Activities that involve using nature’s finds for creating are brilliant for keeping kids busy, and is also great for their creativity. Not only do spend time crafting but they also spend time outdoors finding items.
We love this craft for a fun Earth Day activity, too! Pair it with our Earth Day Cookies and you have a full afternoon of fun!
This fun rock craft is a great way to get your kids excited about the garden! Creating their own garden rock caterpillar to “guard” the garden is a fun activity for the whole family. It’s also inexpensive and easy! And children can help gather up the needed supplies! And, they love painting rocks for garden decorations,
- Disposable brushes in various sizes
- Craft paint (if your caterpillar will be sitting outside use an outdoor paint)
- E6000 (or similar glue to hold the rocks together
- Twigs for the antennae
- Sharpies (or you could use paint to draw on the faces)
1. Paint your rocks.
It’s recommended that you paint them multiple colors, for fun. But you can certainly paint them all one color if you like. Have fun! Be prepared to take some time on this part. You need to paint one side, let it dry, and then paint the other. Sometimes for multiple coats. It is not difficult, at all, and a great time to watch a favorite movie and have some snacks. Be prepared, this is going to get messy. Messy is fun.
(Be prepared with wipes, table covers, and aprons. But don’t be afraid of this project because of a paint mess. Art is messy. Everyone needs to be a bit messy sometimes!)
Pull out your hair dryer to make the drying time go faster. If making the garden rock caterpillar with children, they love to use the dryer on their own!
2. Draw the face on your caterpillar’s “head”.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with q-tips and the paint you are currently using. Or, you could pull out some permanent markers (Not recommended with children). Be sure to wait until the paint on the rock has properly dried before adding your face.
3. Assemble the caterpillar after the paint has properly dried!
Put the head in place and then balance the remaining rocks onto one another. Often you will want to prop up the rocks with a paint container, another rock, or whatever works.
This is another great time to pull out the hairdryer. Prop up as much of the caterpillar as you can and then give it a shot with the dryer. It will help it be more secure and dry faster.
4. Attach the “antennae” (sticks) with your waterproof glue.
You need to attach your “antennae” to the first rock on the body. Use rocks, bottles, books, whatever you can find to prop them up while they dry. Let dry for several hours.
5. Let your whole caterpillar dry and cure overnight.
Note, if this is a project you are making and sending home with children consider putting it together on a sturdy piece of cardboard or wood so that it can be easily transported. You still want to have several hours before you try to transport it but it will be more secure if moved as one piece.
Tips for creating this garden caterpillar with kids:
- Use good paint.
Good craft paint (we love Martha Stewart’s line) will dry faster, have truer colors, be easier to wash off, and make the whole experience a better one for kids. Also, many of the good paints have coordinating colors. Yay! Not thinking and matching.
- Don’t fret about how many coats the caterpillar has. Or feet, for that matter.
One coat of paint on one side may be all some kids will want to attempt. That’s okay, the idea is still there. If you are really wanting proper painting on all sides and all coats think about a fun activity, snack, or game that can happen while the coats are drying. And the caterpillar looks just as cute without the extra little rock “feet”. Did you notice our updated caterpillar doesn’t have them? Still cute, right!
- Prepare for messiness.
No amount of “don’t get this on your clothes” is going to keep paint off of kids clothes. Wrap kids in old shirts, dish towels, aprons, or whatever you can find. Have paper towels or wipes on hand. And, if possible, go outside! And always… always… line a table with MORE than you think. We recommend cheap plastic tablecloths because they are inexpensive, disposable, and waterproof.
- Use disposable sponge brushes.
Sponge brushes are so inexpensive that they can simply be tossed. It makes it so much more manageable for a different color paint to have it’s own brush… or two.
- Remember it’s about the experience!
Kids will not grow up to love art and creating with their hands if you are a perfectionist, clean freak, or micro-manager. Choose a proper project for the child, be well-prepared, give direction, and then sit back and let them be. The joy they have in creating something is the best part. Having a good experience means they will be willing to repeat it. Maybe for a bit longer and a bit more complicated next time.
20 thoughts on “Rock Garden Caterpillar”
That looks so fun!
Yay!! I love the idea of mounting them on cardboard…what a fantastic idea!
did this project with my brother’s kids was fun and stopped them from bouncing off the walls for about an hour or so…. mounted it on cardboard that they painted green so they will be able to transport it home hopefully without it falling apart… very cute
Oh, that’s so fun!!! What a great way to spend Sunday afternoons!
This is so cute. I am working on it with my 3 and 5 yr old grandchildren when they come over on Sundays. Our caterpillar is going to be very long!
Isn’t it cute? So simple, but a ton of fun!
Very creative and exciting idea.
Thanks! It’s such a fun one to do with kids. We love it!
I love this. When I get my flowerbeds done I will definitely be painting some caterpillar rocks to give it another splash of color. So cute.
Thanks for such an adorable idea! I included your caterpillar in my kids’ art summer bucket list!
It’s just craft paint that is made for outside. If you go to a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or something, the staff should be able to help you find it.
These are really cute. We are wanting to paint ladybugs with our craft group at the nursing home. So what exactly is “outdoor” paint? Besides house paint?
I love this going to do it with my grandson
thank you so very much! I appreciate it! I will be sure to head over and check it out!
I hope all is well! My name is Lauren and I am a contributing writer for Care.com, a site that helps connect families and caregivers. As part of our service we also offer tons of free articles and resources for a kid-friendly audience.
I wanted to let you know that we have featured your Garden Rock Caterpillar (https://www.nelliebellie.com/garden-rock-caterpillar/) in our latest article on Summer Crafts for Kids! We absolutely love your work and have linked back to your site from our piece.
You can see it here: http://www.care.com/child-care-62-summer-crafts-for-kids-p1017-q30457360.html
We will be promoting the article through our social channels and we would love for you to share it with your blog and/or social followers as well!
Thanks so much!
Ok, I love him. Does he have a Name? You always name your goodies…let’s name him Spike. I like that! Really Really Cute Janel!!
Soooooo cute!! Now I need a garden for my caterpillar to guard … maybe I can just make a front porch caterpillar? :)
Oh my goodness! I love it! Is this one of “those” projects ;) ? It is awesome and kids could make these…how fun!