- soil or potting mix
- grass seed (not shown)
- pipe cleaners
- any coloured pantyhose/stockings
- 2 cups with the bottoms cut off
- coloured hair ties
- boggly eyes
- 2 trays
First up you need to cut 2 legs off the pantyhose at the length you want your caterpillars, ensuring you have the toe intact and one open end (the cut end). Put them aside and pour some of your soil into one of the trays. Then pour on a generous amount of grass seed and mix through the soil. Once mixed pick up one length of pantyhose and hold it in the middle of the cup. Pull open the cut end and fold it over the edge of the cup so it creates an open cone to put the soil/seed in. This help little people to hold open the pantyhose. In the photo you can see that Sophia is wearing gloves. This not only helps to keep her hands clean but prevents any possible bacteria from transferring from the potting mix. You need to ensure that you don't breath it in too - you don't have to worry about this with outdoor garden soil. Once you have filled your caterpillar skin with all the soil/seed, you'll need to pack it into the pantyhose nice and firmly and tie off the cut end. Now the creativity begins!
Laying each caterpillar on tray add some of the coloured hairbands to create body pieces, then cut the pipe cleaners into small lengths and either poke them into the caterpillar or use a hot glue gun like we did to attach them. The only problem with hot glue is once it's wet the leggs may fall off! We added our favourite colours for the legs, then created some antennae a mouth and finally some eyes. To create the antennae we twisted two colours together and then wound the ends around a pencil to get perfect curls.
Now our caterpillars sit out in the morning sun and we wait for the grass to begin to grow. This can take a couple of days until you see little shoots start to appear. Once your shoots do appear I advise that you cover your caterpillars with a bucket at night to prevent them getting munched on by snails and other "real" caterpillars or frost (we're in winter here in Australia!)
The caterpillar you see at the left is 2 days old and you can see green shoots have appeared. You may also find small white roots at the bottom of the caterpillar reaching out to the tray for water. You can also see that my caterpillar has lost a leg (hot glue doesn't like water)
The grass will grow pretty quickly now if kept watered and in the sunshine and you'll be able to play hairdresser regularly as the grass gets longer!