The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cress Planter

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Little Pea and I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, though reading it has not been without risk. At ten months old her chubby little fingers were exactly the right size to get their little tips caught in the holes the caterpillar has nibbled through his five-a-day when she flicked through the book by herself.

Back in May, Little Pea was watching with fascination as I sowed seeds for our raised beds in seed trays and directly into the soil, and I thought it would be lovely for us to make her a little garden of her very own that would show fairly instant results. She probably won’t remember any of it when she’s older, but it was a lovely thing for us to do in the here and now and we can revisit it next year, and the year after, and the year after that… after all, who’s ever grown tired of the greedy little fiend?


To make our planter we used an old egg box cut in half and some cornflour paint coloured with green Wilton food colouring. I usually use yogurt with food colouring mixed in, but wanted something with a bit more staying power since it would be getting watered regularly. The cornflour paint did the job, giving great coverage and drying to almost a plastic finish. As you can see, she loved smearing the paint everywhere with a variety of brushes and sponges. She seemed to love the slimy texture, and by the time she had finished she’d painted the egg box, the blanket, the grass, her baby grow, her hat and her Mammy. Amazingly none of this stained.

When the caterpillar’s body had dried, I cut a head out of red cardboard and drew a face on it. Little Pea was very excited to see the caterpillar had escaped from her book and watched in fascination as I filled him with cotton wool balls soaked in water (tip: I added green food colouring and this allows you to see if the cotton wool is drying out very easily) then sprinkled some cress seeds on each ball.

We inspected the caterpillar every morning watching the seeds germinate and grow into tiny cress plants. I’m not sure how much she understood what was going on but she seemed very enthusiastic about the ritual and she was delighted when the cress had grown enough for her to help (well, she was trying to be helpful) picking it.

hungry caterpillar 029

She then enjoyed the cress snipped up on her scrambled eggs. Great encouragement to try some new food.


Incy Wincy Spider Rhymer

Incy WincyRhymer

I looked after my friend’s little girl for an hour the other day while her mother went to an appointment, and while we were doing some drawing we made this Incy Wincy Spider Rhyme Wheel which Little Pea has been loving ever since (she points at it and shouts Dee Die Der!).

You will need:

  • Two paper plates
  • Crayons/Pencils/Felt Tips
  • Split pin paper fasteners
  • Scissors
  • Some sticky tape to secure the back of the split pin

By cutting a section out of a paper plate and drawing four scenes from Incy Wincy Spider on the paper plate underneath, the top plate can be rotated to show a different picture for each key moment in the rhyme: the spider climbing the spout, the rain falling down and washing the spider away, the sun drying up the rain and the spider recovering from its ordeal.

paper plate incy wincy spider

This worked really well for a nursery rhyme storyboard but I reckon the idea would be great for illustrating the changing seasons for an older child as well. Can you think of any stories or concepts that would work well in paper plate form?