Caterpillar Math Craft

You know we love a great craft made from recycled materials, right?  Recycled items seem to make a reoccurring appearance on our blog.  And, here’s a little secret:  I LOVE crafting and encouraging playful learning with recycled stuff because it’s re-purposing and environmentally cool, but it’s also FREE!  You have the materials already in your home, and are just going to be tossing them away (whether it’s into the garbage or the recycle bin…so why not learn and play first?)  We made this caterpillar craft from a recycled egg carton and added a math twist to add a little adding and 1:1 correspondence number counting to provide a multi-age learning tool for three of my kids, ages 3, 5, and 7.  (The baby just want to to pull the googly eyes off of the caterpillar.  Which is a sort of subtraction…)

Math Caterpillar Craft (from a recycled egg carton!)

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We pulled a recycled egg carton from the recycle bin.  Cut one long section of carton.  Paint the sections to make the caterpillars body and head.  We love these paints for their bright colors.
Grab some yarn and have the kids snip little 2 inch pieces.  This is fabulous scissor practice.  Holding the wiggly yarn while snipping sections encourages bilateral hand coordination that is needed for managing paper and scissors while cutting shapes from paper and worksheets.
Math concept:  Encourage your child to count the sections of yarn into groups of three.
Tape the yarn legs onto the caterpillar’s body.

Glue on googly eyes and draw on a smile.

Caterpillar math activity:

We played a few math games with the caterpillar.
• Count out craft pom poms, encouraging 1:1 correspondence.  Counting items is an important preschool math concept that is used in addition and subtraction in later grades.  My first grader often uses counting manipulates as a technique for adding multiple digit addition/subtraction problems and counting too quickly can lead to errors.
• Use the pom poms to feed the caterpillar.  Sort them into piles by color and patterns and make the caterpillar eat the pom poms by pushing them under the head.  Write out the math subtraction problems.

How cute is this little guy?  Make him and other fun recycled crafts for learning and play.

This post is part of the  natural parenting and earth month series at Allternative Learning.