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  • Writer's pictureTeam Backcountry

Spring Project: Egg-Carton Caterpillar Garden

Let your little explorers start their spring garden during Earth Week!

Earth Day Week is here! Take your little learners on a nature walk then do a fun garden craft: Caterpillar Planters!


· Cardboard Egg Carton

· Potting Soil

· Shovel or spoon

· Paint

· Seeds (native plants or garden veggies)

· Pipe-cleaner

· Hot glue

· Googley eyes/Sequins (optional)

· Watering can or spray bottle

· Scissors


Step 1: Cut your egg carton in half along the middle making two long halves.

Step 2: Paint your caterpillar! You can choose to use just one color, pick your favorite colors, make fun designs, polka-dots or more! You could also research real caterpillars and try to re-create one of those as well. My personal favorite is the Monarch Caterpillar.

Step 3: Once your paint is dry, have an adult help to cut the pipe cleaner in half, then fold them into the antennae shape of your liking. Have an adult superglue the antennas to the front of your caterpillar, and then glue on the googley/sequins eyes (unless you painted them on). If you want to get scientific, real caterpillars have 6 tiny eyelets called stemmata on either side of their head to help them sense light.

Step 4: When your little explorers are finished playing with their caterpillars, fill the open end of your caterpillar egg carton with soil, and spray the soil so that it is damp. Now place the seeds into the soil about .5 inch under the soil (or as directed by seed packet). Sunflower seeds are quick-growers and great for the garden, as are bean or pea seeds. Spray a little more water over the seeds, and then find a sunny spot for your caterpillar seedlings to grow!

Step 5: Keep your plants watered and watch them grow! Seedlings need water and sunlight, so make sure you keep them in a sunny spot and check that they don’t dry out. You want the soil to stay damp, but not too wet. When they start to get too big for the caterpillar planter, you can transplant them into a bigger pot or your garden at home.

Did you know?! A lot of people ask: How a caterpillar is an insect when it appears to have more than six legs (one of the defining features of an insect)? It turns out, these little tricksters DO only have six true legs. The rest of what you see are false legs or “prolegs” that help caterpillars hold on to surfaces as they climb.


Tara is an Environmental Education Coordinator with the Backcountry Wilderness Area. She was born and raised in both North Carolina and Colorado (#halfnative) where she spent a lot of her childhood outside, and now as an “adult” she strives to provide opportunities for today’s kids to do the same!  When she’s not finding new adventures and trails to explore with her husband, little one, and friends, she’s probably taking pictures of her cat, (Chicken) Nugget Warrior Princess.

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