The following literacy craft tutorial is a guest post by Denise Cortes who publishes the site, Pearmama.com.
As a homeschooling mother, I’ve had the privilege of teaching six children how to read. Phonics, flash cards, picture books, audio tracks, reading apps–you name it, we used it. Teaching my kids to read wasn’t always an easy task. There were moments when I grew weary, and wondered when they would finally “get the code.” Some of my children learned quickly and were on their way to reading chapter books at a young age. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a two children who didn’t learn to read until they were well past the “acceptable” reading age.
Instead of worrying and putting unnecessary stress on my challenged readers, I got creative. One of the ways I encouraged confidence in their reading skills was through poetry and enrichment projects. For us, this meant simple craft projects. My daughter memorized several poems. And along the way, we created fun enrichment activities tailored to each poem, such as this felt craft pictured above. It was inspired by the following poem – one of our favorites.
“The Caterpillar” by Christina Rosetti
Brown and furry
caterpillar in a hurry
take your walk
to the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
may the little birds pass by you.
Spin and die,
to live again a butterfly.
Let’s get crafting!
What you’ll need to make this fun craft:
- felt squares (several colors)
- 9×12 felt square for background
- hot glue gun
- needle and thread
I decided to stick with more natural colors, since the caterpillar is “brown and furry.” Reserve one of the 9 x 12 felt squares as the background for the caterpillar. Begin cutting the felt into the caterpillar shapes, reserving 20 pieces for the caterpillar body, one piece for the head, two eyes, two for the inner eyes, one round nose, two antennae, four legs, a leaf, leaf spine and stem for a total of 35 felt pieces. Of course, if you want to make your caterpillar smaller, make adjustments accordingly.
After the shapes are cut, lay them out and decide on the overall design.
We decided we wanted the caterpillar on a “shady leaf.”
Use a hot glue gun to glue the felt pieces down. Be sure to help your child when using the glue gun. As a safer alternative, use fabric glue. For a fun accent, let your child use needle and thread around their caterpillar design.
This poem-inspired craft is a great way to enrich your child’s reading experience through hands-on learning.
Denise Cortes is a writer/blogger and an artist when she isn’t tending to her family and teaching art. Denise is the content creator at Pearmama.com, a blog about a Latina mom raising six kids and living a creative life. A native of Southern California, Denise has been blogging since 2006, when her husband suggested she continue her life-long practice of journal writing about life and family. Since then, she’s been sharing fun DIY craft projects, Latino culture, creating art on TOMS shoes and writing heartfelt parenting stories about her children, ages 8 to 16. Denise is also a regular contributor at BabyCenter and Latinamom.me. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.