Whimsical Caterpillars

Lesson Plan, Grades 1-4, Art, Science, Crafts


Lesson Plan and artwork by Carol Miller

Caterpillars are the larval form of insects which eventually become moths and butterflies. Here, the caterpillar is depicted as a whimsical character of bright colored foam board or card stock circles mounted on black foam board. The lesson plan can be used as group art where each student contributes one embellished circle or an individual completes several circles forming a caterpillar of their own using the Painter® Paint Markers.


  • Students will become familiar with the larval stage of moths and butterflies and their characteristics.
  • Students will create their own whimsical, unique version of a caterpillar.

Supplies Needed

Elmer's® Black on Black Foam Board, 20" x 30", Pack of 10 447329
Elmer's® Glue-All, 4 oz. 1337116
Painters® Paint Markers, Bright Colors, Pack of 5 411072
Painters® Paint Markers, Craft Colors, Pack of 5 411073
Painters® Paint Markers, Eastern Empire, Pack of 5 1467589
Painters® Paint Markers, Twist Again, Pack of 5 1467590
Sax® Light Duty Artist Knives, No.11 248953
Array® Card Stock, Black, Pack of 100 248961
School Smart® Student Scissors, 6" Blunt 086340
No.11 Blades, Pack of 100 425954
School Smart® Vinyl Coated Paper Clips, Assorted Standard Box of 100 023959
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


CONTENT Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



Study images of caterpillars to become familiar with the many varieties and designs they display.


Teachers can cut circles from foam board using artist knives, or students can cut circles from card stock using scissors.


If a group project is desired, have each student make one circle out of card stock.


Lightly use a pencil to trace a circular container lid close to an edge of the foam board or card stock.


For foam board, using the artist knife on a cutting mat or discarded foam board, cut a square slightly larger than the circle.


Cut radial slits from the circle to the edge of the square, about 1/2" apart. This will allow you to bend them up or down, making it easier to cut out the circle.


After cutting, smooth out any irregularity by rolling the circle on a table top and applying pressure to problem areas.


Repeat for each circle you desire.


Cut a crescent shape out of one circle.


Use this as a template to trace and cut one crescent shape from every circle. Leave one circle with no cutout, to be used as the head.


Use paint markers to design and color each circle, covering the edge, as well.


Draw facial features on the head circle.


Straighten two plastic-covered paperclips for the antennae.


Curl one end and push the other end into the foam of the head circle or apply to the back of the card stock head for each antenna.


Arrange the circles on a rectangle of foam board and glue in place.