body of your caterpillar when used in conjunction with the remaining cut golf ball pieces.

Now it's time to assemble your caterpillar. Starting with one of the cut golf ball's rounded sides, slide the center of the ball onto the length of heavy gauge wire so that the rounded end forms the tail end of the caterpillar. Secure the end piece with a couple of drops of craft glue and allow the piece to dry thoroughly. Now, in an alternating pattern, slide on the colored foam circles and cut golf ball pieces, spacing them to evenly cover the length of the wire. Once all the pieces are in place, you can add the final piece—your caterpillar's head!

Since the form of the caterpillar is built on wire, you can gently bend the wire to put a curve in your caterpillar's body or bend his head and first few sections upward so his or her face can be seen. Your new caterpillar creation can decorate a deck, flowerpot, or favorite garden space.

So with a few supplies and a little time with your little one, you both can create a new friend who will help bring a smile to your home and brighten those late spring and early summer days!

Articles are provided for the general interest of our readers. Gerber Life Insurance is not responsible for any content and recommends that you consult the appropriate professional with any questions or concerns you may have concerning any financial or health related issues.



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