I have always been awed by the symbolism of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly and Jesus being in the tomb and rising again. If your child is familiar with the The Very Hungry Caterpillar book, they will remember that a caterpillar eats, and eats, and eats. Then, and only God can explain this, the caterpillar begins to create a cocoon around itself. Depending on the species, a few days or weeks later, it emerges as a butterfly.
Use this example to explain Jesus' resurrection to your child. This example can also be used to explain life without Christ and then having a new life once a person has accepted Jesus as their personal Savior.
Coffee Filter Butterfly
Draw on the coffee filter with washable markers. Using a water bottle, squirt water on the coffee filter. Watch the colors run together. Allow to dry. Scrunch up the middle of the coffee filter and wrap with a pipecleaner to look like antennae. Spread the wings out.
Paint the palms of the child's hands. On a piece of construction paper, stamp the hands down (thumbs down, fingers pointing in opposite directions, handprints touching). Clean off both hands. Painting only the index finger black, stamp down the center of the handprints to make the butterfly's body. Add googly eyes and two antennas. Add the title "Jesus is Alive!"
Paint the bottom of the child's foot. Press the feet down on paper with the left foot on the right side and the right foot on the left side. Leave a little space in between for the butterfly's body. idea by Crystal
Print the ABC Butterfly. Have the child write:
Admit – I sin.
Believe – Jesus died for me.
Choose – I need God.
Cut out the butterfly pieces. Glue the pieces together on a piece of construction paper. Decorate.
Mirror Paint Butterfly
Print the Butterfly printable. Fold the paper in half and open back up. Drop paint around the fold line. Fold one side onto the other. Gently push the paint around to cover both sides of the butterfly. Carefully open the butterfly to see a mirror image.
Egg Carton Caterpillar
Cut a paper egg carton to make a single line of containers. Turn upside down and paint each container. Add black pipecleaners for antennae, a mouth, and googly eyes. (To use with the Wordless Book theme, paint the caterpillar black, red, white, gold, and green.)
Clothes Pin Caterpillar
Glue on a clothes pin colored pom poms. Add googly eyes. Put the clothes pin caterpillar inside a toilet roll and talked about how Jesus was put inside the tomb. (To use with the Wordless Book theme, use colors black, red, white, gold, and green.)
Caterpillar to Butterfly
Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Without the child seeing, place a coffee filter (decorations above) into a cardboard tube.
“Let’s pretend this tube is a caterpillar, just like the hungry caterpillar in the book.” Show the tube to the child while covering the sides to hide the butterfly inside. “The caterpillar in our story ate and ate until he was very full. Next a caterpillar wraps a cocoon around himself.” Show image in book and wrap your hands tightly around the tube without the child seeing the butterfly inside. “Inside the cocoon it is very quiet and dark. The caterpillar stays there for a long time.”
“Some would think this is the end of the caterpillar. After dying on the cross, Jesus was placed in a very quiet and dark tomb for three days. Many people thought this was the end of Jesus. But we know that the caterpillar doesn’t stay in the cocoon and Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. Let’s slowly count to three. 1-2-3. When the caterpillar is ready, he pushes, stretches, and shakes off the cocoon.” Slowly push out butterfly and spread wings. “The caterpillar didn’t stay in the tomb. The caterpillar became a beautiful butterfly. Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb either. After three days, Jesus came out of the tomb! Jesus is alive.”