Doodlebug Club: Caterpillar Balloon Prints & The Very Hungry Caterpillar

What’s this blog all about?
Welcome to The Littlest Brooks-Livingston!   We’re happy you’re here!  We began this blog in January 2013 to document our adoption story.  Check out this page to find out more about the two of us – *E* and *A* and to read more about our hopes of adopting a baby through open adoption.

doodlebugWhat is Doodlebug Club?
In short, Doodlebug Club is great practice for being a dad! I work at an art and history museum, and one of the best parts of my job is working with kids.    I teach a weekly preschool art class called Doodlebug Club, where I get to try out all sorts of ideas that will become some of the fun things that we will do with our Littlest Brooks-Livingston.  I’ve never had any real art training, but I think it’s a lot of fun, and to me, it’s very important to make art more approachable than it ever seemed when I was a kid.If you’d like to read about more of the projects we’ve done in Doodlebug Club, click here.  Check out my Doodlebug Club Pinterest board here.


Last week’s Doodlebug Club class was a whole lot of fun.  We flip-flopped the usual routine by starting out with a story and following it with the art activity.  We began by read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Just about everybody knows this book – but if you need a refresher – it’s about a caterpillar who begins his life as a small little dude who just crawled out of an egg (Butterflies lay eggs, apparently.  Huh.  Never thought about that before). Just hatched, he’s pretty hungry.  He starts out eating one piece of fruit the first day, two pieces the second day, three pieces…well, you get it.  By the end of the book, he’s still hungry.  He eats his way through a whole pile of really great stuff like ice cream and watermelon and salami and a piece of cake (all depicted with a little caterpillar hole in them).  After he stuffed himself silly, he very sensibly eats a leaf next day because he feels sick.  And rather sizeable.  very hungry caterpillar fat

So he builds himself a nice comfy cocoon.  A few weeks later, the cocoon bursts open and the caterpillar has undergone and amazing transformation:caterpillar-butterfly

Most of the kids were very familiar with the story, and all of them helped me count the various things the caterpillar ate.  We also talked about the caterpillar’s colors and what he looked like when he became a butterfly.  As a caterpillar, he was green, and was made up of segments.  Our first activity, which introduced the balloons we would be using for our artwork, was to put together a caterpillar segment by segment.  The idea here was to get them thinking about how the caterpillar isn’t just one long line, but made up of different circular segments – a point which I hoped would sink in before we got to the art project.

Each Doodlebug had one balloon (I used water balloons because they’re a great size for preschool hands) and as I went around the table, each Doodlebug attached their balloon to mine using a little circle of masking tape.  After all 9 Doodlebugs added their balloons, we had a sizable little caterpillar (see photo above).

Ready for the art part?

Each artist started out with a sheet of thick (watercolor) paper, one balloon, and a paper plate with a small puddle of green washable paint.  Even though everyone knew what the caterpillar looked like, I did an example with them just so they could see how to use the balloon.  I suspected that there might be a general reluctance to stamp the balloon, and to swish it across the page, but maybe because we talked about the caterpillar being made up of segments, that didn’t happen.  Each artist carefully (more or less) stamped each circle of the caterpillar’s body in green with however many segments they thought he/she should have.  Next, we wiped off the balloon and stamped one red caterpillar head.  Each artist had two pre-cut eyes, which they then stuck on the caterpillar head (using the paint as glue).  They turned out really well, I think:






The creator of this last caterpillar looked at the example I did and noticed that his caterpillar needed legs, a smile, and antennae.  He was super quick in deciding that the legs were shaped like a capital L.  He did this part with the opposite end (the non-bristle end) of his paintbrush.

Those who finished their caterpillars quickly proceeded to draw the food that their caterpillar had eaten, complete with caterpillar holes.  We had some impressive and imaginative caterpillar buffet drawings, that’s for sure.

This was a great project, one that we might revisit again sometime for Doodlebug Club (maybe with a non-caterpillar focus).  I knew The Hungry Caterpillar was big amongst the under-5 crowd, I just had no idea how big.  Check out this most excellent Very Hungry Caterpillar costume (below, and if you click on the photo, it takes you to the website with a tutorial so you can make this thing).  I think the red helmet with the yellow googly eyes is the best part. I’m not really sure if you’re supposed to make two appearances if you’re wearing this costume (maybe you’re acting out the book?) – I guess so, because there are both the caterpillar and butterfly stages represented.  Maybe you convince your kid brother / kid sister to be the caterpillar so you can be the butterfly (or vice versa).  Huh.  Super nerdy Halloween.  Just up our alley.  Get ready for that little red helmet and yellow googly eyes, Littlest.
Very Hungry Caterpillar costume


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